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Arts & Culture

Jason Alexander Sings Show Tunes With San Diego Symphony

A portrait of Jason Alexander, who performs this weekend with the San Diego Symphony.
A portrait of Jason Alexander, who performs this weekend with the San Diego Symphony.

Jason Alexander Sings Showtunes With San Diego Symphony
Best known for playing George Costanza on the sitcom "Seinfeld," Jason Alexander is also a song-and-dance man.

The television show "Seinfeld" brought us many great characters, and combustible, ornery, neurotic George Costanza is one of the all-time greats.

Now, George Costanza is coming to San Diego to perform with the San Diego Symphony. Well, that's not exactly right.


Jason Alexander, the actor who played George, will be on stage. But Alexander says a lot of people see him as only George.

"It's very incongruous for most people when I come out in my little tuxedo and I start singing," said Alexander by phone from Los Angeles. "They go, George Costanza is singing? They kind of have a singular impression of me and that just isn’t it."

Alexander is a theater guy, an old fashioned song-and-dance man. And he’s been touring the country performing concerts with various symphony orchestras, ever since his first 1997 symphony show with the Boston Pops became a hit.

He brings the jokes and comic timing to the stage, in between singing and dancing through his favorite show tunes.

"The show has a through line, which is my love and joy and connection to the music of Broadway. So the entire show are songs from the musical stage," Alexander said.


The actor started doing theater in high school. But even before that, he wanted to be a magician.

"I was a solitary kid, really shy, and a little bit of a loner," said Alexander, who grew up in New Jersey. "And that is the perfect scenario to create a young magician because we sit in our room and we pick up cards or a couple of coins and we work for hours on trying to make something happen so that we can feel powerful and impress people."

Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

"My problem was, I wasn’t all that impressive," Alexander said.

After moving to a new school, the theater kids found him. They recruited Alexander for a role in the school production of "The Sound of Music."

"It sounds like a cliché, but it changed my life," Alexander said. "Suddenly, I had a community."

Alexander went on to an acclaimed career on the stage. He won a Tony Award for his lead role in "Jerome Robbins' Broadway." He was in the Los Aangeles run of "The Producers," opposite Martin Short.

Touring the symphony circuit has been a surprise in his career path, but a welcome one.

"I’ve always been impressed by the grandeur of symphony halls and the imposed formality of a symphony orchestra," Alexander said. Upending that formality is part of the appeal. He even pokes a little fun at it.

"I want it to be a little more like a party and conversation than an act," Alexander said.

There’s even part of Alexander's show where he picks audience members to join him on stage. He admits to always choosing at least one person who looks woozy with stage fright.

"It’s true, you do want some guy who really doesn’t want to be there, because you can have a lot of fun with them," Alexander said.

So be careful where you sit and look bold, or you might find yourself doing a soft-shoe and belting out show tunes with none other than George Costanza.

Alexander performs at Copley Symphony Hall on Friday, April 8 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 9 at 8 p.m.