January 16, 1987 |
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Jake Epstein (born January 16, 1987) is a Canadian actor and singer who played Craig Manning, a bipolar musician, on Degrassi: The Next Generation. He also played Will in the First National Tour of American Idiot and created the role of Gerry Goffin in the Broadway production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Epstein was born in Toronto, Ontario. His mother, Kathy Kacer, is a Norma Fleck Award-winning writer of children's stories about the Holocaust, and his father, Ian Epstein (born 1955), is a lawyer. He has an older sister, Gabi, an actress and jazz singer. Epstein is Jewish and was raised in Conservative Judaism. He attended Claude Watson School for the Arts in Toronto and then continued in the Claude Watson program in Earl Haig Secondary School. He attended Camp Gesher in Cloyne, Ontario for a few years.
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Epstein was the lead actor in several of his school's plays and musicals, the most notable one being the Emcee in Cabaret. He started acting on screen in 1999, appearing in several made-for-television films and television series, including The Zack Files, Quints, Mom's Got A Date With A Vampire and an episode of Real Kids, Real Adventures.
He became well known after being cast in a lead role as Craig Manning on Degrassi: The Next Generation, joining the cast in 2002, in the second season of the show and continued to star in the show as a regular through seasons 2–5. Epstein indicated that the character "felt like a darker extension" of himself. He left Degrassi during the fifth season to attend the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal and made theater his new focus. Epstein said, "One of the things I love about theatre is how raw it is. There's no faking it… I really wanted to have a base in theatre, and that kind of opened up all these doors for me." He returned to Degrassi for minor guest appearances in season 6-8.
He has been a member of several bands, such as Mind the Gap, and Funkasaurus Rex, playing many musical instruments, including the guitar and drums. Epstein also starred in The Dream, alongside a bunch of friends for the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2007. Epstein also had a small role in the 2008 movie Charlie Bartlett, with a guest appearance from former Degrassi cast member, Drake.
Epstein starred in a Ross Petty production of Cinderella, at Elgin Theatre (Toronto), from November 28, 2008 until January 4, 2009, the production also starred fellow Degrassi: The Next Generation actress Paula Brancati.
Also in 2009, Jake starred as Charlie Brown, or "CB", in Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead—alongside fellow Degrassi grads, Paula Brancati as "Van's Sister" (Lucy Van Pelt), Adamo Ruggiero as "Van" (Linus Van Pelt) and Mike Lobel as "Matt" (Pig-Pen).
From January 20, 2011 to January 29, 2011, Epstein costarred with his sister, Gabi Epstein in Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond's "Dani Girl" at the Talk is Free Theatre in Barrie, Ontario.
In July 2011, Epstein played Billy's older brother in the Toronto run of Billy Elliot The Musical at the Canon Theatre.
He played Will in Green Day's Tony-winning rock musical American Idiot during the 2011-2012 North American tour. Epstein said, "I always think of American Idiot as my generation's The Who's Tommy or Pink Floyd's The Wall. American Idiot was very much like that time in the world, right after Sept. 11th...It was like a time of not knowing what to feel and that's what spawned this show."
Epstein made his Broadway debut in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as the alternate for lead role Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He joined the company on December 4, 2012, and performed Saturday and Sunday matinees, with his first show having taken place on December 8 at the Foxwoods Theatre. Epstein referred to the role as a "childhood fantasy come true." He played his final performance on August 12, 2013 to begin rehearsing for a new musical titled Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which opened on Broadway on January 12, 2014. This marked his second Broadway show in less than a year. The musical was based on Carole King's life, and Epstein portrayed her former husband Gerry Goffin. He indicated that it was not easy playing the man who broke King's heart. Epstein said, "I'm trying to make his struggle clear, so people understand why he did the things he did. He's not just a villain. I hope people see it's more complicated than that." He remained with the cast until September 21, 2014.
Many of the characters Epstein portrayed were troubled types. He said, "I'm a pretty upbeat person. I think I sometimes get cast as these brooding types because I bring light and joy, which hopefully makes them more likable."
