Alumnus creating buzz on the L.A. stage scene

Jeremy Aldridge '96 A Las Vegas duo is bringing Oswego alumnus and actor/director Jeremy Aldridge some good fortune and attention out West.

A recent Los Angeles run of “Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara,” a musical biopic of the 1950s Vegas lounge act that Aldridge is directing, sold out in 12 hours. Since premiering this year, the show has moved to a larger theatre; garnered praise from Variety, the Los Angeles Times and others; and earned four nominations for Ovation awards, L.A.‘s version of the Tonys.

In late November, the production won the “Franklin R. Levy Award for Best Musical in an Intimate Theatre.” The show is running through Christmas at the Matrix Theatre, a venue known for breaking Broadway-bound productions.

“This is the biggest success so far,” said Aldridge, a 1996 Oswego graduate and 10-year veteran of the L.A. stage scene. He was invited to join the “Louis & Keely” project about two years ago by co-author/lead actress Vanessa Claire Smith. “We didn’t know what to expect, but we ended up selling out our first run.”

It’s been a great year for Aldridge, who almost became an earth science teacher.

“Theatre was basically just an interest of mine. I started off in secondary ed,” he said. “Every spare moment I had I ended up in Tyler Hall.

“Calc two stopped me cold on becoming an earth science teacher,” said Aldridge, who graduated with degrees in psychology and theatre.

Today Aldridge has a full-time job as director of the Lake Street Community Center in L.A.

“My experiences at Oswego were incredibly diverse,” he said. “They prepared me perfectly to be an effective leader at my community center and the same in my artistic endeavors.

“The friendships I made with students and professors continue very strongly to this day,” said Aldridge, who married 1996 graduate Natascha Corrigan at the end of October.

Fellow alumnus J.J. Mayes, class of 1998, is assistant director of “Louis & Keely.”

Theatre professors Ron Medici and Mark Cole, class of 1973, were extremely influential during Aldridge’s Oswego tenure. He stayed on campus an extra year to direct “Reckless,” a play he revisited when he first moved to L.A.

His early career included stints as a Kirby vacuum cleaner and car salesman in Syracuse, where he was also acting. One of his first professional gigs was with the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

Aldridge said he was inspired to move out West in part by the large network of Oswego alumni in Southern California. With a little luck, he may make his way back East and toward the bright lights of Broadway.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Praise for singing—Jeremy Aldridge, class of 1996, sits on the set of “Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara,” the award-winning musical he is directing.

(Posted: Dec 10, 2008)

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