It’s been quite the busy year for Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark’s Jonathan Schwartz. Aside from prepping the mammoth musical before its January 11, 2011 bow at the Foxwoods Theatre, the recent Princeton grad competed on the current season of CBS’ Emmy-winning, adrenaline-fueled series The Amazing Race. “It’s possibly the weirdest combination of things I ever could’ve thought of doing,” Schwartz told Broadway.com. “I definitely didn’t think in the same six months I’d be doing The Amazing Race and then the biggest show in Broadway history.”
Schwartz, who competed alongside his college friend Connor Diemand-Yauman, faced challenges ranging from storming the walls of a castle in England to racing through the streets of Ghana with a giant fish-shaped coffin. It wasn’t the typical tourist experience: “I basically sprinted by Stonehenge and didn’t even look at it,” he laughed. Schwartz says the show's intensity was the biggest hurdle of the competition. To calm themselves down, Schwartz and Diemand-Yauman often broke out in song. “It kept us relaxed to make up nonsensical songs about tractor drivers in England or whatever.” The pair was eliminated after the fourth round.
So did The Amazing Race prepare Schwartz for the nonstop work of a Broadway musical? “The pace is similar,” he says of the Spider-Man’s busy preview period. “We’ve got to keep pushing to make deadlines and make the best product we can.” Schwartz is one of four members of the “geek chorus” that function as narrators in Spider-Man. “We were the geeky Ivy a capella kids on The Amazing Race, and now I’m playing a geek, so I might be typecast in everything I do,” he joked. “We’re very much encouraged to be ourselves and mold the characters after our own personalities. I get to wear the prescription glasses I normally wear every day, so I barely feel like I’m acting.”
Take a look below as Schwartz and Diemand-Yauman show off their singing skills during The Amazing Race!