A ‘Jersey Boy’ is taking his act from the Broadway stage to Mahwah this weekend.
Jarrod Spector, who currently plays Frankie Valli in ‘Jersey Boys,’ is taking a night off from the bright lights of Broadway to perform at Ramapo College’s Berrie Center Saturday night. Spector says his show, “Minor Fall, Major Lift,” will take the audience through major turning points in his life that landed him where he is now.
“The two questions I get asked the most are ‘how’d you get the job starring in Jersey Boys’ and ‘is that your real voice’” Spector told Patch. “This show answers those questions.”
Spector said his journey to Broadway was a long one that started as a child actor. Growing up in Philadelphia, he was featured on a local weekly singing television show at the age of 5. He competed in, and won several rounds of, Ed McMahon’s Star Search, and at 9 years old, was cast as Gavroche in Les Miserables. He performed the role in a Philadelphia production of the show, and on Broadway.
At 15, Spector shot a television show pilot in LA “that was supposed to be a huge hit. When it missed, I just decided I didn’t want to do this anymore. I wanted to just be a regular guy, so that’s what I did.”
Spector graduated from high school and began studying economics at Princeton. However, at 20 years old he “really missed acting,” so he dropped out to pursue a career in theater.
Ten years later, he is known as the 21st Century’s Frankie Valli. Spector has been playing the role for five years – two in Off-Broadway productions and three on. He has met Valli and Bob Gaudio, who are executive producers of the show, many times.
“Frankie has always been very kind and generous to me,” Spector said. “And I even sang at Bob Gaudio’s daughter’s wedding. Now, that was surreal.”
Approval from the real Four Seasons aside, Spector said it is a “unique thing to have a kid from Philly who was born in 1981 telling the story of a group that became popular in the 1960’s and is probably one of the top groups of all time.” His Saturday concert will share stories of his experiences doing that, and what he had to do to prepare for the role.
“When I auditioned, I knew I had the range, but I wasn’t totally sure I could sound like Frankie, and have the stamina to keep it up for the whole show,” Spector said. After getting the role, he said he trained for 10 weeks with vocal coach Katie Agresta before taking the stage.
“As taxing a role as this is, I still enjoy it,” Spector said of his future playing Frankie. “There are still moments during performances that I feel something new, so I am happy to stay as long as I can.”
In ‘Minor Fall, Major Lift,’ Spector performs a variety of cover songs that have influenced his career, including ones from The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Bobby Darin, Chicago, Bon Jovi, Barry Manilow, and Led Zeppelin. No Four Seasons numbers will be performed, though, as a stipulation of his day job.
He says seeing the concert is a rare opportunity because he "doesn't get too many personal days off" from playing Frankie.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show range from $24-$30, with discounts available for seniors and students. Get more information about the show, and order tickets online, at the Berrie Center website.