Evan Jonigkeit: Philly's Sexiest Actor

This guy has all the right moves.

By J. Cooper Robb
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 30 | Posted Feb. 9, 2010

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Stare apparent: Evan Jonigkeit is best known for his work with Maukingbird Theatre Company.

No matter who (or what) you prefer to get down with, it’s easy to see that local actor Evan Jonigkeit is one sexy man.

There are an abundance of theatrical roles that call for a young, good-looking man, and there is little doubt Jonigkeit could float by on his looks alone. At 5-feet-9-inches, 165 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair, Jonigkeit is 26 years old but looks younger, an attribute that makes him eligible to play a wide range of characters. He’s youthful enough to play teenagers (he’s cast as Romeo in the Arden Theatre Company’s new production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet ) but old enough to play young adults. The characters he inhabits are typically smart and handsome, often guys who are comfortable with their sexuality and, in some cases, know how to use it to get what they want.

Jonigkeit was born in Lansdale and attended Temple University on a baseball scholarship. After his first meeting with an acting instructor, he realized he would have to choose between playing in center field and performing on center stage. The stage won.

Jonigkeit has appeared with many of the area’s major companies. He played the boy in Six Characters in Search of an Author at Malvern’s People’s Light and Theatre Company and appeared as Hal in Montgomery Theater’s production of Picnic . Jonigkeit was also a member of the ensemble in Pig Iron Theatre Company’s brilliant group work Pay Up and played the charming (and seductive) English schoolboy Daiken in the Arden’s sensational fall production of The History Boys . However, it’s Jonigkeit’s body of work with Mauckingbird Theatre Company for which he’s best known.

Devoted to producing plays with a gay perspective, Mauckingbird featured Jonigkeit as Celimene in the company’s magnificent production of The Misanthrope , reimagined for an all-male cast and set in Paris. Jonigkeit’s Celimene was a stunningly gorgeous man-about-town and the object of every Parisian’s desire. Jonigkeit could have reduced the role to simple posturing and preening, but his Celimene was not only alluring, but shrewdly calculating. Jonigkeit also turned in a terrific performance as an oppressed student in the innovative R&J , and gave an involving portrayal as the amoral killer Richard Loeb in Never the Sinner . A difficult role for any actor, Sinner ’s Loeb uses his charm and attractiveness to manipulate the love-stricken Leopold into aiding him in murder.

Celimene and Loeb are both characters that exude sexuality, and Mauckingbird artistic director Peter Reynolds says it is a trait that comes naturally to Jonigkeit. “It is part of who Evan is,” explains Reynolds. “It is genuine and not forced.” Reynolds also says the actor’s natural sensuality hasn’t gone unnoticed by theatergoers. Reynolds says audiences typically comment on Jonigkeit’s “charisma and the force of his performances; his combination of strength and vulnerability.” As for the actor’s obvious physical appeal, Reynolds reports, “Young females swoon. Males too!”

However, good looks aren’t what have made Jonigkeit one of the area’s busiest actors this season. “Evan works hard and is an actor who is very easy to work with,” says Reynolds. “He is a young man who could have absolutely relied on his looks and never chose to do so.”

In addition to theater, Jonigkeit has also dabbled in film and television. He says that while television is obsessed with an actor’s appearance (film to a slightly lesser degree), looks are not ignored by theater directors entirely. “I think directors are forced by the structure of a script to focus very intently on an actor’s appearance,” Jonigkeit explains. “In many scripts the author narrows down a framework of characteristics for the director to cast inside of.”

Jonigkeit says he approaches playing heterosexual and homosexual characters the same, and that he enjoys playing characters with an abundance of sexuality. “On stage, characters often use sexuality to manipulate. I have to admit it’s fun to play characters that use it as a tactic that way on stage, since it’s something I almost never do in real life.” ■

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 30 of 30
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1. Joe Smith said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 01:15PM

“Apparently this reporter did not do his research as he left this fine actor's roles at Walnut Street Theatre out of his article. I first saw this actor in Natural History at the Walnut and remember his powerful performance in A Streetcar Named Desire. More Philadelphian's would know him from the Walnut than all of these other theatres combined.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 03:33PM

“Sure is one sexy guy!”

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3. Emaleigh said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 04:44PM

“I have worked with Evan through Mauckingbird Theatre Company, he's an excellent young actor. I'm sure we will continue to see more great work to come from Evan...”

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4. Anonymous said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 08:49PM

“He was great in The Dishwashers at Walnut Street's studio theatre. I wonder why those Walnut roles of his are not mentioned?”

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5. Misty said... on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:00PM

“Geez, how come Arthur Kade didn't get this? He's Philly's own balls-ass, a-list world class actor.”

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6. jessie said... on Feb 11, 2010 at 09:08PM

“He has done some really great stuff I have seen him in most everything... i'd do him.”

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7. Anonymous said... on Feb 12, 2010 at 11:45AM

“A Great article about a great actor! I've seen everything he has done and Mauckingbird- what a fabulous young actor. I'm sure the article had length requirements, and only his most recent work could be mentioned- thats all! It would be great if we could spread our love for him on here, not bash the fact that every single show he was in wasn't mentioned.”

