Jordan Fisher dons many hats. A glance at his Instagram bio will download most of them into your brain. Actor. Musician. Writer. But one’s generally overlooked when conjuring up the 26-year-old performer: technophile.
“Pardon me for geeking out, but I love advancements in technology... I yearn for them,” Jordan tells me during our recent zoom chat. “I follow everything about it on all news outlets.” Now, hold onto this piece of information because it’ll shortly blow your mind. First, let’s catch up with the Dancing with the Stars champion on working with Lin-Manuel Miranda, what he’s been up to during the 2020 time warp and more.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Jordan was preparing for another day centerstage. He had hit a stride in his Broadway run of Dear Evan Hansen. “My body was used to producing the fluids that were needed for that show every night and my voice was callused enough to take care of it all,” he says about what many call the toughest male role in modern musical theatre. “It’s incredibly exhausting. You have to be 100 percent at peak health to barely manage to do that show as Evan.”
And then the world shutdown. Jordan folded up his polo and flew back home to L.A. Like many, he left a piece of his heart on the Great White Way. “It’s really tough. I have incredibly gifted actor friends who are getting real estate licenses right now and doing what they can,” he says. “It’s a lot, but the lights will turn back on. I will make sure of that.”
It took time for him to fully grieve the state of our world. “I’m a logic processor first and then an emotional one later,” he says. “Things tend to hit me when I give myself downtime.” And on April 24, the star’s birthday, things did just that. “My fiancée Ellie and my family managed to wrangle together a big zoom call of all my closest people in my life. My tribe. I’m a very family-oriented person. I love my people very much.”
“That is the best gift I’ve ever been given because I didn’t know how much I needed it,” he continues. “It was in that moment that it hit me and I just started sobbing. It all hit me at the same time. My appreciation for the people I love. That’s when I went ‘oh the world is different right now.’”
Fortunately, the actor has cultivated a healthy relationship with depression and anxiety - two untethered monsters pulsing through his onstage counterpart. He calls himself a “super champion” of therapy, adding: “I’ve been able to use it especially during that run.”
Although Jordan’s future with the Tony-winning musical is unknown, he’s eager to slip back into the polo and arm cast. “I would love to [return],” he tells me with a grin. “I’m one of the millions of people that miss Broadway and one of the hundreds that are fortunate enough to be a part of that community.” While the live versions of Evan are paused, the Universal Studios film adaptation has been the talk of quarantine.
When I bring it up, Jordan’s first response is delight at the more “diverse” casting and expansions being made. “I’m excited to see how they dive into more elements of the story,” the singer, who was the first mainstay person of color to play Evan, says. “With a film like this you get to explore more. I’m excited to see a more fleshed out version of the story where there is still a hefty musical element to it. And Ben Platt. Period.” Enough said.
As Broadway dimmed and screens lit up, another musical sensation satisfied everyone’s minds. Hamilton, which I motion to become an adjective for phenomenon at this point, spun onto Disney+ in July. Jordan made his Broadway debut with the show in 2016, playing the John Laurens/Philip Hamilton track until 2017. “That show fits like a glove,” he says, “regardless of the role you’re playing. There are some shows that make sense from the moment the lights go down to the final bow.”
“It feels so good that I hit like 130 shows in and I was like, ‘shouldn’t I be tired of doing this?’ Not once. I put my costume on and became John Lawrence,” he continues. “I would get goosebumps every single night.” As for the acclaimed streaming adaption, Jordan is obsessed. When I asked if he’s seen it he chuckles: “You mean how many times? Nightly the first week. I don’t think a day went by that I at least didn’t have it on in the background. I miss it. A lot.”
Working with the lauded Lin-Manuel Miranda was “infectious.” Jordan reaffirms the creative as “a force of nature” and “an absolute genius.” He adds: “My favorite part about him is the fact that his heart is even bigger than his brain. Leading with love for not only what he’s working to build and create for the world, but for humanity in general is so refreshing and infectious to be around. He’s a living reminder to work hard and leave people better than you found them.”
Jordan strives to weave a similar thread through his art. “A lot of the things I create are inspired by humanity,” he says, “and the constant yearning and need to remind people that we are all the same - complex and simple. We all need the same things. That’s the only responsibility that I carry as an artist.” It’s a philosophy that he keeps while expanding his roles within the industry.
Another new hat Jordan’s placed on his head is producing. “I’ve been told for a long time that I’ve had a knack for production and I’m very helpful on set,” he says. “You can only have so many producers and writers and directors say, ‘you gotta work to get some titles because you’re doing some of that work as an actor.’” His “first dance” as he calls it, will be serving as an Executive Producer on Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between. He also stars in the film, which is being made by the same team behind another To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. “I get to work with people that I love already and have worked with before. They’ve really brought me in and lifted me up.”
And now, hold onto your own hats because Jordan’s latest project will change you life. The creator is helping deploy the game-changing news that Verizon expanded the availability of its 5G Ultra Wideband service. “The partnership makes perfect sense,” Jordan says, “me coming from the tech and gaming side of things as well as my bridging the gap between that and that traditional side of entertainment.”
“This is next level for all of us because it will genuinely affect our time in the day and speed at which we are able to receive and send information out,” he adds. “We all want that. No one wants to see a loading bar ever. You want to tap something and be able to receive that information immediately.”
Listen, @Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband is no joke! It could be the catalyst for some crazy advances in the tech industry, among many others. Check out the video below to learn more about how these innovations could help shape our future! #VerizonPartnerhttps://t.co/KhURJ8eRH4pic.twitter.com/hRyxVkGF1k— Jordan Fisher (@jordanfisher) October 20, 2020
“We built some great content - a bunch of videos that essentially break down in layman’s terms what 5G is,” Jordan explains. “We all know this term, we’ve seen this term, but actually breaking down what 5G really means is something that has not been done yet. That’s what we’re doing.”
My only regret is that I didn’t have 5G for our zoom call. Then perhaps I could have snuck in a few more questions.