September 3, 2008

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With J. Robert Spencer!

September 3rd, 2008

Bobby Spencer

As of September 14, 2008, J. Robert Spencer will be ending his amazing run as Nick Massi in Jersey Boys. Last month, I had the pleasure of speaking to Bobby on the phone as he was on his way to Brooklyn to oversee the filming of “Heterosexuals,” a film that he is starring in, as well as producing.

Bobby reflects on playing the role of Nick Massi from the early days at La Jolla Playhouse, his spectacular Broadway run, his incredible upcoming projects, and what he will be taking with him as he leaves the role of Nick Massi.

JBB: Bobby, it’s been a full four years since you were creating the role of Nick Massi at La Jolla Playhouse. Back in 2004, as you and your castmates were rehearsing for the debut of Jersey Boys, did you have any inclination that Jersey Boys and your portrayal of Nick Massi would be such an extraordinary Broadway phenomenon?

BS: I knew it was gonna be great, but I truly didn’t realize the magnitude we would have on the industry. That’s been so wonderful.

JBB: What do you think you will miss most about starring as Nick?

BS: The moments onstage with my brothers and sisters of Jersey Boys.

JBB: You have so much news to share as you leave Jersey Boys. What’s on your horizon?

BS: Well, first I wanted to let everyone know that my wife and I are expecting a baby girl around November 1st and we’re really excited about that!

Photos 1-3 courtesy of

JBB: Wonderful news! Congratulations to you & Jenny Lynn!

BS: Thank you!

JBB: What’s been happening with “Farm Girl in New York”?

BS: Big news with the film! We have a worldwide distribution deal with Anywhere Road Films. Come November, it will be available to everyone!

JBB: That’s great news, Bobby—so many of us are waiting to see FGINY for the first time– I can’t wait!

JBB: We’ve been hearing some news about you being one of the headliners in a holiday concert that’s being recorded in Boston next month. What can you tell us about “Joyful Noise”?

BS: “Joyful Noise: Handel’s Messiah Rocks” is going to be an amazing experience. I will be performing with Tony Award winner LaChanze from The Color Purple. We will be performing with a heavy metal band, members of the
Boston Pops and the choir from the University of Massachusetts. This concert will feature Handel’s Messiah as it’s never been heard or seen before. We start rehearsals on September 2 in the city, then on September 15, we’ll begin rehearsals in Boston, and the concert date is September 21 at the Majestic Theatre. The concert will be filmed for a PBS special to be aired during the holidays.

JBB: Sounds like a spectacular concert, Bobby! Following “Joyful Noise,” will you get a brief break before starring in “Next to Normal”?

BS: Well, right after the concert, I’ll be heading off to my old college, Shenandoah University, where I will be receiving an honorary alumni award. I’m hoping to talk to students, hear their stories, and I hope to inspire them, too.

JBB: Congratulations on the award! Then, you’re off to Washington DC to star in “Next to Normal”! It sounds like this is an amazing opportunity for you and it will be a major departure from your role as Nick.

BS: We’ll be rehearsing in the city, then we’ll rehearse in DC beginning November 10. The show opens on November 21 and plays through mid January.

I’m very optimistic about “Next to Normal.” This piece is completely original—it’s emotional, heartbreaking, uplifting, and chaotic. It’s going to be an amazing piece of theatre—it’s not full of fluff. I think audiences want to be challenged. It is an emotional journey with a tremendous cast with music by Tom Kitt and a book by Brian Yorkey, and it’s directed by Michael Greif, who’s a fantastic director–one of the best.

I play “Dan,” the husband and father, and it’s exactly the role I need to be doing after playing Nick Massi. Hey, I hope you and Dale can make it to DC to see it!

JBB: Bobby, that trip is in the planning stages!

JBB: Wow! You have so much happening in the coming months, but that’s not all. Tell us about your new film, “Heterosexuals.”

BS: My production company, 7 Spencer Productions, has been shooting the film since July 23rd–it’s a romantic dramedy. It’s a great film with great actors involved in this project and a great group of independent filmmakers! The film is directed and written by my good friend of 15 years, Mr. Robert McCaskill.

