March 3, 2008

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Andrew Rannells!

March 3rd, 2008

By West Coast Correspondent Cathi Aradi

After seven weeks without a Jersey Boys fix, San Francisco fans were thrilled to see the holiday cast come into town in late November. Once again, the show played to sellout crowds, many of whom have seen the show numerous times. The fan base in the City-by-the-Bay is tremendous, and JB Blog is happy to present a series of interviews with the (then) “new kids in town.” Our first interview was with the wonderfully engaging Andrew Rannells who has brought his own unique take on Bob Gaudio to the stage—to rave reviews I might add. Although his youthful appearance might indicate otherwise, Andrew is a veteran with Broadway experience under his belt, and that maturity shows in the quiet strength he conveys as the Season who was not “into the drama.” (NOTE: Since Jersey Boys closed in San Francisco, Andrew has joined the national touring company, and will be delighting audiences all over America for the next year! As these interviews are presented after the show closed at the Curran Theater, some of the content has been updated/edited.)

JBB: You’re a long way from Nebraska, performing on both coasts and in regional theaters around the country. How does your family feel about the success you’ve achieved?

AR: My family has been extremely supportive of me. I moved to New York in 1997 after I graduated from high school, and ever since they have all been so great about coming to see me and staying involved in whatever I have been doing. Obviously, they were all thrilled at my playing Link in Hairspray on Broadway, but even prior to that, any regional jobs I might have had, they were always there for me. And they will all get a chance to see Jersey Boys in various cities this next year.

JBB: Your background includes substantial work as a voice-over artist. How did that come about?

AR: Voice-overs have always been something I have loved to do. I started doing a series for Disney when I was 15 called The Street Sharks. There I got to work with two wonderful mentors, Marsha Goodman and Pam Carter, who kept me working for years in animation. In 2000 I got the opportunity to start working with 4Kids Entertainment who produce Pokemon and Yugioh and began a 4-year relationship with them that included acting in and directing several animated series on Fox and the WB. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to sustain a career in voice-overs that now includes commercials and audio books.

JBB: What is a typical show day like for you—including preparation?

AR: On a typical show day I generally lay pretty low. I go to the gym, and I try to be conscious of what I eat. Once the show opened (in San Francisco), and I felt like maybe I had a handle on what I was doing, I had the chance to check out San Francisco more which was great. I am looking forward to exploring some new cities this year while on tour.

JBB: What do you like to do on your day off?

AR: Days off I really try to take advantage of wherever I am. I want to make sure I have a sense of whatever city I am working in so it doesn’t all pass by in a blur of hotels and dressing rooms. And sleep is great as well.

JBB: You do seven or eight shows a week. How do you keep your character fresh, particularly when doing two shows on the same day?

AR: Doing eight shows a week is a challenge, but so much changes naturally day to day, on stage, off stage, the audience is different, your mood is different, it is easy to keep it fresh as long as you are present in what you are doing.

JBB: Given that you have to spend so much time in rehearsals and on-stage with the other actors, is alone time or time away from the show important?

AR: You definitely need time away from the show and your cast, just time to decompress. It is too easy to get overwhelmed with work if you don’t consciously take some time away. That said, I love hanging out with these folks, and when we are out together, generally the show isn’t even mentioned. It’s a great group.

JBB: What kind of input have you had from Bob Gaudio or the other actors portraying him in the show?

AR: I have had very limited interaction with Bob Gaudio, but what I did observe was a great stillness and confidence that I hope to include in my performance. I never discussed it with any other actor playing Bob, but I think Marshall (Brickman) and Rick (Elice) wrote such a solid script that the dialogue really does a lot of the work for you. I just try to remember that he is a real person…so I just try to act like a real person.

JBB: With several companies of Jersey Boys currently performing, how do you make your Bob Gaudio your own—or unique?

AR: My Bob will be different simply because I am my own person. Drew (Gehling), Dan (Reichard), and Erich (Bergen) have all approached this role from their own angle based on their lives and experience, and so each of us will just be naturally different. You have four different actors, so you will have four different performances, that’s part of the excitement of theater for me.

JBB: What has been the biggest surprise about Jersey Boys so far?

AR: The fans of the show and the audience reaction have been the biggest surprise so far. It’s pure joy on that stage, and you can feel the audience taking that in and appreciating it. It is a similar feeling to doing the finale of Hairspray. The audience loves it and everyone walks away smiling. It’s a great feeling.

JBB: Where would you like your career to go after you leave Jersey Boys (not for quite awhile, we hope!)?

AR: I want to keep acting for as long as I can. I have a great time doing this and it’s what I have always wanted to do, so as long as I can work and I am still having fun I will continue. Of course I am excited to get back home to New York, but I am really looking forward to this next year abroad.

We would like to extend our appreciation to the amazing Andrew Rannells and to JBB West Coast Correspondent Cathi Aradi for this terrific interview!


