June 7, 2007

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Christian Hoff!

June 7th, 2007

Christian Hoff

Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff has had quite the year! In addition to winning a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for JB, he also is now in the Guinness Book of Records for giving voices to 241 characters in the audiobook Tell Me How You Love the Picture, and he guest starred in “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.”

During my NYC trip last month, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and chat with Christian before his Saturday evening performance on May 5. Christian reflected on the past year since winning the Tony; his most memorable experiences; what advice he would give a future Jersey Boy; and what he has discovered about himself since playing the role of Tommy DeVito.

JBB: Christian, last time we chatted was right after the Tonys. You’ve had an amazing year following your big Tony win with your audiobook, your “Law & Order” guest starring role, and so much more. What’s been happening and how’s everything been going?

CH: I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since the Tonys, and the show keeps building up steam. Here we are in a new Tony season and we are still at the top of our game.

The buzz about the show and our place in this existing season as well—is still on top. It feels wonderful to be a part of something that has lived on and will continue to live on long after our initial success. That’s the best part about being a Jersey Boy—it’s sort of a lifelong commitment.

We’ve invested so much of ourselves into this show. We’re in our second year now—and you can’t take away the fact that it’s going to be something that goes on and on, even beyond us—into other companies, even other countries. It feels pretty cool to have created something bigger than we imagined.

JBB: Out of all the things that have happened since the Tonys, is there an event or an experience that stands out as most memorable to you?

CH: We have had some great experiences. The one that stands out to me is performing in Times Square for “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” There were hundreds of thousands of people in Times Square, as well as the millions who were watching us across the world. To do what we do for that many people was very special.

Every show is special for me as well. I know that there are over 1,300 people out there. Some are seeing it for the first time, some for the tenth time. The thing about live theatre is that you get to do it more than once, maybe even over 650 times like we have. It’s a privilege. Our performances do not live on in film; they are etched in people’s memories. We have to relive it so the audience can have a new memory of it. That’s why people can come to see a great performance or great production again and again. There’s something sort of addictive about an entertainment experience where there’s this much life and this much heart and soul poured out in a two-hour period. Both the audience and the actors thrive on it.

JBB: With new companies popping up in the near future, many actors dream of being in the cast of Jersey Boys. Do you have any advice for an actor who would like to play Tommy DeVito or one of the other Four Seasons?

CH: Well, here is an example of something that’s happened: Travis Cloer, who is our newest Frankie cover, saw us on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2005 in Georgia, watching TV, and he said, ‘That’s something I want to do.’ He set his mind on it, he learned the songs, saw the show and auditioned, auditioned and auditioned for it, and here he is. He played Frankie last week for the first time.

He said to me, ‘You know what, this is a dream come true. It’s only a two year-old dream, but here I am, I was in Georgia, watchin’ TV and low and behold, here I am two years later doing what I set out to do.’ So, dreams can come true.

Basically, I have 31 years as an actor behind me and that has allowed me to deliver what I do now. So, no matter what you’re doing, enjoy the process and give it your all. Even if you know in your mind that this is a small production, or it’s not the role that really shows off your talent, or anything like that—you need to let go of that and invest your heart and soul into what you’re doing, every time.

Keep working on your skill and diversify. The whole reason I can sing, dance, act, play guitar, and speak with the audience all at the same time… I had to do one of those five things for a while on their own to be able then to put them together. It’s sort of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. You have to start by doing things one at a time.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Remember, we’re professionals (he chuckles). It’s a craft and a trade, in spite of how the media represents instant stardom like on “American Idol.” In order to do what we do and sustain it, you have to have the chops.

JBB: You created the Tommy DeVito role back at La Jolla Playhouse nearly three years ago. Since playing Tommy, is there anything that you’ve discovered about yourself that you didn’t know before?

CH: Since playing Tommy DeVito, I’ve discovered that I too have a persevering spirit that is willing to go the distance. If a door is shut in your face, you have to figure out how to find a different way in. You must have faith and a will to succeed.

I believe that real success, like all things comes from God. He has given me a hunger to keep working for it, for His glory. You must be hungry for it deep down inside. Otherwise, you’re not going to care enough to keep it once you get it. Without life experience to realize what you’re hungry for, nothing can be truly fulfilling.

Thank you so much to Christian Hoff for taking the time for this insightful and amazing interview! His perseverance, hard work, and faith over the years, in addition to his amazing talent are extraordinary! All the best to Christian as he continues to thrill audiences in his Tommy DeVito role, and in his future endeavors!


  1. I love his very strong faith in God and how it never waivers. Does anyone know officially if he’s Catholic? It seems like he is. It’s really pleasing to see Catholics in a Broadway hit. They bring hope to people who think that theater is going directly in the gutter.

    I’m a little surprised he didn’t talk about his new baby. We all remember his glow when talking about it during his Tony acceptance speech.

    Comment by Lauren — June 7, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

  2. Aaww…I love reading Christian Hoff interviews. He sounds like such a wonderful, down to earth man. I recently saw JB again on May 15th and it amazes me to no end how Mr. Hoff just takes control of the stage as Tommy DeVito. It’s sort of hard to take your eyes off him. I wish him continued success.

    Comment by P.F. — June 7, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

  3. I’ve had the privilege of meeting the cast and seeing Jersey Boys twice. Yes, I enjoyed both shows immensely, but as good as the replacements are, I missed Christian’s one of a kind portrayal of Tommy DeVito when he was out on a much deserved vacation. He acts the role, he sings the role, he dances and even struts the role . . . as he transforms himself into a memorable character. Afterwards, at the stage door, that same fire comes across in the geniune person that he is. I extend much appreciation for your dedication and loyalty to your family, faith, and fans.

    Comment by LuluThompson — June 7, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

  4. I met Christian a few months back and he’s as nice off stage as he could be. He also was with his wife and baby , who are both beautiful.

    Comment by THEA — August 28, 2007 @ 8:56 am

  5. Thea, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Christian a good number of times, and I’m still astounded how the bossiness of Tommy onstage transforms into the smiling, humble Christian offstage. I don’t know when I’ve met a nicer human being, and that hasn’t changed since our first meeting. When and if he leaves the cast, paraphrasing Dorothy to the Scarecrow, “Christian, I think I’m gonna miss you most of all!”

    Comment by Howard Tucker — August 28, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

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