Psychoanalysts often ask patients to tap into their past.
Dr. Bradley Jones is ready to tap into his own.
Which is appropriate. In his earlier life he was a tap dancer.
Get ready for an encore.
At Staples High School, Jones thrilled audiences in Players productions like “Guys and Dolls” and “The Wizard of Oz.” He tapped in “Oklahoma!”, while for “Dames at Sea” he taught the art to fellow teenagers.
After graduating in 1975, Jones rolled the dice on an acting career. He was soon on Broadway, as a soldier/tormentor/singer/dancer in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
After a national tour with “My Fair Lady,” he was back on Broadway — big time. Jones played Greg Gardner, and understudied for Bobby in “A Chorus Line.”
It was a great 8 year-run. But he spent part of it while addicted to cocaine.
Jones stayed in the show, thanks to rehab and psychotherapy. That opened his eyes to the power of introspection.
When he injured his knee, he took stock of his future. His self-esteem was low. He was a gay man playing a gay character, getting older in an industry that celebrates youth. “I didn’t see a great future,” he says.
So Jones finally went to college. He enrolled at Fordham University — with the goal of becoming a psychotherapist.
After a master’s in social work from Hunter College, and a doctoral program in Los Angeles — with psychoanalysis 3 times a week, on the couch — Jones returned to New York.
That was in the 1990s. He’s had a flourishing practice ever since.
Two years ago, a friend asked him to be in a cabaret. “I got sick with the bug again,” Jones says.
Not cocaine. Performing.
Which is why he’ll perform “Dr. Bradley’s Fabulous Functional Narcissism” 3 times soon: twice in May, once in June.
The solo show is billed as
a madcap, thought-provoking story of how an eager-to-please theatre queen survived a decade in a Broadway hit, and overcame envy, grandiosity and even murder to become a respected psychoanalytic clinician … who still knows how to tap and sing!
It “mixes my 2 loves: psychoanalysis and theater,” Jones says.
Part of the show is educational. “I want people to understand narcissism,” he explains. “It’s hard to empathize with narcissists. But they’re in terrible pain.”
Yet, he quickly adds, “it’s done in a cute, saucy, sex, fun musical theater way.”
Jones crams narcissism — plus AIDS, and the real-life murder of his boyfriend — into an hour. Along with (of course) tap dancing.
There are only 3 performances because, as a cabaret show, Jones must do most of the promotion himself. He’s still got a day job.
But what a great, fulfilling job that is.
And luckily, during his June performance, there’s a big psychoanalysts’ conference in New York City. He hopes to see many of them at his show.
I wonder how they feel about that?
“Dr. Bradley’s Fabulous Functional Narcissism” will be performed Friday, May 11 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, May 19 (1 p.m.) at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, and Friday, June 15 (8 p.m.) at Don’t Tell Mama. For Laurie Beechman tickets, click here. For Mama’s tickets, click here. The cover charge for all shows is $20. There is a 2-drink minimum — and Mama’s is cash only.