Jason Ritter ’98 got his first taste of stage life during second grade at Crossroads School when he appeared in the musical “Pippin” as Pippin’s son. “It was amazing to be around the older kids,” he remembers.
But by middle school, shyness overcame him, and he avoided the limelight. Instead he joined the Jazz “B” Band, where he played bass. “I always liked being part of something bigger than myself, a group of people who come together to make something none of us could do on our own,” he says.
In 10th grade, he was asked to audition for a small role in “Cabaret,” in which his father, actor John Ritter, also had a part. Jason discovered two important things: He was “sick of being too scared to embarrass myself,” and he loved the process of acting—“every single bit of it.”
He loved the feeling of being terrified beforehand, “and the adrenalin rush of working on something, trying to find the funny things about it, like a magic trick,” he says. By the time he graduated, he wanted to be an actor.
Jason went on to New York University’s Atlantic Acting School and spent time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, trying to demystify Shakespeare. Then he returned to L.A. and built a growing list of credits. He earned an Emmy nomination for NBC’s “Parenthood” and, in 2017-18, starred in the series “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.” Recently, he got rave reviews for “The Tale,” a film that courageously takes on childhood sexual abuse.
He chooses projects based on whether “there’s some element that rings true or moves me,” he says. “It all comes down to if I can contribute something to the character I’ll be playing.” Next he will appear in Netflix’s new superhero drama series, “Raising Dion.”
Throughout his K-12 journey at Crossroads, he had “such great teachers and directors,” who imparted a sense of freedom and imagination—in a place where the arts are an integral part of all life has to offer, Jason says. “It’s a lovely way to learn.”