Jared Loftin ’11 in new off-Broadway musical 'Gigantic'

The music theatre alum shares his experiences in a coming-of-age show that tells the stories of adolescent campers at a weight loss camp.

Since his Elon graduation, Jared Loftin ’11 has had many successes regionally and in New York City, specifically in new works and original musicals.

His current project is “Gigantic” at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, produced by Vineyard Theatre. The show centers around a weight loss camp and the adolescent campers there. Loftin plays one of those campers.

“Gigantic” is a coming-of-age musical comedy fed by an infectious pop/rock score. It was created by Randy Blair, Tim Drucker, and Matthew roi Berger, with direction by Scott Schwartz.

Loftin describes working on new, original musicals as an incredibly exciting and singular experience. “As a team, you are creating something from nothing,” Loftin said. “That is completely terrifying yet incredibly rewarding, once the show is running. I was fortunate enough to be involved in the New Musical Project each year I was at Elon. Two of those four projects were completely new works, which helped prepare me for the challenges of working on a new musical in NYC.”

Loftin said he learned that taking risks is necessary to shaping a new musical. “You and the creative team aren’t going to know what works for your character unless you make bold choices and are willing to fail,” he said.

He said the preview process of a new musical in New York City is something to which he had to quickly adjust. Since an audience’s response is never a guarantee for any moment in a show, the creative team is constantly making changes to a new musical during previews, before the show officially opens.

“That means rehearsal during the day to make changes to the show (dialogue, music, and/or choreography), which will be implemented in the show that evening,” Loftin said. “It really benefits the show, but the long hours can be tough. However tired I may be, getting to perform in a new off-Broadway musical is a dream, and it’s something I hope to do again and again.”

Loftin said he is proud to be in a show that celebrates idiosyncrasy and uniqueness, even when those traits might be seen as unflattering to some.

“Every night during the finale of ‘Gigantic,’ the cast and I get to sing, ‘Cause there’s one life we’re living, so never depart from the you that you know in your mind and your heart,’” he said. “It’s true for our characters in the show, but it’s also true for everyone in the real world.”

Loftin said the faculty at Elon are experts at recognizing what is different/unique/weird about each student, starting as early as his or her audition for the program. Faculty nurture and grow that individuality, instead of watering it down or squashing it completely to fit a certain mold, he said. 

Like other schools, Loftin said, Elon produces great actors, singers, and dancers, but what sets it apart are those special quirks its students are encouraged to develop and share.

“I think it’s essential for anyone hoping to be an actor to know what makes him or her different,” he said. “Confidence in your abilities and individuality will not eliminate the constant rejection an actor faces, but it surely will not add to the stress.”

Visit this link to find out more about “Gigantic” or to get tickets.