When Jacob Weitlauf paused to take a brief phone interview with Paducah Life Magazine, he was in Chicago, preparing for one of the biggest dance auditions of his life.
It was for a musical theater program at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. The school was participating in the National Unified Auditions, where students from all over the country (including Jacob) competed for spots in theater programs at various universities and colleges.
"You just go and schedule all these auditions and run around the hotel and run around Chicago trying to get to your auditions on time and change clothes—warm up your voice and stretch for dance calls," Jacob said. "It’s really exciting."
For several years, the McCracken County High School senior’s life had been abuzz with this kind of theatrical activity. He said he first fell in love with acting in the seventh grade, while participating in a Market House Theatre production of "Alice in Wonderland." After that, he started singing, acting, writing, and dancing himself into a prospective career, which—he hoped—would one day land him on the Broadway stage.
"Go big or go home," he laughed, adding that his dream role was Elder Arnold Cunningham in "The Book of Mormon."
Jacob also said his artistic interests cover various genres. His favorite roles have been Pierre, a French buccaneer from Market House Theatre’s "How I Became a Pirate" and his upcoming turn as Horton in Purchase Players’ version of "Seussical." Although he liked portraying whimsical characters on stage, Jacob said his tastes skewed toward horror on the page. In 2013, he spent three weeks at a Stanford University program for screenwriting, where he developed a macabre version of the nursery rhyme, "The Three Blind Mice." He said he loved a good cliffhanger.
Over time, Jacob’s devotion to singing, dancing and acting earned him acceptance to the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, where he studied musical theater. He said he nabbed the Best Drum Major title at Southern Illinois University’s Music & Motion competition as well, and his voice earned him a place on Kentucky’s All-State Men’s Chorus.
Jacob trusted that all this experience would serve him well on that afternoon in Chicago, when he was getting ready to face representatives from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He would dance his best for them, hoping that the steps he took on that audition stage would be the first on his road to a world of entertaining.