Baron, who graduated from Glen Rock High School in 2007, performed in a production of Man of La Mancha his freshman year, and it immediately became his favorite musical, he said. He appeared in another staging on Cape Cod two summers ago, and now he’s taken on the starring role in the Bergen County Players rendition.
While the return to Bergen County from gigs at Midwest opera houses the last two years is something of a full circle, Baron’s path to theater was less than predictable.
After graduating GRHS, he enrolled at Princeton as a music major, hoping to produce scores for video game soundtracks. A chance drama course along the way changed his mind, and brought him back into the theater fold, where he was worked as a writer and performer since graduating in 2011.
“I just took an English class on a whim,” he said. “It made more sense to me than anything else, and suddenly being in a show wasn’t just an activity anymore.”
“I like them all,” he said of his various writing and performance gigs. “I feel like the theater world wants you to choose one…but I don’t see why you can’t do them all. They all lend something to the other.”
Man of La Mancha, first staged on Broadway in 1965, is a “play with in a play,” as Baron describes it. The plot revolves around the Inquisition-era imprisonment of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes.
During a trial within the prison, Cervantes becomes the fictional character of his famous novel as part of his defense. Baron plays both characters, as Cervantee melds into Don Quixote, bringing his inmates along into the fictional world of the author’s novel.
“The spirit of the two of them kind of meld into each other,” as Baron described it. “I’ve come to know the show well, it’s probably my favorite musical, and I know it inside out and backwards.”
The show, which opened at The Little Firehouse Theatre in Oradell Sept. 14, runs Fridays and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 12.
After that, Baron will be doing opera work in New York City and auditioning for the next gig, which will likely bring him again further from home, though it’s hard to predict.
As he said: “I live wherever I’m told to live.”