August 26, 2007

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Daniel Reichard!

August 26th, 2007

Daniel Reichard

Saturday, August 4 was an incredible day! Following the Tech-Half’s fabulous birthday celebration with many JBB Fantastic Fans, we had the amazing opportunity to chat with Daniel Reichard following his matinee performance. Daniel talked about what a great time he has been having this summer with Jersey Boys and so many other events; the story behind his “Summer Mix Tape” concert; his wonderful memories of the cast recording experience; and how he thinks Jersey Boys and his portrayal of Bob Gaudio have evolved since the early days at La Jolla Playhouse.

JBB: Hey, Daniel, thanks so much for meeting with us again! Last time we chatted was back in May. What’s been going on with you in the last few months?

DR: Well, the Tony Awards this year was a really, really, really incredible experience! It brought back so many memories from the year before, but it was very special in a way. Because we were going to perform, the pressure was present, but we were coming back as the reigning champs, and I felt very proud of that, and we were treated so nicely by everyone at CBS and Radio City Music Hall. It felt very special. The Boys and I hosted the pre-show Tony Awards, so I presented the first Tony Award of the night and it was to Duncan Sheik, for Spring Awakening. I, myself got a little copy of it, and I just thought, ‘That is such an amazing thing that one year of my life I presented the first Tony Award of the night to the composer of the big show of the year.’ So, it’s just so exciting; we all had such a great time! We got to enjoy all of the perks of being presenters and that was really fun. So, from about 7:15-7:45, before the Tony Awards telecast, we were up on the stage. And, of course Bobby and I, as always, were making jokes and doing our shtick and just being smartasses. It was a REALLY special night!

Then, the next week, I was at “Broadway Bares,” which is a benefit for Broadway Cares, right next door at Roseland. I got to be a rotation master at the end of the show, so it’s like a Master of Ceremonies for the last part, when people do tipping at the end of the show. It was just a wild time! We ended up raising over $700,000 for Broadway Cares in that one single night. It was so much fun!

June was just nonstop! Everything was happening! You know, big events like that, and just doing the show over and over again has been a lot of fun. I love the summer; I’ve always been a summer person. My birthday’s in the summer. I loved when school was out; something happens to my personality when summer hits, and it did this year, too. I’ve been going out and having so much fun and enjoying my life, while at the same time coming every night here to Jersey Boys and giving it all I got. So, it’s been kind of an intense summer. I have my concert coming up, and that’s very exciting.

JBB: Your “Summer Mix Tape” Concert sounds like a blast! Will it feature the music you grew up with? What’s the story behind the title and how did you come up with this idea?

DR: Some of the music I grew up with; some of it is music that’s come to my ears in the past three months. Mixed tapes were a big thing—I had older siblings, and they used to make mixed tapes, and we, of course had to do everything they did. When they went to college, I was the second youngest, I used to make mixed tapes in the form of a radio show. So, I would be the disc jockey and I would have my brothers and sisters be callers and we would imitate our neighbors and people like that. Then my mother would mail them to my siblings at their colleges. And, I started thinking what my next concert was going to be. All my concerts have a theme to them that is sort of unconventional, sort of you know, a little bit off the wall. One day, I came up with the idea–what if I made a mixed tape on stage, and the mixed tape was the concert. I made the mixed tape itself. It’s a great mixed tape–it has a nice rhythm to it. You start with a big song; then you go with kind of some mellow songs; then you build it up then you bring the pace down; then you build it up again, so that it has a cool flow to it. So, that’s what the concert is like, and we’re going to tell stories being the eighth of nine children. The music is going to be everything from David Bowie to Roy Orbison to Bob Dylan to KD Lang, so it goes all over the place.

JBB Tech-Half: When you were making the mixed tapes as a kid, were you thinking, ‘Some day I will perform this on stage’?

DR: That’s a good question. There was this little performer always kind of growing inside of me. When I was younger, I was very creative, so I used to do the plays in the basement and all the kids from the neighborhood would come down. And, of course, I would always be the director, and I would always be in charge of giving everyone their parts. We’d make murder mysteries up, and other things. I had a video camera. All the neighborhood kids would go along with me, and we’d make movies in the neighborhood, and they’d always be spy movies, or Army movies, or ridiculous comedies.

Same thing with these mix tapes—I was just always wanting to create and sort of be different people. It was just something I had a lot of fun doing. I was sort of a funny little kid. Thankfully, my parents liked it; they got a kick out it.

JBB: Did this come naturally to you, or were your parents or some of your other relatives super funny or musically-inclined?

DR: My dad’s mother, Nanna, her name was Regina Reichard–she was a piano teacher for over 50 years till she was very old and an opera singer in Medina, Ohio, the town where my dad grew up. That is my only true musical connection, family-wise. But people say all the time, ‘Nanna would have loved you.’ I didn’t know her too well, because she was very old when I was younger. She was apparently very much the same thing–dominant personality, very aggressive, very obsessed with music, and had such a passion for it.

