Action: Sky Jarrett ’16 brings talent to the College
He’s been on Broadway. He’s acted on television. He’s even performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yet despite his impressive resume, Sky Jarrett ’16 was so surprised when he received the news that he had been cast as the romantic male lead in Sinfonicron’s “Iolanthe” that he called his director to make sure it wasn’t a mistake.
“This campus is filled with talented people,” Jarrett said. “I was shocked.”
Jarrett’s career began at an early age. As a six-year-old living in Chappaqua, N.Y., he was inspired to act when he saw his sister in a local production. Jarrett begged his parents to let him begin auditioning. At first they said he was too young, but they eventually relented, and Jarrett was cast in a local production of “Oliver.”
Two years later, a director encouraged him to audition for a Broadway production of “A Christmas Carol.” After two callbacks, he was cast as Tiny Tim.
“I was so young, so it didn’t faze me,” Jarrett said. “It felt like just another audition.”
Between the ages of eight and 13, Jarrett expanded his acting career. He continued to work on Broadway with one of his roles as a Who in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” among others. He made the move to television and was featured in a VH1 promo for Cap’n Crunch. He also acted in “As the World Turns” and “Blue’s Clues.”
“It wasn’t really craft,” Jarrett said. “I was playing roles where I had to say, ‘Look at me, I’m cute and adorable.’”
As Jarrett got older, his height and deeper voice prevented him from taking on children’s roles, forcing him to play teenagers instead, which proved difficult. In the Broadway business, most teenage roles go to actors who are 18 and older because they do not have to follow child labor laws. Thus ended Jarrett’s Broadway career. He continued to act in high school, where he played his three favorite roles — Stage Manager in “Our Town,” Jack in “Into the Woods,” and Satan in “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.”
“Theater is a hobby,” Jarrett said. “People would say to me, ‘You were on Broadway,’ and I would say, ‘You played soccer.’ It’s the same thing to me.”
Jarrett heard about the College of William and Mary through a survey. He wanted to move further south and was attracted to the size of the school. Since attending the College, Jarrett has performed in the ensemble cast of “Pippin,” in addition to playing Strephon in “Iolanthe.”
Kelsey Schneider ’14, student director of “Iolanthe”, got the call from an “intimidated” Jarrett after he saw the casting decision.
“It was adorable,” Schneider said. “He was really nervous about it. My thing was that I would not cast him if I did not think I could work with him. After I casted him, it was on the both of us to get him ready for the role.”
Schneider first met Jarrett when they were acting in “Pippin.” The news of his Broadway career had already spread through the cast.
“I was worried that because he had been on Broadway as a kid, he would be pompous, but he wasn’t at all,” Schneider said. “I love the guy. He is much more personable than I expected him to be.”
Jarrett was nervous about the performance because “Iolanthe” is an opera, and he has a musical theater background. However, Schneider said Jarrett was always helpful when it came to building the set and other crew work. He also worked one-on-one with the vocal director and made sure to get notes from Schneider after every rehearsal.
“Doing Sinfonicron was the best decision I have made since coming here,” Jarrett said.
Schneider said Jarrett and fellow actress Addie Schafer ’13 would make the cast laugh by creating ridiculous pet names for each other during breaks. But when it was time to get serious, Schneider could always count on Jarrett to be proactive. She appreciated the faith he put in her as a director.
“I kicked him off the deep end,” Schneider said. “I said, ‘Musical theater freshman, here’s an opera, and you’re the lead, and it’s opening in two weeks. Have fun.’”
One of Jarrett’s closest friends at the College is his suitemate, fellow New England native James McCarthy ’16. McCarthy calls Jarrett his best friend and surrogate brother, and even though Jarrett is often busy with school and his extracurriculars, the boys manage to have dinner together and hang out in their dorm.
“Sky is [his] own person,” McCarthy said. “[I admire] his focus — his motivation to be the absolute best in his art.”
Apart from theatre, Jarrett has many other passions. He arranges a capella music for two groups at universities in New York, and has joined one of the College’s a capella groups, The Gentlemen of the College. He likes to create electronic music, especially Latin-infused dubstep, and is interested in being a disc jockey. Last summer, he worked as a paralegal at a law firm, although his anticipated major is neuroscience.
Jarrett does not know if he wants to try to perform on Broadway again. For now, he says he’s just focused on getting a well-rounded college experience.
“I’m trying to learn as much as I can,” he said.