Jersey Boys at Regent Theatre, Melbourne
Jersey Boys has been a hit so far in Sydney and Brisbane and lucky Melbourne, you are next! Thomas McGuane answered all of Mich's questions ahead of the Melbourne opening...make sure to read below and to get your tickets early for this one!!
Firstly, congratulations on landing your first professional role. How does it feel to be starting your career with such a hugely well known and popular musical?
Thank you! And thanks for inviting me for a chat!
It feels amazing to be a part of this legacy. This show has such a great reputation, and although that felt like a lot of pressure initially, having to recreate such a perfected and nuanced piece of theatre, that reputation has turned into such a driving force for me, because I know that when I step onto that stage, the script, the characters, the music, the costumes, the lighting, everything is doing the work for me and I get to tell a different audience, every night, this incredible story.
How did you feel when you got the call saying you got the job?
I remember is so vividly. I was rehearsing Drowsy Chaperone, which was our final production for the end of third year at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), and I had a missed call on my phone and attached was a voice mail from the casting director of Jersey Boys. Unapologetically, I ran out of the rehearsal room, found a hallway with no one, made the call, and after hearing the words ‘we’d like to offer you the role of Bob Gaudio’, I ran from end to end of that hallway countless times till I just couldn’t run anymore. I was so happy and so proud of myself, and so grateful and honoured that they would offer a not even graduated, young actor to play this incredible character on the Australian Stage. It was truly a dream come true.
It seems appropriate that you play Bob Gaudio as he was the youngest of the four band members. What have you learnt about him during the rehearsal process and what do you feel that you personally can bring to the role?
You know, I feel we are very similar and that’s been great to learn throughout the rehearsal period. He is incredibly intellectual and, from the way that the dialogue is written, and what he says and what is said about him, he really is a musical genius, and I say is because he is still alive today. However, the exciting part about him, although he is intellectual and reserved, there is a desire for progress, always moving forward, always ‘looking ahead’ as he says in the show. And that three dimensional element has really been fun to discover and play with every night.
Some of the other members of the band playing with you were in the previous Australian run of Jersey Boys although not necessarily playing the same roles. Have they been able to provide any insight into the characters or help the rest of the team in finding their way around this show?
There is a saying that you never tell another actor how to act, and in that sense, those who have done the show haven’t never necessarily told me who he is. However what’s been great is discovering in the first weeks of rehearsal, who he is, based on how those actors, who know the show well, treated by character in scenes. It’s a real game of hierarchy when it comes to these four guys, and that can only be explored through reading and performing the scenes. So, they helped on a way. But to answer the question properly, the American creatives, Richard Hester, Danny Austin and Des McAnuff, who have done the show since it’s inception, know so much about these guys, both the people on the page and in real life, that they are basically a walking-talking encyclopaedia of Jersey Boys knowledge.
What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process?
Learning vocal parts and harmonies has always been my favourite thing to do and that is no different to my experience with this show. The music is infectious and the harmony’s are clean, precise and powerful, so, naturally, it was great to be a part of that sound, and still is.
Guadio’s credits include writing many of the band’s hits – do you have a favourite song that you perform? What is about that song that makes it special?
Bob Gaudio’s first song in the show is Cry For Me, and the interesting thing about this song is that it was a B-Side track. It was never really featured on a record. But it’s such a great song, and the moment in the show where it is sung great such a great feeling night after night, because it’s the first time that Four Seasons’ sound is heard. And the audience get to relish in that discovery as much as the characters do.
Did you see the original version of Jersey boys when it was here in 2009? (You would have been quite young!) What do you think this revival of Jersey Boys will bring to Melbourne audiences and what sort of audiences do you think it will appeal to?
Unfortunately, I never got to see it the last time it was in Australia. Admittedly I was quite young at the time (I think about 13). Well what you get with this show, which you don’t see much anymore, is an All-Australian cast, which is so exciting for our industry. Also this production still brings heart and soul to its audiences. I love the influence it still has on even today’s modern standards of what it is to be human. Our flaws, our strong suits, determination, grit, what it is to have and reach a dream, where we place trust, and how we perceive power, and more specifically, how much power women had/have in what was regrettably a mans world.
Why is this show important to see?
It’s music history in a musical. The story of four guys who make it big and fall spectacularly. And as mentioned before, this story is a warts-and-all exposé of what it is to be human. Also, put simply, it’s just a terrific piece of theatre. It’s book is written so well, the pace of the show is profound, the music is sensational and timeless, the costumes and choreography are wicked and the harmonies are crisp and powerful. It’s basically a Rock Concert.
What do you think is something that you will take away from this show and from Bob long after closing night?
Bob’s instinct to always look for more and more, to improve and progress and never stop learning is something that I will never let go of. It’s incredibly inspiring and something I will undoubtedly use to fuel my life and my career as a performer. But I’ll also never forget the incredible company I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with on and off, and all I’ve learnt from observing them and their abilities and how they share and execute their craft will always remain a highlight.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Finding Neverland on Broadway
Dream role to perform?
Evan Hanson - Dear Evan Hanson
Plays or musicals?
Both are incredibly valuable to me as a creative. Can’t choose
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
Nutrition and fitness
What’s next for you after this show?
Who knows!? That’s the beautiful life of an actor!
Melbourne, make sure to get your tickets early by clicking here
Want to read more about Jersey Boys? Read our interview with Ryan Gonzalez here