  1. Nice profile of Andrew, Cathi. I’ve never seen him as Bob, but just yesterday, my friend Gary Neuberg saw him in two shows. Quoting Gary’s post from the Forum, “The standout feature of both shows was clearly Andrew Rannells who plays Bob Gaudio. He just had the best facial expressions and he really engaged the audience.”

    I also like his attitude of exploring each city he’s in once he gets his bearings. He says, “Days off I really try to take advantage of wherever I am. I want to make sure I have a sense of whatever city I am working in so it doesn’t all pass by in a blur of hotels and dressing rooms.” Speaking from experience (albeit in a far different profession), I know Andrew will soon have friends and contacts all over the country who could serve him well later in his career and life.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — March 3, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  2. Great interview, Cathi. This guy is going places and I just love seeing him onstage. He is a great addition to the JB family and you can rest assured that we will follow him long after he leaves.

    Comment by Gary — March 3, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

  3. Cathi: Your interview captured Andrew’s personality to a T. All those performances we saw at The Curran and he was always gracious to us at The Stage Door. What a boat load of talent. I agree with Gary. Destiny awaits!!

    Comment by LindaL — March 3, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

  4. Thanks for the nice comments, guys. Andrew really is a gem. He’s so gracious, and wonderfully accommodating and loyal to his fans. So talented. Wow! I look forward to following his career for years.

    Comment by Cathi A — March 3, 2008 @ 11:10 pm

  5. What a great interview Cathi. I saw Andrew twice in SF and am looking forward to seeing him with the tour in Minneapolis. He is a fantastic Bob!

    Comment by Krystal — March 4, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  6. Cathi,

    Great interview! I had the pleasure of seeing Andrew with you in SF and also in Tampa with Helen. He is a great performer and does a wonderful Bob Gaudio. I also loved having the opportunity to meet him after both shows.

    Congratulations, Cathi! IE

    Comment by irene eizen — March 4, 2008 @ 9:32 pm

  7. Our family was in Minneapolis and saw Andrew in the Saturday matinee show of “Jersey Boys” on March 22. He was GREAT! As Omahans we were especially proud of him. With Andrew in the cast as Bob Crewe, a major role, why can’t the show come to the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, Nebraska. It is by far much prettier and larger than the Minneapolis Orpheum. Keep up the great work Andrew we are very proud of you.

    Comment by Sindie — March 27, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  8. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE ANDREW RANNELLS.He inspire me soo much but I think I have to wait until I finish my studies until I can meet him.Words can not explain how desperate I am to see him.I think He is a great voice actor and an even greater person!!

    Comment by Najat — April 2, 2008 @ 5:39 am

  9. Andrew Rannells has always been my number one celebrity crush!!
    I think he has an excellent smile!! wooh! and is very talented!!
    He has a great personality and I am waiting for the opportunity to meet him someday (I’m 14 LOL)
    I’ll be suppoorting him forever!!!!

    Comment by Najat — June 28, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  10. Andrew Rannells- WOW! WOW! My biggest celebrity crush is Matt Damon- but after seeing this production, in Cleveland, Matt has some SERIOUS competition. Not only is Andrew SUPER handsome, what a great actor/singer. I couldn’t get enough. In fact, I’m looking for tickets to attend a second time before the how leaves town. I will see any production he is in in the future. Thanks for a great show!

    Comment by Gina — July 1, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

  11. I have seen Andrew as Bob Gaudio like 5 times now in Toronto(Toronto Centre for the Arts).I must say that after every show I feel the same way. I really love the way he performs Oh What a Night and his breakthrough song as a member of “the Lovers”. He is awesome!! Great show!!

    Comment by Rene — September 8, 2008 @ 5:23 am

  12. As an employee at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, I’m lucky enough to get to know the Jersey Boys and see the show a few times. Andrew is spectacular as Bob Gaudio – his ability to transform during the course of the play from a gawky teenager to a mature, confident man is magnificent. Not only is he extremely talented, and attractive, he has a charisma which constantly draws your eyes to him on stage. On top of it all, he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. We’ll be really sad to see him leave Toronto, but I’m looking forward to seeing great things from him in the future!

    Comment by jerseygirl — September 15, 2008 @ 12:20 am

  13. I had the pleasure to see Andrew in Cincinnati TWICE and drove with a friend to see Jersey Boys TWICE in Cleveland. The play captures my heart and soul! Andrew did as well! He has amazing stage presence – and he makes you feel like he’s directing every word to you personally – (didn’t hurt I was center stage first and second row for all performes)… I didn’t have the pleausre to ever meet him – but everything I have read, interviews, videos confirm he’s a great guy as well. I wish the cast and crew nothing but continued success. I play all the Jersey Boys songs in my Ipod daily! Come back to Cincinnati soon! :)

    Comment by Debbie — September 23, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

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