Theater Profile of Jayson Kolbicz

Hannah Kelling

Black History Month is known to be a time for remembering the struggles and the majesty of history. It is a chance to remember those outstanding members of the black community who rose to make their names known, and their beliefs cemented.

Jayson Kolbicz is among those whose heritage and budding prestige bring to mind the history which paved his way. Although he was raised in a predominantly white atmosphere, Kolbicz is biracial. Combined with a singular knack for performance, this sets Kolbicz on a unique stage.

A junior musical theatre major, Kolbicz is frequently in the limelight thanks to starring roles in campus productions like that of Dr. Frank N’ Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. His face is known, yes – enhanced with the eyeliner and glamour of the part.

Kolbicz has a sense of self-confidence and mirth that is almost immediately recognizable. With a laugh that seems always very nearly at the ready, the stage seems to place him in his natural element.

But, he said, the way to the stage was no light undertaking.

“Here, it’s been kind of a struggle,” he said. “Most in the program are white, and they pick a lot of stereotypically white shows.”

Yet, he said the business of the theater has matured into a state of acceptance towards those with diverse backgrounds. Having learned in theatre history classes about the skewed and distorted roles of the age-old minstrel shows, Kolbicz said the theatre has definitely shown growth in the modern age.

“It’s opened up a lot more, but black people still have their own ways of relating to each other through performance,” Kolbicz said. He seemed to take comfort in this fact, saying that it allows for individual style. It also presents unique opportunities in shows like The Lion King which give fame to a largely black cast.

“There are so many white shows out there, and it’s good for colored people to have something to go look for when they get out in the world,” Kolbicz said.

Touring is at the top of Kolbicz’s professional bucket list and, personally, he said he has heartening footsteps to follow. Brittney Price, his costar in Chorus Line and Ragtime and also biracial, is currently with the national tour of “Hair” as a part of the ensemble.

Kolbicz has also performed with several off-campus productions. Immersing himself in a role that is stereotypically white, he is currently starring in a performance of the hit “All Shook Up” as Chad, the lead. When asked if this seemed extraordinary to him, he paired a grin with a shrug and said that with a biracial past he can flexibly match the roles he’s given.

“I know I think about it,” Kolbicz said. “But, from what the faculty keeps telling me, the business nowadays is so open to all these other cultures and ethnicities, so they tell me I’m going to be fine.”

Because he was raised in a largely white community and family atmosphere, Kolbicz said he relates to that side of his heritage more directly. Yet, he seemed to carry a sort of reverence for the black performers and artists who continue to shape the industry.

Continuing his theatre career and so continuing the history of the biracial past he represents, Kolbicz is aiming high.

Contact Hannah Kelling at [email protected].