Since graduating in 2012, Todd Jacobsson has travelled the world as a performer in professional musicals and stage productions. Recently, he was cast in his seventh professional musical, Wicked, understudying the role of Fiyero.
Notably, he performed the role of Tony in the Australian and International Tour of West Side Story and recently performed in the national tour of Hairspray, understudying the role of Link Larkin. Further credits include understudying Hans in Disney’s Frozen and understudying Elder Price in Australia’s premiere of The Book of Mormon, as well as performing in Guys and Dolls and in Rhonda Burchmore’s Vinyl Viagra Tour.
Todd was passionate about the performing arts from a young age. He commenced dance training at Ballarat Ballet Centre and sought opportunities in Ballarat’s local theatre community.
“I specifically remember watching The Phantom of The Opera with my mum on my 13th birthday at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne,” said Todd. “I remember asking her how the people on stage get to be at that level and, when she told me it was their profession and they get to do it every night, something in my brain clicked. I instantly knew that’s what I wanted to do for a living and I’d do anything it took to reach that level.”
Being cast in The Book of Mormon at the Princess Theatre was particularly special to Todd, given it was the same theatre in which he realised his dream to perform. The Book of Mormon went on to tour Australia and New Zealand for almost four years.
At Clarendon, Todd performed in every musical he could, played in orchestras and bands, sung in choirs and worked backstage during productions. If there was an opportunity to be involved in anything creative, he was there.
“Clarendon instilled in me a great work ethic while nurturing my talents,” said Todd. “It was an amazing school as it provided a vast amount of extra-curricular performing arts pursuits and allowed me to study all various forms of dance, drama and music, making the transition from my final year to the real world the smoothest it could possibly be.”
Todd initially planned to study Musical Theatre at a university but, just as he was about to graduate from Clarendon, an opportunity arose to audition for a singing group on cruise ships. He landed a position and progressed as a guest performer abroad Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America, Oceania, Princess and Royal Caribbean cruise lines.
Rehearsals for Wicked are well underway as the cast spend four weeks in the rehearsal room with international creatives from New York and a further two weeks in the theatre. From then on, Todd will perform in eight shows a week with normally one or two days off. As an understudy, he rehearses a further two days a week which, Todd says, isn’t for the faint hearted.
“Shows can run for a long time when successful,” said Todd. “I left The Book of Mormon to do West Side Story after two and a half years, so you really need to treat your body and voice like that of an athlete. Now in my eleventh year in this industry, still to this day I feel like I haven’t worked a day in my life. Getting to fully realise the one thing you dreamed about doing is a feeling unlike any other.”
Wicked opens at Sydney Lyric Theatre on 25 August 2023. Good luck, Todd!