Humans of John Jay: Mr. Friedman


“What is your background in theatre?”

“Well, I acted for about five or six years professionally. Before that, I went to college
at the University of Texas in Austin where I got an English degree. While I was at UT, I started acting, and I really liked it, so when I finished there, I auditioned for Circle in the Square Training Program in New York City, and I moved up here for two years and went to an acting conservatory. When that was over, I moved back to Texas, and I was in a theatre company in Austin at night. I did children’s theatre during the day because that paid a lot more. In the summers I did Shakespeare festivals. I was in the Dallas Shakespeare Festival and the Santa Cruz Festival. They would give you a place to stay in the dorms and would pay you a little bit. It was fun.

When I moved back to New York, I did a few downtown theater stuff in SoHo. After I was living in New York City for a little while, it was getting really expensive, and I was getting kind of old, so I decided not to act anymore. My day job was teaching English to Russian refugees. I sort of realized I enjoyed working with students. I’d never taught anything before, and these were adults from Russia who were excited to be learning a new language, and little by little, I realized that I didn’t need to act anymore.”