Jonathan Beck Reed
Jonathan Beck Reed: is an Oklahoma City Native, and award winning, internationally recognized Actor, Director, Designer and Instructor with over 35 years of experience working in professional theater, film and television. He began his Theatrical Career at the age of eight, studying at the prestigious Mummers Theater, and proudly attended Oklahoma City University from 1979-83 before embarking on a Professional Career encompassing nearly every area of the Performing Arts. While at OCU, he was one of only a handful of Actors who performed often in both Musical and Non-Musical Productions; a rare occurrence even today. During that time, he was also a four year Member of The Surrey Singers under the Direction of Vicki Kelly, sharing the Stage with other OCU Alumni’s who have since found their way onto the Broadway Stage enough times to now be called “Veterans”. Among them, Stacy Logan, Susan Powell, and, Teri Bibb.
During his OCU years, he developed a deep and lasting friendship with fellow student and Honoree, Donald Jordan, and the two would often dream of a day when they might join forces to found a Professional Theater Company in Oklahoma City. Their “Fantasy Theater” would offer the local Theatrical Community something not available at that time; current, and cutting-edge Drama’s, Comedies and Musicals, an opportunity to work with Professional Actors, Directors, Designers and Choreographers, as well as affording anyone interested in joining the Actors Union, the ability to earn their Equity Cards. At the time, such a notion was considered not only “radical”, but, impossible. Flash forward ten years, and, in 1989, the Theater “Fates” reunited the pair in the Broadway Third National/Israeli Tour of 42ND STREET (Reed as Julian Marsh, and Jordan as Abner Dillon). At this point, both had enjoyed much success in Theater and could proudly boast that neither had ever had to take on a “real job”, most assuredly a credit to the exceptional training received from their OCU Instructors. Again, for a year and then some, the notion of creating a place for Actors to receive Professional opportunities locally, Equity Cards, as well as a Stage on which those who had left Oklahoma and found success, could return to share that success and experience with the next Generation of Theater Patrons, and Performers, became an almost daily topic of conversation. Now, less of a fantasy and more of an obsession. The Tour ended, but, the talk continued. It was now not a matter of “if”, but “when”. Flash forward another ten years, and, in 1999, the two were seated at a table alongside a select group of former OCU students composing the Mission Statement and By-Laws for what would come to be recognized as one of the finest Small Professional Theaters in the Country; Oklahoma City Repertory Theater, or CityRep, now celebrating its eleventh year. In the first ten years of Operation, CityRep has been cited by Actors Equity Association as one of the Finest Member Theaters in the Country, was recently accepted as a Member of the very prestigious Theater Communications Group (one of only 500 so honored in the Country), and that Best Friend and fellow Founder, Donald Anthony Jordan, was recently awarded the highly prestigious Governors Arts Award. These honors are only a few that CityRep has garnered since opening its doors, but, the greatest honor comes from realizing the “radical”, “impossible” Fantasy Theater dreamt up in the halls of the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Auditorium by two Theater Geeks too dumb or too passionate to realize how improbable it was, has become one of the most highly regarded Small Professional Theater Companies in the Country.
Prior to and in the midst of all of the above, in 1983, upon completing his education at OCU, Jonathan headed to New York, and, within a year of arriving, had landed the Title Role of Cyrano DE Bergerac in the National Tour of the much-praised John Foley adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Classic. No sooner had one Tour ended, another had begun, and from 1983-93, Mr. Reed played nearly every important Theater in the Country, traversing the US, and abroad in such disparate Roles as Professor Harold Hill in the First National Touring Revival of THE MUSIC MAN, Julian Marsh in the Third National/ International Broadway Tour of 42NDSTREET, Professor Henry Higgins in the International Broadway Touring Revival of MY FAIR LADY, Bill Snibson in multiple Productions of ME AND MY GIRL, Captain Hook in the 1993 International Touring Production of PETER PAN, Starbuck in a National tour of 110 IN THE SHADE (alongside future multiple Tony award Winner Norbert Leo Butz), Mr.Applegate-The Devil in DAMN YANKEES (opposite Tony Nominee Charlotte d’Amboise), Garson Hobart in a National Tour of NORMAN…IS THAT YOU? (Opposite 5 time Emmy Award Winner and Television and Film Icon; Don Knotts), and, as Hysterium in the critically acclaimed Broadway Revival of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM opposite legendary Funnyman Rip Taylor’s Psuedelous.