- "My Window" — Music from Degrassi: The Next Generation
- "Rescue You" — Degrassi Goes Hollywood: Music from the Original Movie
- "Swan Song" — Degrassi Goes Hollywood: Music from the Original Movie
|Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire||Duffy||TV movie|
|2008||Charlie Bartlett||Dustin Lauderbach|
|2009||Degrassi Goes Hollywood||Craig Manning||TV movie|
|2010||Love Letter from an Open Grave||Zombie Frank||Short|
|2012||Blood Pressure||Josh Trestman|
|2015||4th Man Out||Marc the artist|
|Full Out||Coach Pierce|
|Charming Christmas||Woody||TV movie|
|As I Like Her||Jimmy||Short|
|1999||Ricky's Room||Brad||unknown episodes|
|Real Kids, Real Adventures||Chris Gilmore||Episode: "Lost & Found: The Richard Prieur Story"|
|2000–02||The Zack Files||Cam Dunleavy||Main role, 52 episodes|
|2002–09||Degrassi: The Next Generation||Craig Manning||2002–06, Seasons 2–5 (series regular)
2006–09, Seasons 6–8 (guest appearances)
|2003||The Eleventh Hour||Jacob McGibbon||Episode: "Shelter"|
|Girls v. Boys||Contestant Hawaii|
|2005||Radio Free Roscoe||Jackson Torrance||Episode: "Musical Influences"|
|2006||Angela's Eyes||Brad||Episode: "Undercover Eyes"|
|2008||Paradise Falls||Jim||Episodes: "Revelations", "Stardust"|
|2009||Being Erica||Malcolm Abrams||Episode: "Battle Royale"|
|2011||My Babysitter's a Vampire||David Stachowski||Episode: "Blue Moon"|
|2012||Murdoch Mysteries||Eddie Driscol||Season 5 Episode 12: "Murdoch Night in Canada"|
|2015||Remedy||Jake Ruben||Episodes: "Fight or Flight", "Day One"|
|2016-2017||Degrassi: Next Class||Craig Manning||Episodes: "#ThrowBackThursday" & "FactsOnly"|
|2016-2017||Designated Survivor||Chuck Russink||Season 1: 8 episodes|
|2017||Suits||Brian Altman||Season 7: 4 episodes|
|2009||Spring Awakening||Melchior Gabor||Tour|
|Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead||CB|
|2011||Billy Elliot the Musical||Billy's older brother|
|2012–13||Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark||alternate for lead role Peter Parker / Spider-Man|
|2014||Beautiful: The Carole King Musical||Gerry Goffin|
- "Ian S. Epstein Lawyer Profile on Martindale.com".
- Post City Magazines | August 2007, Jake Epstein by Robin Heron
- "Our Canadian Girl". Kathy Kacer. Retrieved June 26, 2006.
- "Kathy Kacer". Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP.org). Retrieved July 30, 2015. With short autobiography.
- Miller, Gerri (July–August 2007). "Jake Epstein". JVibe. 3 (4): 12–15.
- Document2 Archived 2009-08-24 at the Wayback Machine.
- "You’re A Big Deal: Jake Epstein of Broadway’s "Spiderman, Turn Off The Dark"". WBD Entertainment and Lifestyle Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
- Gioia, Michael (February 24, 2014). "The Leading Men: Jake Epstein and Jarrod Spector, Beautiful's Gerry Goffin and Barry Mann". playbill.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- Hetrick, Adam. "'Degrassi' Star Epstein to Succeed Riabko in Spring Awakening National Tour". playbill.com. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
- "When your Dog Sees God".
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Hetrick, Adam. "Royal's Dog Sees God, starring Jake Epstein, Gets Canadian Premiere March 13". Playbill.
- Jones, Kenneth (December 21, 2011). "American Idiot Tour, With Van Hughes, Joshua Kobak, Jake Epstein and More, Tests Wings in Upstate NY". playbill.com. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- Ahearn, Victoria (January 1, 2012). "Toronto actor Jake Epstein of 'Degrassi' fame rocks hometown in 'American Idiot'". The Canadian Press.
- Gioia, Michael. ""Degrassi" Star Jake Epstein Will Make Broadway Debut in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark".
- Stevens, Beth (December 12, 2013). "Jake Epstein on Disappointing Degrassi Fans and Breaking Carole King's Heart in Beautiful". Broadway.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- "Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen and Jarrod Spector Join 'Beautiful The Carole King Musical' Complete Cast Announced" playbill.com
- Hetrick, Adam."Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Starring Jessie Mueller as Music Icon, Opens on Broadway", playbill.com, January 12, 2014.
- Broadway.com Staff. "Scott J. Campbell & Paul Anthony Stewart Join Cast of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway". Broadway.com. Broadway.com. Retrieved September 23, 2014.