Jersey Boys star Jarrod Spector originated the role of ‘60s pop icon Frankie Valli in the Chicago cast of the show before making the leap to Broadway in 2008.
Spector took a summer break to star in the New York Musical Theater Festival’s Flambé Dreams, perform concerts with current and former Jersey Boys’ cast members in The Doo Wop Project and to record “Minor Fall, Major Lift,” a solo album of rock cover tunes released on Oct. 1, well timed with his return to lead-role duties at the August Wilson Theatre. The Princeton graduate and avid foodie sat down to talk with NewYork.com about his return to the show and a few more of his favorite things.
How is playing Frankie on Broadway different from other cities?
The show is the [same] anywhere but in New York, they just get the jokes and the pacing of the show. After a performance, people will come up and tell you about their memories of the Four Seasons bowling alley and some of the other references in the script, and that just doesn’t happen in other cities. It’s really special and unique.
You got to meet Frankie Valli for this part. What was that like?
I did! He’s an incredible man, and I’ve only had positive experiences with him, but I know he’d tell me if he didn’t like something. I have his phone number actually!
Have you ever used it?
I’ve only ever used it to wish him a happy birthday.
Were you familiar with the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons being cast in Jersey Boys?
I grew up listening to Motown and then got into classic rock – I think I had the same experience as the audience: you know the music and the names Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, but you don’t know the story. And at the show you realize that the music and the story are largely the same.
What’s your favorite song by Frankie Valli or the Four Seasons now?
“C’mon Marianne” is probably my favorite. I connect more with his later, darker, gutsier, more rock-based stuff and love the guitar riffs.
What are your favorite hangouts in New York when you’re offstage?
My greatest passion – even beyond singing and acting – is food. I recently went to Annisa – which was amazing. My favorite is probably (high-end Italian spot) Marea, but I also love Mamoun’s (West Village falafel restaurant). I’m also crazy about Alidoro, this little sandwich place on Sullivan Street. It’s so good.
What’s your favorite place to eat after a show?
Well, I do really love to eat, but you need a place that’s also open late. I really like Pure Thai on 51st St. and 9th Ave. – great before or after a show. I also love Totto Ramen, but it’s ALWAYS incredibly packed. Oh, and Yakitori Totto – love it, and they serve late, too.