Interview with actor Drew Seeley of “JERSEY BOYS”
Before the Super Bowl kicked off, David Sugarman talked one-on-one with Jersey Boy Drew Seeley and discussed one of the hottest shows on tour as well as more about Drew, his take on Greek Life, songwriter Bob Gaudio, the Blue Jays and more.
David: How you doing Drew?
Drew: Good, David. How are you?
David: I’m doing great, thanks. So you’re pretty early in the tour so far, just your second stop. I noticed you have quite a long trip, 18 stops. Now other than Bloomington, which is obviously the premiere destination, do you have any spots you’re looking forward to in particular? I saw you guys were having some fun today in Hershey.
Drew: Oh yeah. We went to the chocolate factory today and designed our own chocolate bars which was a fun trip, mad scientists. There are a couple of cities coming up that I’m really excited about. We’re going to Austin, Texas. I’ve never been there. That’s a great music town. Chicago for a couple weeks. All over the place. I’ve actually been with the show about four months now so I’m halfway through my run so far. It’s been good so far and we still got a lot of cities to hit.
David: Now for everyone here who may be a little unfamiliar with “JERSEY BOYS,” without giving too much away, what can you tell us to give the people here a sneak preview, a little taste?
Drew: Well it’s the story of Franki Vallie and the Four Seasons. You may not think you know a lot of their music but they had 40, 50, even more than that, hit songs over the course of their careers. They wrote a lot of songs you’ve sung since you were a kid. It’s a great show to go listen to the music and also their story is really interesting. They were involved with the mob, they had broken marriages, they went through a lot of stuff to make it to the top. I like to tell people it’s kind of like watching an episode of the Sopranos with music.
David: So you play Bob Gaudio, that’s right?
David: Bob Gaudio, a young kid, a songwriter, you’ve sort of been in that position. You’ve got quite a bit of your own music, so does that help get into that character’s shoes knowing that you’ve gone through that creative process and whatever else that entails?
Drew: Absolutely! Absolutely. The casting for this show was great because we all really connect with the people that we’re portraying, “the real guys.” I’ve been writing music since I was 13. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to put out a new single every month. So I just released one, and I’m prepping my second one for the top of February. But I mean Bob Gaudio, those are some huge shoes to fill because he’s one of the classic songwriters of all time. It’s a real honor to be able to get to play him every night on stage.
David: Were you able to work with Gaudio one-on-one?
Drew: No, I haven’t met him yet. I know he sees a show once in a while and some of the other cast members have met him. I’m hoping that he comes to check it out and I get to shake the man’s hand.
David: So we mentioned you’re song writing, and you’ve done a lot of different work. Done some film, done some TV, obviously some Broadway. You were Eric in The Little Mermaid for a while, so did “JERSEY BOYS” present any new challenges or anything you hadn’t experienced before?
Drew: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been living in L.A. for the last 10 years, in one place. You know you film a movie you’re out of town for maybe five or six weeks. But when I signed up for “JERSEY BOYS,” it’s a nine-month tour and we’re literally in a new city every week. So living out of a suitcase is something different, it’s been a challenge. Finding time to sleep and maintaining that pace and that energy after a while. You really have to plan your days. It’s a new challenge, but it was something I was up for and I’m glad I did.
David: If it makes you feel better I’d choose living in a suitcase over living in a dorm any day of the week.
Drew: Yeah I can see that.
David: Now me personally, I’m a pretty big fan of the show. I saw it once in New York and I know all the words, but you seem like you’re in a good mood and you like me, so I don’t want to ruin that with song. But something that I think is great about the show is how wide of an appeal it has. I feel like the frat boys, professors in the math building and really anyone would like it. So what do you think makes the show so that anybody can like it?
Drew: A lot of classic musicals some guys don’t want to go to because they feel like musical theatre can be a sissy thing or whatever. It’s such a man’s show. It really is for everyone. We see whole families getting to their seat and clapping and singing along together. Three generations at a time, like a grandma and her daughter and their 10-year-old. That’s probably the cutoff because there is a lot authentic jersey language in the show. People of all ages can enjoy it because the music and the story is really all about family. Everyone can relate to that because everyone has their own family issues. To see that on stage, there’s a lot of things to relate to.
David: Now I mention the frat boys and I don’t know if you were in a fraternity when you were at Central Florida, but you did play one for a little while on Glory Daze. Can we expect you to go Greek at some point? I’m just saying my street cred would go way up if I rolled up with a Jersey Boy.
Drew: How far away are you guys from the theatre? No I didn’t join a fraternity in college, I kind of wish I had. I missed out on that experience, but doing Glory Daze kind of made up for that because we were a fraternity but it also takes place in the 80s so we got to do all these crazy 80s things and wear these ridiculous costumes and just goof off for two months. That was a really, really fun job.
David: Before I let you go, you may have heard there’s a pretty big game going on this weekend. Got the Seahawks and the Patriots.
Drew: Yeah I might’ve heard about it.
David: You were born in Toronto, so did you have a favorite football team growing up?
Drew: I was more of a hockey and a baseball fan growing up. Where I lived those were the big sports. I lived in Toronto when the Blue Jays won the World Series those two years in a row. So I was a huge fan back then. Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, I’d follow along. The Maple Leafs of course, too. My heart’s still in Toronto even though I’m living in L.A. But we got the Kings, and they’ve been doing pretty well.
David: And who are you taking the Patriots and the Seahawks going back to this game?
Drew: Oh man you’re gonna turn half your audience against me no matter what I say. I can’t win.
David: If it makes you feel better, most of the people out here are rooting for the Seahawks. Not only did the Colts get beat, but people are thinking the Patriots cheated to do it.
Drew: Right, Deflategate. Who’s the underdog at this point?
David: I don’t have the spread in front of me, but I have to think it’s going be tight either way.
Drew: Well then may the best team win, I guess. I’ll say the Patriots just to take a side.
David: Ok I think you might get some boos when you come out on stage here.
Drew: Oh you see, thanks a lot.
David: When you come here in March, I’ll introduce the rest of the guys then I’ll introduce you like, “Yes, this is Drew Seeley. This is the guy I was telling you about that picked the Patriots.”
Drew: Hey, somebody’s gotta do it right.
You can check out Drew @drewseeley on Twitter, Youtube, iTunes and drewseeley.com. “JERSEY BOYS” will be performed at the IU Auditroium March 3-8 You can get tickets at www.jerseyboysinfo.com.