After noting around 30 people in the conference room, the man auditioning for a role in a new TV series refused to perform for less than 50 people and began dragging secretaries into the room.
It seemed only natural to Jason Alexander to make his audition for George Costanza on “Seinfeld” into exactly what it appeared to be to him, a joke.
Having to go up against Jerry’s best friend (whom Alexander did not name), Alexander saw the audition as nothing more than a “negotiation point for the other guy auditioning.”
Alexander still clearly recalls ad-libbing around the Conference room for his audition and not taking a single person seriously.
“I was as loose as a goose, because I know I’m not getting this,” Alexander said.
But as most of the country clearly knows, Alexander did, contrary to his preconceived notions, get the role and he did go on to be George Costanza in the 10-season comedy TV hit, “Seinfeld.”
More than 22 years since that audition, Alexander has acted in a number of other successful movies, TV series and Broadway musicals.
Seeking to use his experience to help other aspiring actors grow, Alexander visited Utah Valley University February 27-29, holding daily workshops from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
UVU’s student association hosted an “Evening with Jason Alexander” on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
In addition to speaking about his career experiences, such as the “Seinfeld” audition, Alexander also taught the local community about what he had been working on with the actors so that “audience members (could) also know more what to look for.”
Alexander explained that actors are “the only artists on the planet” who think they can “somehow get away with just doing whatever.” In Alexander’s workshops he taught students how to use the “proper tools” in acting.
Teaching that actors should always step through four questions when acting – “Who am I talking to … what do you want them to do … what do you do to make them do that … what’s in the way of you getting what you want?” – Alexander had a UVU student work through his monologue from “The Glass Menagerie” using those four questions.
After spending a good half hour working one-on-one with this student in front of the large audience, and teaching everyone that “writers write language, actors fit in the stuff between the language,” Alexander took questions from the audience and media.
Alexander spoke about how surprised he was to play Albert in “Bye Bye Birdie” and even more surprised to receive flowers and a letter later from Dick Van Dyke saying, “Now I know how to do the part. You were great.”
In addition to speaking about his career field, Alexander was also somewhat open about his true personality. Always seeking to be cast in “more of a Hamlet role,” Alexander was approached by a mentor who told him early on that he would never be cast for such a part and would “need to learn how to be funny.”
And as greatly as Alexander enjoys his “selfish profession,” he said his greatest accomplishment in life is not found on stage.
“My proudest accomplishments are undoubtedly my children,” Alexander said. “I believe in God because I have two miracles.”
In addition to expressing gratitude for the success in his career and family, Alexander offered words of praise to the community Tuesday night.
“I am thrilled to have been asked here,” Alexander said. “I have been so impressed … with this whole community … It has been a delight to be in Utah.”