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Jersey Boys - Season Option

This Tony-winning rags-to-riches story is just too good to be true!

Jersey Boys Tour Star Nicolas Dromard on Four Seasons Make-Out Music and Getting His Dream Role

Earlier this year, as Nicolas Dromard was ending his Broadway run as Bert in Mary Poppins, he revealed a dream role in an interview with Tommy DeVito, the charismatic, trouble-making founder of the Four Seasons, in Jersey Boys. Imagine our surprise when the Canadian actor, a former Fiyero in Wicked, was announced as the latest renegade in the smash hit musical's national tour! Below, Dromard talks about landing his coveted role, making audiences pine for the make-out sessions of their youth and having fun getting in touch with his dark side.

Congratulations on winning your dream role of Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys! What happened—did you Secret this?
I just sent it out to the universe and it happened! Mary Poppins closed, and I started taking guitar classes because I wanted to audition for Once. All of a sudden, my agent told me that Jersey Boys was looking for a Tommy on tour and I needed to be able to play guitar. After five rounds, I auditioned for [director] Des McAnuff, [choreographer] Sergio Trujillo and the producers. I was like, OK, this is a pretty big deal! Later that day, my agent called and said, ‘Can I speak to the next Tommy DeVito on tour, please?’

And almost right away, you got to perform in your hometown of Ottawa. How did that feel?
I was so excited, because I had never performed professionally in my hometown. It was so special to do that.

You’ve mostly played squeaky-clean roles, so how does it feel to take on this tough guy?
It’s so much fun because it is so different. I get to really focus on my acting skills. It’s funny, some friends who came to see the show in Ottawa said, “Yeah, you play a bad guy, but we can see the squeaky-clean, nice Nicolas is still there.” I’m having a great time. 

Does it feel like you're exercising new muscles with this role?
Yeah, totally. Especially with the tight harmonies of the Four Seasons’ music. Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli had such a huge part in the creation of [this show]. Between the acting, singing, playing guitar and the choreography—all those motor skills going at once—it’s the hardest show I’ve done.

What is your Tommy like?
I add a little charm to him; I don’t know if he was really as charming. He’s very tongue-in-cheek. There’s sort of an optimism to the character. He’s always saying, "It’ll be fine," even though it’s really him denying that he’s in trouble. I give him a little smile and a little light behind his eyes; that I share with him.

What’s the best part about being in Jersey Boys?
Being able to sing this music, but the show wouldn’t be what it is without the book [by Tony nominees Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice]. It’s not a jukebox musical: It’s an amazing play with music. You have this incredible rags-to-riches story, which is hard to believe but, incredily, it’s true. Then you have all these amazing songs that are performed in the style of a concert. All of that put together is a magical experience.

Is there a song from the show that stays with you?
I love the song “Beggin.’” It comes right before this intense, 12-minute scene where the guys hash it out. We’re playing our guitars, we’re dancing, and the tension is building before this huge blowout. I just love letting that song fuel the following scene.

How would you describe the message of the show?
People say it’s the story of the Four Seasons, but it’s much more than that. It’s a story about perseverance, forgiveness and the iron bond of people who grow up together.

Jersey Boys really takes audience members back in time. What kind of reactions do you get?
It’s like we’re rock stars. For people who grew up with this music, we’re bringing them back to moments in their childhood. During “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” we see people looking at each other and saying, ‘Remember when we made out to this in the car?’ At the end of the Big Three—“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like A Man”—we get a standing ovation. Because the show is constructed so well, it’s this huge progression that builds and it brings the audience up on their feet mid-show.

Well, let’s end this the way we did last time. What role would you like to play next? Maybe it’ll happen!
Hmm, well, I’d like to win the lottery! [Laughs.] I would love to originate a role on Broadway and develop a new musical from the ground up. I love the music of Once, so I’d love to do that. But I think at this point in my career, my next goal would be to create a new role on Broadway.

See Nicolas Dromard in Jersey Boys at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts from June 24 through July 13.

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