In 1993, Jonathan starred in the highly anticipated, and “infamous” second New York revival of LITTLE ME in the eight roles Originated by Sid Caesar (Noble, et al), working closely with the Shows Composer, the late, great Legend Cy Coleman, who became a friend and advocate for the young Actor. This successful and fortuitous event led to a long time association with the Show, and numerous subsequent productions throughout the Country. Most notably, starring opposite Tony winning Playwright, famed Drag Artist, and Pop Culture Icon, Charles Busch, and fellow OCU Alum, Emmy and Tony Award Winner, Kristin Chenoweth, at the historic Birmingham Theater (winning the 1994 Detroit Free Press Critics Award as Best Actor in a Musical). He was also recognized in LITTLE ME by the Southwest Florida Theater Community and Critics with a coveted Carbonnel in 1997. In 2001, Jonathan Originated the Starring Role of Texas in the Off-Broadway Premiere of the Jones-Schmidt Musical ROADSIDE (CD Jay Records). He Co-Starred with fellow Honoree, Donald Jordan in CityRep’s highly successful three year sell out Run of A TUNA CHRISTMAS playing ten different denizens of the Town of Tuna, Texas. Other CityRep successes include THE 39 STEPS (Richard Hannay), MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIA’S (Victor Fleming), MY FAIR LADY (Henry Higgins), LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR (Ira), AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Steve), THE BIG BANG, and, as a Director/Designer, “YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN”, and A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD.
As a Visiting Professor, for the past eight years, Jonathan has taught in OCU’s Musical Theater Department and has directed standout Productions of THE FANTASTICKS, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and ASSASSINS. For the OCU Drama Department, his Production of LEND ME A TENOR advanced to Regionals, and was awarded the First Alternate position to perform at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Performing Arts Center in the American College Theater Festival.
Recently, Jonathan starred, for the second year in a row as Ebenezer Scrooge in Lyric Theater’s acclaimed Production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL earning unanimous critical praise in the form of such adjectives as “Powerful! Commanding! And Definitive!” In May, he will join Mr. Jordan once again for a six week Run of GREATER TUNA to close out CityReps eleventh Season. Earlier this year, he was seen on the CityRep Stage as Ned Weeks in THE NORMAL HEART, following a stint in GREATER TUNA at Ft.Worths Casa Manana Theater alongside David Coffee, and, Directed by TUNA Originator and Star, Jaston Williams. Last summer, he had the great good fortune to essay the Role of Fagin in Lyric Stages (Dallas, TX.) spectacular Production of OLIVER! for which he was honored with a Column Award as Best Actor in a Musical. Between and betwixt all of these various Productions, Mr. Reed co-starred as Ned Ryerson opposite SNL Great, Chris Kattan in the Family Comedy Feature Film, JUST CRAZY ENOUGH, and, has appeared in numerous commercials, most notably for Fowler Toyota, Cox Communications and U.S.Fleet.
Throughout his career, he has been blessed to have learned from the best, and, along with those previously mentioned has “trod the boards” with the likes of Bob Hope, Tony Bennett, Gwen Verdon, Ann Reinking, Megan Mullaley, Arte Johnson, Louis Nye, Kaye Ballard, Ron Raines, Lara Teeter, James Naughten, Annie Golden, Laura Kenyon, Pam Klinger, Vince Gill, and Amy Grant, among others. In 2009, he reprised the Role of Professor Harold Hill in THE MUSIC MAN for Lyric Theater (opposite Teri Bibb), and on July 9th (his Birthday) achieved the distinction of having performed the Role (on that night) a total of 500 performances. This landmark, along with other recognition, prompted Governor Brad Henry to declare July 9th, 2009 as “Jonathan Beck Reed Day” in the State of Oklahoma. In 2011, the award winning PBS Program, GALLERY featured a segment titled “The Thespian” honoring the Life and Career of Mr. Reed in Arts and Education, and, last year SLICE Magazine recognized Jonathan as a “Visionary” in the Performing Arts. Along with those already mentioned, among his extensive list of credits, Mr. Reed counts among his favorite Roles played, Tevye in FIDDLER, Frank N. Furter in ROCKY HORROR, The Chairman in DROOD, Zsa Zsa-Alban in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, Will in THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, Joe/Josephine in SUGAR (also with Chenoweth and Teeter), and George Bailey in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Along with his lovely and talented wife; Amy Reynolds-Reed, Jonathan is the proud Father of Twins Krayson Rayce and Emmalynn Ember, and co-owner of DANCE UNLIMITED Performing Arts Studio, and SPOTLIGHT Acting Academy in Edmond Oklahoma. As an Educator, Mr. Reed can boast with equal pride, that numerous former Students have found their way onto a Broadway stage and/or successful careers in the Theater. To the extent that his influence may have impacted these students course, he regards to be his greatest accomplishment.
“In my humble opinion, there is no greater reward in life than being able to give something of yourself to others and having that shared experience make a long and lasting difference in their lives. As an Actor, Director, Designer, Instructor, and Human Being, I have been blessed with countless opportunities each day to embrace that “gift”, and be embraced BY it!”