I believed SO much in the script that I went out and raised under a million and I am now considered Executive Producer/Producer/Actor of “Heterosexuals.” Check out information on “Heterosexuals” on the Internet Movie Database website.

JBB: What’s the film about?

BS: It’s about three different couples, dealing with monogamy, infidelity, and so many other issues. I play Larry, a Wall Street executive who got into trouble and now he’s stuck painting houses. Larry is going through a midlife crisis with a failing marriage.

When the camera was rolling, I was both an actor and producer…So, as an actor, I had to do a lot of prep time for this guy so he could be as organic as possible…yet when they yelled “CUT,” I had to get back into producer mode and make sure we were on schedule and that we were going to make our day. As an actor, I really had to reach down in my gut—it’s been a tremendous ride.

JBB: So everything is going right on schedule with the film?

BS: Everything is going smoothly. This film has a New York vibe—similar to a Woody Allen/Marshall Brickman type of film. It has great dialogue! We are so blessed by the actors who are in this film: Natasha Lyonne, Ashley Williams, Tovah Feldshuh, and Michael Izquierdo– just to name a few.

Susie, I wish you were here right now, I’m driving into Brooklyn and they’re in the middle of filming right now—it’s awesome! I can see the lights from the set from all the way down the street!

We wrap Sunday the 24th. The film will take about another year to get finalized. In the meantime, we’ll be seeking distribution.

JBB: As you are finishing your amazing journey portraying Nick Massi on Broadway, what are you taking with you?

BS: Great question! Of course, I’ll be taking lots of memories with me. You know, the original Broadway cast and the actors who later joined the cast—we’re all a family. I appreciate all of the fans for all of their love and support—they’re part of the family, too. I’m also taking with me a lot of growth, discipline, and love. I owe the show everything—nothing that is coming up for me could have happened without the show.

But all that said and done, I guess what it really comes down to is that I am one of the originals in the biggest phenomenon in years. And how many guys get lucky enough to say that?

So, you ask what am I taking with me???? Well…I’m taking Nicky! Always and forever!

They ask us what have been some of the high points of Jersey Boys Blog. This interview was up there as one of them! Talking to Bobby Spencer is always a treat, but listening to his reflections on originating the role of Nick Massi and the Jersey Boys phenomenon, along with his upcoming amazing performances on stage and in film, was truly a joy!

Thank you to Bobby Spencer for this wonderful and insightful interview! Although we will never, ever forget him in his role of Nick Massi, we are looking so forward to his upcoming endeavors!


  1. Bobby, just as you were beginning “Jersey Boys”, you posted your three P’s for success on your website that have helped you achieve success: persistence, patience, and prayer. I noted two others that you demonstrated with every performance: preparation and passion.

    At the Four Seasons street naming in April, Mrs. Margie Massi (Nick’s wife) and Robert Massi (Nick’s son) could not have spoken more highly of you. They were very honored that you were chosen to represent Nick, and you made them proud.

    Finally, congratulations on your casting of “Heterosexuals”. What a coup it was to get Natasha Lyonne. She starred in one of my all time favorite comedies “The Slums of Beverly Hills” with Alan Arkin and Marisa Tomei (this is the one Marisa for which Marisa should have won her Oscar rather than MCV). Natasha was so talented in the lead role.

    All the best, Bobby. You’ve been a real delight on stage and at the stage door.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — September 3, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

  2. Gonna miss ya Ringo :)

    All the best to you Mr. Spencer, I loved watching you play “Nick”

    Congratulations!! Jody

    Comment by Jody Cardillo — September 3, 2008 @ 10:53 pm

  3. From the very beginning, Bobby always looked like he enjoyed his role onstage as Nick Massi. He greeted fans with that same enthusiasm. His portrayal of a character who could have easily been overshadowed was poignant. His subtle mannerisms and extraordinary acting & musical talent made his character memorable throughout the play, and particularly in the long sit-down scene. Bobby, thank you for spending time with JB fans at the stagedoor and at so many events over the past couple of years. God bless your growing family. Good luck in your future endeavors…it seems you have quite a few lined up!

