An Outlaw and a Gentleman

In Outlaws and Angels, J Vance serenades audiences with his charming renditions of “Hey Good Lookin'” and “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.” But did you know that J got his start at FST as an Acting Apprentice, where he starred in Robin Hood and Deck the Halls: ‘Tis the Season?

We sat down with J to talk about his artistic inspirations, his family’s “green thumb,” and the challenge of performing a single Cabaret over 160 times.

Due to popular demand, Outlaws and Angels has been extended through April 12 in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret. For tickets and more information, click here.

Which musical artists inspired you?

I grew up listening to Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, and Brad Paisley. I was raised in the small town of Danville, Indiana – I was surrounded by corn, boots, and a lot of big trucks going around town. Growing up there had a heavy influence on my mindset of country-western music.

Left to Right: J Vance and Joe Casey. Photo by Matthew Holler.

The honesty that the artists would bring to their work has always stuck out to me. From an early age, I was drawn to stories that were presented in song. Whether it was “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw or “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts, I was often attempting to recreate the song’s story and emotion. I have taken everything that their music taught me about vulnerability and brought that forward into my professional career.

Has there been a special moment (such as an unscripted surprise or moment with the audience) while you’ve been here?

One of my favorite things about performing in Outlaws and Angels is that I get to use my wide vocal range. During the show, I sing “Hey Good Lookin” to Madalyn McHugh, and when I let out the first note, I often hear audience members react to the twang that comes out. It’s an amazing feeling being able to make eye contact with those audience members and smile at them. That moment of connection is something I had not been expecting, but it has since become one of my favorite parts of the show.

There’s a great chemistry within the cast onstage. What are you all like offstage?

Our cast makes coming to work every day so much sweeter. We have so much fun onstage together, and the fun does not stop when we exit the Goldstein Cabaret. We are often cracking jokes with one another, talking through life’s problems, and spending time with each other outside of work. The relationships that we have formed when we’re not performing  are what make our interactions during the show so genuine and honest. They are a supportive bunch of humans, and I couldn’t imagine this journey without them.

What is something that the audience might be surprised to learn about you? 

When I’m not performing, you can probably find me tending to my plants. The “green thumb” has been passed down for four generations in my family. I currently have roughly 40 houseplants, and I have no intention to stop buying them!

What is the most enjoyable part of this Cabaret for you?

When people ask me how the show is going, I always say that we are cruising along and having fun. Every performance provides an opportunity for us to improve and try new things. That freedom is what gives us permission to enjoy ourselves. I love being able to deliver a line in a song with a different intention to see how that affects the story we are telling. Even though sometimes it ends with us giggling, we know that the audience just got to see an honest moment.

Due to popular demand, Outlaws and Angels has been extended through April 12 in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret. For tickets and more information, click here.