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8. Anonymous said... on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:23PM

“I doubt that an actor's entire resume can be published in a 600 word PW article. I did get the chance to see Evan in Never The Sinner with Mauckingbird and he was wonderful, as well as that entire production. He is a very talented young actor who has obviously taken risks for his art form and I am looking forward to seeing him in Romeo and Juliet.”

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9. Erin said... on Feb 12, 2010 at 10:44PM

“Congrats evan! I am so proud of you, and from High School till now you have always been such a great person. Congrats on going places as you follow not only your dreams but your heart!

Remember always... be a 10... always a 10... wink wink.”

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10. Anonymous said... on Feb 17, 2010 at 01:53PM

“Evan is fantastic. He has been appearing in some short YouTube videos for our (soon-to-be-open) bar and he is fantastic, funny, friendly and an awesome guy to work with...We couldn't be more lucky. Check out the vids for more of Evan's great work:

http://tabuphilly.com/”

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11. Anonymous said... on Feb 20, 2010 at 09:35AM

“I have worked with Evan also, I just want to second the comments that have been posted. He is a natural talent and a joy to work with. Congrats on the recognition, he deserves it.”

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12. Anonymous said... on Mar 1, 2010 at 03:01PM

“Omg I saw him just the other night in R&J he's hot and he's such a good actor when he looked at me i almost melted”

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13. Grace G said... on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:35PM

“Evan is truly remarkable, I saw him in Mauckingbird's R&J and was instantly dazzled with his relaxed demeanor on stage, and enthralled by his intense passion. I went to Romeo and Juliet at the Arden tonight, and once again was blown away. Also, he's an amazingly nice person, and it's hard to find sweet and humble people, especially in his buisness. Evan if you are reading this (are you?) it's Grace, great job tonight, and keep up the fantastic work!”

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14. Anonymous said... on Mar 4, 2010 at 06:59PM

“He's hot, but irksome when playing Romeo.”

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15. Anonymous said... on Mar 9, 2010 at 04:53PM

“I saw his Romeo... It was fantastic!”

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16. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:29AM

“As a fan of Evan's I hope he will soon spread his wings and travel to other parts of the country... Portland Or, perhaps? He's phenomenal.”

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17. Anonymous said... on Apr 7, 2010 at 12:37PM

“hi..........evan is HAWT.”

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18. Anonymous said... on Apr 16, 2010 at 06:25PM

“He should win something for that Romeo performance... it was intense!”

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19. Anonymous said... on Aug 10, 2010 at 04:59PM

“Wow, Evan is a great find. I recently saw him in "High" in Hartford, CT. His performance was a-class. This guy is going places... Philadelphia should be proud to have his roots. Good luck, Evan.”

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20. Anonymous said... on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:32PM

“I live in Hartford. I just saw him and went online when I got home, to find out who he is, he was heartbreaking and wonderful, still upset, thinking about it. Glad he has gotten recognition in Philadelphia.”

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21. Anonymous said... on Oct 3, 2010 at 07:31AM

“Wait till you see him naked in HIGH. and he can act too...”

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22. Laura said... on Oct 18, 2010 at 07:03PM

“What an actor! I saw Evan in "High" at the St. Louis Rep last night with Kathleen Turner. He was fantastic and so was Ms. Turner. It is on a pre-Broadway tour and I think I see a Tony in his future. I certainly swooned as there was full front nudity! He is hot.”

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23. Steve in St. Louis said... on Nov 6, 2010 at 12:23AM

“I also just got home from seeing him in "High" here in St. Louis, and both Evan and Kathleen Turner were awe-inspiring in their ranges. I only wish it had been a much longer nude scene! Very powerful and strong acting chops. If you get to see him in "High", watch his eyes!”

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24. chris said... on Jan 22, 2011 at 12:28AM

“And he makes his Broadway debut next week in the ongoing production of "High" with Kathleen Turner! I'd say his star has risen. Without a doubt, Hollywood will be calling next.”

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25. Anonymous said... on Mar 11, 2011 at 11:40PM

“heard tony buzz about this guy and he hasn't even performed in NY yet.”

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26. Anonymous said... on Apr 4, 2011 at 05:35AM

“I saw him yesterday, he was great in High I hope he does get a tony”

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27. Joey N said... on Apr 5, 2011 at 03:27PM

“I saw Evan on Broadway in "High". It was an intense performance that left the audience wanting more. Kudos to him and I agree, smells like a TONY!!!!!!!!!!!”

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28. Anonymous said... on Apr 7, 2011 at 09:30PM

“Just saw Evan in High on Broadway. His performance was so real, I was almost shocked when he came out looking normal at the end. ABSOLUTELY deserves a Tony!!!”

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29. Anonymous said... on May 9, 2012 at 05:18PM

“Saw him in High in Toronto. A real great performance along with Ms. Turner. Don't know why the show closed after only 8 shows on Broadway. It was very intense and well acted. Heavy subject material that was handle well. The humour was good also. Very friendly and took the time to speak with those backstage.”

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30. Anonymous said... on May 10, 2012 at 06:00AM

“saw him in HIgh in Toronto. Such a great portrayal of a tortured, vibrating, manipulative kid on a downward spiral. So believable. So deep and intense. This play could run for weeks!”

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