    Comment by LuluThompson — September 3, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  4. Bobby,
    Congrats on all the exciting projects you have ahead of you. They sound great. How do you do it – being busy with all this and spending time with your family? Wow!

    I’m SO GLAD to hear about Farm Girl. I missed it when it was here and very much look forward to its release.

    Thank you for always being so approachable and courteous, not to mention always with your humor. Whenever I talked with you, you were always attentive and friendly and it means a lot. You truly played a wonderful Nick Massi and the memories will be forever.

    You’re a very talented man and have so much accolades in your future. See you with your new prospects!

    Congrats and thank you!

    Bright Blessings!

    Comment by Dina Chirico — September 4, 2008 @ 7:02 am

  5. Bobby,
    I also want to say as Lulu did ,when you are on the stage at The August Wilson Theatre your smile lights up the theatre.When you sing anywhere Central park, The US. Open, You always brighten up everything and everyone.You are one of a kind and will be missed . I wish you all the best. We will be seeing you around in many different projects. Thank You for being so great these last 4 years. Much happiness to you and your family. Thea

    Comment by THEA — September 4, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

  6. Bobby,

    You are a wonderful actor – a great talent. You will be missed in Jersey Boys. I always loved how you winked at me from the stage when I sat in A2, A4 and any other close up seat. I loved how you always asked me about Samantha, my grandaughter.

    I wish you only the greatest success in your future – professionally and personally.

    Please keep all of us who adore you as a person and as a performer
    posted “as you continue to climb the ladder of success.”


    Comment by irene eizen — September 4, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

  7. Dear Bobby,

    You will be greatly missed as the original “Nick Massi.” But, you have so much ahead of you and I predict much success in all that you do!

    It was a pleasure to meet you at the stage door a number of times–thanks for always being so nice.

    Best of luck to you and your wife and congratulations on your new little one!

    God Bless.

    Dina F.

    Comment by Dina F. — September 5, 2008 @ 12:23 am

  8. Hi Bobby,

    All I an say is many many congrats on everything…films, FGNY, the award, new show with Michael Greif(a high school school mate of my sister),the music show, and the new baby. Enjoy everything & we only wish you all the best after Jersey Boys in everything you do. Can’t wait to see, hear & find out how everything goes.

    Always Jersey Boys fans,
    Stacey, Pete, Peter Jr & Diana Siringano/Michaels

    Comment by Stacey — September 5, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

  9. Bobby,

    You are a one of a kind talent, and will be greatly missed in Jersey Boys.There is no doubt that you will have continued success in all your future endeavors. Thank you for being the special person you are, both on and off the stage.


    Comment by Pamela — September 5, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

  10. Say it isn’t so!! We will miss you, “Ringo”! It has been a delight seeing your performance 3 times. You have been terrific, and I wish you the very best.

    Comment by Anne — September 5, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  11. Dear Bobby,
    You are fantastic! I look forward to seeing all of your films and theatrical performances. You are perfect to play Dan in Next to Normal – bring the show back to NYC.
    Your loyal fans knew you couldn’t stay in JB forever, but we were hoping! I’ll miss the energy you project each night as Nick. You connect with fans so completely. Backstage won’t be the same without you.
    Best of luck. I’ll be seeing you.

    Comment by L — September 6, 2008 @ 7:06 am

  12. Bobby,
    Thank you for all of the times you recognized and greeted me at the stage door. The time I will remember the most was when your eyes lit up when talking about trying to teach your son to strum the strings on your guitar. Good luck on your future projects, and make sure you keep us up-to-date on everything including the birth of your daughter!

    Comment by Beverley Micciche — September 6, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

  13. Bobby,
    I’m so sad that I won’t be there for your last JB performance. Really going to miss you but so excited about all your future projects. Please keep in touch.

    Much love to you and your growing familia.

    xo & blessings,

    Comment by Charly O'Clarit — September 8, 2008 @ 12:16 am

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