Mark Ayesh Is a cool guy...Just the right guy to play Roger in RENT! Read on to learn a bit more about him!
I grew up in the city in Kansas called Wichita. Kansas, though full of mostly rural communities, has a few "larger" cities and Wichita is one of those. I was lucky enough to attend a small high school that offered just about anything and everything in terms of extracurricular activities. At first I did the sport-thing spending almost all my time in either football, basketball, or track. My hobbies at the time were computers and being in a rock band. My goal in life was to be a computer programmer and go to MIT. Then one day my choir teacher asked me to audition for our school musical...FOOTLOOSE. That's when it all shifted gears. Getting to sing rock n' roll music and dancing (which turned out to be a lot harder than football ever was) on stage in front of hundreds of people was unbelievable. Thus, I caught 'the bug'. I tried to continue playing football while taking dance classes but at one point late in high school I finally decided to shift my focus solely to theatre and dance. I started doing my research, found a few, select schools to apply to, and auditioned for them. I finally ended up at the University of Michigan where I studied Musical theatre. I just graduated in May, and moved straight to the city. That is about where the story ends...for now :)
My high school used to take this trip once every other year to New York City to tour the city AND see 6 shows in 5 days. We didn't sleep. On that trip I still was feeling out the whole "musical theatre world" and found myself signed up for a show called RENT. Up until that point, I was pretty pleased with the rock n' roll, musical theatre music from FOOTLOOSE. But that didn't hold a candle to RENT. I was blown away. Before I went to college I saw the show another 8 times on Broadway. Then my junior year of college at U of M they announced we were going to be doing the show and I was in a state of shock for at least a month. I couldn't believe my school was doing RENT. So, about 5 months before auditions I started working on the audition materials. 7 Months later I had been cast in my dream role, Roger. I have since had one other chance to reprise the role, at Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, ME earlier this summer.
I did see the RENT movie...the day it came out...the first showing. I was as big of a RENT-head (a term describing those obsessed with the musical) as you can get for Wichita, KS. I loved seeing the original cast get a chance to capture their performances in that medium. However, I wasn't a fan of how it was told. There are many thing/scenes that are washed over and the movie lacks the energy and the excitement that the live show brings. The recorded final Broadway performance though is amazing.
Like I said, I come from a rock n' roll background so I tend to lean towards the more contemporary works. JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, RENT, and even newer NEXT TO NORMAL. But, I do have some favorites that don't exist in the realm of pop/rock musical theatre: 42ND STREET, COMPANY, and GUYS AND DOLLS. As for my dream role, I gotta be honest - I'm playin' it. However, Judas in JCS is a close second.
When I'm not on stage my hobbies vary from running to writing music, to anything computer related.
On my iPod? Jazz, Rock, and of course a lot of Show tunes :)