Rood’s Got Talent

Band, Rotator, Theater — By on November 28, 2017 12:21 pm

By Maggie Dale

One could say that freshman Jasper Rood was born to act. His mom was from Iowa and his dad from Wisconsin, but they met in New York City, where they had each moved to pursue acting in the late ‘90s. His parents started dating when they were cast opposite each other in a show. Jasper himself has been involved with theater since age three, when he was cast as an elf in A Christmas Story. Since then he has played a variety of roles, ranging from a Fish Footman to the Artful Dodger.

Rood’s love of theater began when he was in middle school. When he was only three, his parents introduced him to, or “forced him into,” as he says, Odyssey Theatre, a theater group in Mount Vernon that is run by Karla Steffens-Moran. By the time he was in sixth grade, Rood had started to enjoy acting, and his passion for it has only grown.

“The best part of theater is the people,” Rood says. “They’re very nice, and very energetic and fun to be around.” He also enjoys the stories behind the show, and seeing them unfold right there on stage.

Last year he landed what is his favorite role to date  — a pastry chef posing as a gangster in The Drowsy Chaperone, a production by Mount Vernon High School’s Velvet Curtain. “I got to work with high schoolers for the first time. It was a great opportunity to show them what I’ve got.”
Rood says his acting goes beyond delivering lines. “Every move I make in a show is telling a story in a way. When I’m on stage, I become someone I am not. I have to be that character in every way. I was a pastry chef who was also a gangster. I had to show that in the way I walked, the way I talked, all my mannerisms. I had to make something out of nothing.” It was a challenge the young actor was happy to meet.  

Jasper Rood practices playing the saxophone in the high school band room.
Photo by Maggie Dale.

Rood’s interest in the arts is not limited to theater, however. He’s been in both band and choir since sixth grade, and plays the alto saxophone in band. According to Rood, last year when he was in eighth grade choir, there weren’t many strong male voices. “Being in a choir that has a lot of strong singers is great,” says Rood. “Elijah Recalde is the best tenor I’ve ever heard,” Rood says of the senior who is among five Mount Vernon Choir students selected for All-State.

Rood plans on starting voice lessons in the near future. “I enjoy singing because it’s one of the things that go along with acting,” Rood says. Singing has been something he realized he might have a talent at in seventh grade. “I sang a song from Hamilton and people really liked it, and I decided to pursue music in high school.”

Rood hopes to go to New York and study acting, just like his parents. He also has an interest in acting in movies, and already has a company he’d like to work for in mind.

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