I think, if there’s anything I really have, it’s a passion for music. The girls next door, in the dressing room right over there, they laugh at me all the time. They were just saying to some guests backstage yesterday, ‘He sings before the show, he sings during intermission, he sings after the show. He’s just always singing.’ I love to sing! At this point, I’m practicing obsessively for my concert so I can remember all my words.

JBB Tech-Half: I guess if I sounded as good, I’d be singing all the time too…

DR: You’re kind! (chuckles)

JBB: You’ve probably heard this time and time again from me, but I have to hear “Cry For Me” every morning when we’re driving to work. It’s part of my morning routine—my day sucks if I don’t hear it!

DR: You’re kidding me! Thank you—that’s so cool! Put that on Jersey Boys Blog! (chuckles)

JBB Tech-Half: It’s not an exaggeration—she does it every day!

DR: The funny thing about “Cry for Me”–it’s a song that people really love listening to and in the show, it’s such an exciting moment. But you just can’t listen to the words, because the words are all about betrayal; he’s telling the girl to “eat my dust,” yet people get so uplifted by the song. It’s funny, you know, when we recorded the album, I did that song in two takes.

JBB: On a Sunday afternoon?

DR: Probably on a Thursday afternoon—it really was two takes. I was really feeling the soul of Bob Gaudio in the room. I walked right up to the mic and sang it a couple times, and that’s what’s on the album.

JBB: I keep imagining you guys in the recording studio when I hear it. It must have been an incredible experience!

DR: That was a blast. That’s one of the best memories. Bob Gaudio just came here two nights ago and we all took photos with him and the Grammy Award. After everybody left, and there was just the four of us with Bob, I looked over at him and said, “It’s really nice to see you here with that. One of the most special memories of this whole experience is the recording of the album.”

An interesting story about the album that I don’t know if many people know about: Bob worked for weeks and weeks in the studio on the album. Usually, Broadway albums are recorded all in a day and mixed in a day, and that’s it. He worked for weeks and weeks and weeks on it to make it sound as beautiful as it does.

Then, when it was ready, he brought the entire cast in, along with their friends and spouses. Got a bunch of salads and pizza, beer and wine, and fruit, and everything and invited everyone into the recording studio where we recorded the album and he turned the lights down, just barely lit, and played the album from start to finish for everybody.

We all went bizzerk—it was a great experience. Just recording the album itself and the first time we listened to it together–at the end, we were all up on our feet, cheering, screaming, and crying. This is before we were in performances–I think it was when we were in tech rehearsals. It was so exciting for everyone! I remember my friends came to the listening party and THEY got so excited! That was one of those early moments when we knew we had something special.

JBB: So, you’ve gotten so much inspiration from Bob Gaudio—not just from his past, but from what he has done today?

DR: Certainly. I find his past so inspiring, but I think maybe I find more inspiration in the fact that I know him and I’ve worked with him. The phenomenal aspect of this experience is that the fantasy of the play and the reality of our lives have really come together. The fact that we’re a part of their stories now is amazing; and they’re a part of our lives’ stories now. So, it’s really a huge kicker and a huge phenomenal experience. If there was a Jersey Boys Part 2, this would be it.

JBB Tech-Half: You’d be the Third Act?

DR: Yeah, exactly…the Third Act!

JBB: How do you think Jersey Boys has evolved since the early days in La Jolla?

DR: Well, I think certainly from La Jolla, the show had an amazing amount of spirit and heart in La Jolla that was so original and so complete. It was just hot there! It was raw; it was very raw there. The wonderful actor, David Norona, Christian, Bobby, and I–this collaboration we all had in creating this. There were a lot of tears there–with this special thing being built.

Then we came to New York and re-blocked the show and put everybody into it. Then, the production values got greater; the storytelling became more specific; every scene started having its own complicated issues within itself. The show became much more realized here in New York City.

Now, almost two years later, I feel the show is just as good as it’s ever been. I think it’s probably the best it’s ever been in some ways, because there’s such a connection that we all have now. It’s just a part of who we are. I still love the songs and everything, so in that way, it hasn’t changed much.

I feel that there’s a lot more of me in the character of Bob than there used to be. I don’t know if that’s a bad or a good thing, but that’s just the way it is. As a result of how you connect to a character, there’s a fine line between who you are and who they are. I’m not the same person up on stage that I am here, certainly at all. I feel that the show has kind of grown as far as our investment in the characters.

JBB: How have you evolved in playing the role of Bob Gaudio since the La Jolla days?

DR: I think I’m a lot more confident now than I used to be. It’s hard to do that, because you don’t want Bob to be too confident, because the whole charm of the character is that he is very shy and very reticent. The thing is, that’s the fun journey of watching Bob, at least it’s the way I’ve thought about it, is watching him become a man on stage. I think I’m a little more clear about that now and I think I understand the drama and the story. The four of us are like our own little Four Seasons. We have our own parallels in life to the story, you know, little ones, because of the nature of being in a group. But I think I understand a lot more of what’s happening in these relationships just from being in this group for two years.

