Set in a pocket of northern New Jersey in a world before social media spoofed the dog as man’s best friend, Jersey Boys can be summed up in one word: Family. Before the tour began and complaints of bedbugs and travel days took their toll, we’ve spent the past five weeks creating our family while learning, assembling and putting on this show on a stage ready. to travel the country.
Jersey Boys means a lot to me. When I first read the audition snippets of the script, I was instantly able to connect with something I hadn’t felt on any show before. It was my hobby that became my passion again; it was my love for the arts on a visceral level. It was the summer of 2018, when I was 20, with no interest in cruise ships, but all interest in a musical with dialogue that I could sink my teeth into.
I love musical theater – a gigantic faucet act with glitter and glitter reflecting the light in my mesmerized eyes is a perfect form of escape – but I think the book still has to match that magic. I want to leave a theater with a certain feeling because I finally cared about the characters and their stories. That’s why I made two Jersey Boys contracts on Norwegian Cruise Line and why I have returned to the series now for its third UK national tour: I care about the series and the characters and I hope you do too.
For the past three years, I have had the pleasure of playing Bob Gaudio. His character is pragmatic: he always looks to the future and is guided by logic rather than emotion, traits that I can personally exploit with some ease.
I had the honor of meeting the man himself via Zoom during the first week of rehearsals. I sang “Cry For Me,” the song from our show where we first see Bob’s musicianship shine and ignite something in each of the four future seasons, and he offered invaluable insight into that moment. The session lasted for five fleeting minutes, but it’s five that I won’t soon forget. Seeing him continue to be so involved in the show and nurture his own legacy inspired me and I hope I can do him justice.
I really don’t want to talk about it, but given that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, I would be remiss if I didn’t: Covid-19 has changed everything in our industry. Daily lateral flow tests, the constant inhalation of the noxious smell of hand sanitizer, even assigning our own chairs to minimize the risk of transmission are all part of the routine we adopt to be able to work in the hospital. company during this period.
Don’t make me start trying to dance and sing up to his reach through a face mask – I’ve choked on mine a dozen times and almost passed out at least three! However, this may be because the most exercise I did in the 18 months of pre-rep was walking from the couch to the fridge and then back to the couch. We all balance our work and our personal lives, desperately trying to organize ourselves before hitting the road for a year. Despite all this, we light up and morale remains high during rehearsals.
What we call “Week Zero” was for the actors playing The Four Seasons to meet and separately learn the famous music and choreography of the show before pairing them together to create the setting for our Four Seasons. This week is really our opportunity to become people and actors and to become our own group. The following week the whole troupe got together and we spent the first two and a half days learning the music and mixing our voices. Every voice you hear on our show is 100% live.
In the days and weeks that followed, we had costume fittings, cleaning calls, and my favorite part of any rehearsal process: a read. This is the moment when you sit down, listen to the text, and watch the characters lift off the page and enter the room from start to finish. We blocked the show with our director in chronological order, which is very helpful in understanding the story. Their story is worth telling over and over again and I hope it will continue to live on alongside their immortal music.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have the chance to see our show somewhere in the UK over the next 18 months!
The Jersey Boys are on tour in the UK and Ireland, starting from the New Wimbledon Theater on November 24. Find full dates and locations here
Photo: Darren Bell