Springfield native back home at the Hoogland

Jacob Seidman performs in Looped Feb. 24 and 25

click to enlarge Springfield native back home at the Hoogland
Julie Phillips as Tallulah Bankhead and Jacob Seidman as Danny Miller in Looped.

Jacob Seidman, 33, grew up in Springfield where theater and dance were a huge part of his life. He now lives in Los Angeles where he is focused on writing, acting and producing. He was a member of the Springfield Ballet Company (SBC) throughout high school and spent countless hours at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, performing and practicing. On Feb. 24 and 25 he will be back on stage performing in the regional premiere of the play Looped. Seidman last performed in Springfield when he was 18. He is thrilled to bring this play to Springfield, thanks to Gus Gordon and the Hoogland Center.

Looped, by Matthew Lombardo, will be presented in the Peggy Ryder Theatre at the Hoogland Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m. For tickets, call 217-523-2787 or go to www.hcfta.org/tickets.

Based on a real event, Looped takes place in the summer of 1965 when an inebriated Tallulah Bankhead, well-known for her husky voice, outrageous personality, and devastating wit, returns to the studio to redub – or loop – one line of dialogue for her last movie Die! Die! My Darling! Bankhead's outsized personality dominates the young, frustrated film editor who is thrown for a loop by the tempestuous stage and screen icon. Seidman first saw Looped on Broadway, where Valerie Harper played Tallulah Bankhead, when he was in college. He found the script beautiful and well-written.

Seidman started dancing with the Springfield Ballet Company at the age of three. In second grade he was a Munchkin in a Wizard of Oz performance at the Masonic Temple, which later became the Hoogland Center. He performed in many shows at the Springfield Theatre Centre and The Muni, including Cats, Jekyll and Hyde and Chicago.

After graduating from Springfield High School in 2008, Seidman went to Montclair State University in New Jersey, lived in New York City, worked on cruise ships and was involved in musical theater. In 2015 he stopped dancing to focus on acting, and after a vacation to Los Angeles he moved there in August 2017. He started taking acting classes and found his "creative family" of active writers, producers and content creators.

In acting class, he met Julie Phillips, who will join him onstage in Springfield playing Tallulah Bankhead. Phillips was born and raised in L.A. Phillips' mother sang at the legendary Copa Cabana with Frank Sinatra and Fats Domino, and her father was an award-winning composer. Because of her parents' connections, she helped when there was a need for kids in commercials and has had a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card since 1974. After a 25-year hiatus from performance, she took an acting class and is now a full-time actor and creator.

When everything closed during the pandemic, Seidman and Phillips saw the opportunity to be creative. They joined forces on numerous endeavors which led to producing and performing in the play Looped. They claim to be the first people to use Zoom as a full medium for a film series. Their amusing series, based on a real story, can be viewed here: https://watch.seeka.tv/en/searching-for-josh-brolin.

Seidman's short film Fall to Fame was first recognized at the Micheaux Film Festival in L.A., where he was awarded the outstanding dramatic actor award. His most recent short film, A New Era of Cowboy, recently completed a successful film festival run.

"The arts gave me my entire life," said Seidman. He had friends' groups in high school, but thanks to his after-school activities, he had friends all over the city, including people of all ages. "The arts gave me purpose, an outlet, and kept me focused," said Seidman. He also says that when he came out in high school, his community of friends made it easy for him. He credits incredible role models. As a result, "it wasn't scary to discover who I am," said Seidman." He observed that others have had a much harder time.

"Jacob was always full of energy and excitement," said Grace Nanavati, whose name is synonymous with dance in Springfield. "He was thoughtful, but always brought humor and light into his classes. I'm smiling just thinking about and remembering him." Seidman says it feels very special to be coming back to Springfield, where he had many mentors. He was previously strictly a dancer. "To do a play and showcase how I've grown is exciting for me," said Seidman. For more information about Seidman and his work, go to www.jacobseidman.com.

Karen Ackerman Witter

Karen Ackerman Witter started freelance writing after a 35-year career in state government holding various senior leadership positions. Prior to retiring she was associate director of the Illinois State Museum for 14 years. She is the past president of the Kidzeum Board of Directors and is an active volunteer...

Illinois Times has provided readers with independent journalism for almost 50 years, from news and politics to arts and culture.

Your support will help cover the costs of editorial content published each week. Without local news organizations, we would be less informed about the issues that affect our community..

Click here to show your support for community journalism.

Got something to say?

Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Comments (1)
Add a Comment