Young actor brings flair to the stage

Young actor brings flair to the stage
"I've always liked being someone that I'm not, and being able to do it. Not a lot of people can say they can do that," says Dominique Jones, a theater standout at John Marshall High School in Rochester.

Dominique Jones is a 16-year-old junior at John Marshall High School who is starting to wow people with his performing arts talent. He can act, sing and dance, and he brings an acrobatic flair to his performances, including in the Rochester Civic Theatre's "Beauty and the Beast," which just concluded its run.

If you were to see Jones walking down the hall in school, or met him briefly, you would have no idea that all of this energy and talent is inside of him, said John Marshall English teacher and theater director Eric Decker.

"He's fairly flat and without an affect when he's just walking through the halls. But when he's on stage or when you get to know him one-on-one, he is so warm and fun and personable that it's really wonderful," Decker said, adding that after 20 years of directing, he thinks Jones is "right up there" in terms of raw talent.

When did you start participating in drama?


I started it when I was in Wabasha in eighth grade. Before that, I was into sports. I've always been open to try new stuff, and before I left the school in Oakdale, I had auditioned for a play. I ended up not getting a part, but I liked doing the audition.

What was the first role you received?

The play was "Night Chills," and it was in Wabasha. It was a play on the major stories of Edgar Allen Poe, and my part was Benj Thorp from "The Black Cat." I was, basically, the guy who sets up this foiled plan. It was kind of fun. I've been in 11 or 12 shows now.

You seem kind of quiet, but you like to perform?

I am kind of quiet. I'm a shy person. Naturally shy, except in performances. And a lot of people are surprised by that.

So when you're on stage, you don't feel scared?

Not really? It's really hard to explain.

Is it because you get to be somebody else?


Yeah, pretty much. I've always liked being someone that I'm not, and being able to do it. Not a lot of people can say they can do that. So I like being different.

What plays have you done here at JM?

I've only finished two. We're doing a student-directed play right now. It's called "Grim High." It's looking fun so far. This year's play was "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," and in that I was the lead role, as William Barfee, and that was something.

What was it like to get the lead role?

I was caught off guard by it. When I audition for things, I never go for a specific role or anything. I just do it to do it. And I didn't know that was the lead role. The director actually told me the next day.

Have you thought about what you'd like to do after high school and beyond?

I'm going to college. I'm not sure where I want to go yet. I can't pinpoint yet what I want to do. I'm interested in writing, interested in acting, interested in drawing, photography, a lot of different things.

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