WILLIAMSBURG — Jacob McCormick lives and breathes music and performing, but while he has always had jobs in area theme parks and playing in different bands, he thought he had hit his musical peak.
“I knew I wanted to go the route of being a professional performer, but I didn’t have any kind of reference or frame for what that meant. I always watched my favorite bands and tried to learn by seeing what they did,” McCormick said.
When McCormick’s older brother began a stint working at Busch Gardens as a musician, suddenly young Jacob had found a way in.
“I didn’t even know that was a thing you could do, in my world. I didn’t know that places like that had musicians. It was my first ‘in’ to the professional world. I had this grandiose idea of being a musician, but no idea how to actually achieve it,” McCormick said.
In the fall of 2016, he landed his first Busch Gardens professional contract. In January 2020, McCormick booked his first cruise performing contract. Through it all, McCormick never let go of his touring musician dream.
It wasn’t until the call from Jesus Christ Superstar came earlier this year, however, that his dream came to fruition.
“I had just happened to check my phone while I was working on another project. I stopped what I was doing and I came out to my girlfriend Nicole because we had been waiting for information for about a week after my audition. I got the email that let me know about my offer letter coming soon. I don’t think it sunk in right away,” McCormick said.
McCormick had about three weeks to learn the music for the tour before heading to Elmira, New York ,to join the cast for tech rehearsals.
“The implication was to show up having done your homework. Tech rehearsal was not practice time, we were just putting the pieces together. If I had shown up and used the first day of rehearsal as my first time looking at the music, that would have been a major problem,” McCormick said.
The Jesus Christ Superstar national tour celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic.
A big responsibility, the score of the show begins with a huge guitar riff. McCormick is in charge of setting the scene for the show, and it’s a job he takes very seriously.
“I feel responsible for upholding a certain standard. Of course, I am also putting my own spin on the music, but this production requires the highest level of professionalism and I don’t take that lightly,” McCormick said.
Life on the road for McCormick is busy, but it’s exactly what he hoped it would be. Some weeks are easier, where the tour is in a certain city for a week-long stint of shows, but sometimes it’s a one-night-only affair.
“It’s all fun, in a chaotic way. You don’t really have time to think. You do the soundcheck, do the show, load out, get on the bus, go to sleep, and wake up and do it all again the next day,” McCormick said.
This tour means a lot to McCormick and he’s grateful every day to be finally living out his dream.
“This is the culmination of everything I’ve been doing for my whole life and my whole career. This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s definitely a grind, it’s almost vacation-like, but at the same time it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” McCormick said.
McCormick and the Jesus Christ Superstar cast will be in Newport News at the Ferguson Center for the Arts on March 22. Tickets are available here. For more information on the Jesus Christ Superstar National Tour, visit ustour.jesuschristsuperstar.com.