Thank you so much to Daniel Reichard for this amazing interview! Wow! Chatting with Daniel about his days as a kid making videos in his parents’ basement; the mixed tapes he used send off to his siblings; his thoughts on how Jersey Boys and his portrayal of Bob Gaudio have evolved over the last few years; and his passion for singing on the concert stage was a lot of fun! We wish Daniel continued success in JB, with his incredible concert career, and in his future performances!


  1. Wow! What an awesome interview. Reading about the listening party brought tears to my eyes. Oh what a night that must have been. And Cry For Me is one of my favorite songs on the album. I love to sing along and it always makes me happy. I never really think about it being a sad song. Thank you Daniel, for sharing so much of yourself with your fans, and thank you, Susie (and tech-half) for bringing us these great peeks behind the scenes.

    Comment by Catherine — August 26, 2007 @ 10:37 am

  2. “Cry For Me” is by far my favorite song from the show, as well. The 1st time I heard it I just thought to myself, who is this guy? His voice is so pure, I just fell in love with it! Then, when I read the playbill and saw that he graduated from the University of Michigan I thought, that’s it. Like I felt a connection to him somehow since I, too, had graduated from there and taken voice lessons thru the school of music.

    What a great interview!

    Comment by Courtney — August 26, 2007 @ 10:58 am

  3. That was good! Can’t wait to read about John Lloyd Young and Christian Hoff.Thank You for interviewing The Broadway Boys!

    Comment by THEA — August 26, 2007 @ 11:00 am

  4. Daniel is so amazing. It’s wonderful to read that after several years in the role that the show still feels fresh and dynamic. I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of Daniel’s next concert. Make it soon!

    Comment by L — August 26, 2007 @ 11:33 am

  5. That was a GREAT interview!!! I got emtoional as well reading about the Listening Party. I loved everything Daniel said in this interview, from the pre-Tony’s to his Nanna to his feelings about “Cry For Me.” I also really enjoyed Daniel’s tales about his childhood and his perspective on the character of “Bob.” Thanks for sharing a wonderful interview us! That’s a really cute picture of him too.

    Comment by Lauren — August 26, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  6. This is by far one of the best interviews yet! Great pic of him too. Look at the twinkle in his eye!

    Comment by Gary — August 26, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  7. This was a really touching discussion, Daniel and Susie. It’s interesting that Nanna’s traits were passed on–as they say, genetics sometimes skips a generation. And she would indeed be very proud.

    It was also great to read a bit more about Bob Gaudio, whom I just had the pleasure of meeting last week at “Journey to Jersey Boys.” It may be a bit late, but Bob is finally getting all the recognition and praise he’s deserved for so long.

    And you, too, are getting some well-deserved acclaim, Daniel; your Mixed Tape concert was terrific and was Christmas in Black and White. And I hear Glory Daze was a remarkable experience. You have a lot of fans out there, and an awesome future awaits. All the best.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — August 26, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  8. Thank you for a terrific interview. Daniel just does a terrific rendition every time he sings “Cry For Me”. I too, love to listen to him sing it on the CD. Can’t wait to see him perform again in 2 weeks!!

    Comment by LindaL — August 26, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  9. What a great interview! I enjoyed reading EVERY word. I absolutely LOVE Daniel Reichard, you two did a great job interviewing him. And now, I feel like I know him just a little bit better because of you. Thank you for all you do to bring the Broadway cast just that much closer to us.

    Comment by Christy Holden — August 26, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

  10. What a Fantastic Interview of a Fantastic Performer by a Fantastic team of Interviewers! Great job! IE

    Comment by irene eizen — August 27, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

  11. I can only imagine how ‘raw’ things were in La Jolla when everyone knew they were sitting on top of a comet that was about to streak across the country and explode onto Broadway… and way beyond!

    The actors certainly do have their own little parallels to the characters and the Four Seasons. It’s almost like the characters have been mentors, in some ways, to the actors. There is so much brilliance in the writing. The characters evolve as do the actors.

    Bob’s character IS shy and reticent as Daniel points out; his confidence seems to come from his work and his instincts for excellence, rather than his own sense of himself- a tough nuance to portray, no doubt. The intertwining of the portrayed lives, as well as the off-stage lives, is one of the many unique qualities of this show.

    Thanks to both of you- Susie and Daniel (and Dale, too, who had a chance to interject) for bringing this, and so much more, to light in this fascinating interview. And thank you to Daniel for loving what you do SO much- it really shows!

    PS- Susie definitely wasn’t joking when she said she needs to hear “Cry for Me” each morning. Oh… and one more thing; thank you to Susie and Dale for loving what YOU do so much- that, too, REALLY shows!

    Comment by Audrey — August 27, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

  12. I agree, “Cry for me” was one of the most beautiful tunes in the show–Daniel has a beautiful voice —good luck and continued success in the future!

    Comment by Daniel Cross — September 3, 2007 @ 11:43 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment