July 17, 2007

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Jarrod Spector!

July 17th, 2007

Jarrod Spector

We’re thrilled to present Jersey Boys Blog Special Correspondent Kathryn Hanson’s interview with the multi-talented Jarrod Spector, who plays the legendary Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys’ San Francisco/Chicago Company!

KH: How did you become interested in musical theatre and acting?

JS: My parents started me with singing lessons just after I turned three years old…my mom had noticed that I had a knack for memorizing the songs in radio commercials so they thought they’d give me a shot. About three months later, I got my first job singing in a local Philly variety show called “The Al Alberts Showcase,” which gave me the chance to sing a song and tell an awfully funny joke (usually along the lines of “Why’d the golfer wear two pairs of pants? In case he got a hole in one.”) every week for the next three years. I guess you could say that’s how I got a taste for performing, despite the youth. I kept on singing, mostly on TV (“Star Search”) and variety-show type programs (Jerry Lewis Telethon), until I got my first musical theater job as Gavroche in the first National Tour (and later Broadway company) of Les Miserables when I was nine.

KH: What was the first Broadway show you ever attended and what was that like for you?

JS: The day I was cast in Les Miserables, the director gave my parents three tickets so we could go to the show that night. That was the very first show I’d ever seen…and to date, the longest I’ve ever sat through! I was young but I do remember feeling that it was larger than life and incredibly exciting. I’d auditioned for Les Miz without ever having seen it…a unique feeling to watch a show I was just about to start rehearsing. Though, again, I was only nine and it was quite a while ago.

KH: Who were your inspirations growing up as a kid?

JS: Bobby Darin. Fabulous singer and entertainer with great presence, style and sense of humor while remaining classy; just a genuinely talented guy. My parents were big fans and had me listening to him when I was an infant. Probably the last thing played on my iPod.

KH: Did you know that you would be playing Frankie for the San Francisco/Chicago Company when the national tour started? If not, how and when did you find out?

JS: I was told that, if all went as planned, there would be more companies following right on the heels of the touring company, and that I would potentially have the opportunity to be the 6-show Frankie in one of those. Then, during rehearsals and early on in the run, I was hearing rumors from all over that I might be offered the job for the next company, but they were just rumors and opinions, so I could only put so much stock into them. However, when our director, Des McAnuff, made a surprise visit to a Wednesday matinee of mine in early March, I figured the powers that be were at least considering it. I guess that show was what Des needed to see, because I got a call the following Monday from one of the producers offering me the role.

KH: Were you a fan of the Four Seasons music before Jersey Boys?

JS: Like almost everyone I know who isn’t of the baby-boomer generation, I was a fan of the Four Seasons without really knowing it. I knew of the Four Seasons and certainly the name Frankie Valli, but until I went through their albums and listened to everything I could get my hands on, I didn’t realize just how many songs I knew and loved. Now? Die-hard fan, of course!

KH: What is your favorite Four Seasons’ song that is not in the show?

JS: ‘Candy Girl’. Love the falsetto riffs in that one. And not everyone knows, but our Music Director, Ron Melrose, laced a lot of the show’s underscoring with melodies and progression from some of the other Seasons’ songs that didn’t make it into the show, including ‘Candy Girl’. ‘Grease’ is a personal favorite as well, though it’s a Frankie solo and not technically a Four Seasons song.

Thank you so much to Kathryn Hanson for conducting this terrific interview, and to the amazing Jarrod Spector for taking the time to talk about his incredible career and his journey with Jersey Boys!


  1. LOVE it! I had been waiting for a Jarrod Spector interview. This interview is so cute. It’s always nice to find that you have things in common with the stars you admire. Les Miserables, Bobby Darin, and the Four Seasons… Jarrod’s got great taste! Awesome interview, Kathryn.

    Comment by Lauren — July 18, 2007 @ 11:51 am

  2. Great interview, Kathryn and Jarrod. “Candy Girl” is also my favorite non-JB song. People tell me they hear its melody in the show, but no one recalls exactly where. I have seen JB 11 times looking for it, and haven’t heard it yet.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — July 18, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

  3. This interview is amazing, considering Jarrod is extremely busy and before each show we’ve attended, he rarely has time except to say hello before entering the Curran. He’s a class act, considering what a lengthy career he’s already had onstage, on network TV (Star Search) and on cable TV (MTV game show I can’t remember). I just remember a story where Jarrod was labeled “too good” on American Idol and his talent was an “unfair advantage” to the other contestants, otherwise he would have blown everyone out of the water.

    The progression of one of my twin sons getting to know Jarrod has been interesting as well too….. Since Jarrod is my son’s favorite actor, their meetings at the stage door, and at public appearances are valuable to his development as an actor in HS because Jarrod and cast are always willing to provide great advice regarding the ups and downs of theatre life. Even having Jarrod recognize and chat with my son whenever they see each other is priceless!!!!! He always comments and likes how my son always wears his Jersey Boys “gear” when attending shows or appearances.

    It would also be nice to see “Candy Girl” performed as part of the play, but probably there was not enough room in the script to write a storyline for it. That’s the one song from “Jersey Beat” and the Four Season’s Greatest Hits that gets the most replays on our car CD player when we’re on a long drive!

    It will be sad to see Jarrod go in Sept., but hope that we’d be able to cross paths once more, whether he remains a Jersey Boy or follows a career path to bring more success to an already stellar career at such a young age.

    Thank you so much Kathryn and Jarrod!

    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — July 18, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  4. Great interview, Kathryn. Jarrod does a terrific job as Frankie. I’ve seen him 5 times and each performance I notice he gets better and better. It’s obvious he is always striving to do improve. He is a talented singer with an amazing falsetto. I hope he keeps going, like that bunny on TV!!

    Comment by LindaL — July 18, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  5. It’s always interesting to hear about the anticipation leading up to… and the actual offer of, a primary role to an actor.

    Comment by Audrey — July 19, 2007 @ 12:52 am

  6. Great interview. As a member of that baby-boomer generation, I cannot thank Jarrod Spector enough for the emotional impact he brings to his performance in Jersey Boys. We saw him first on a Tuesday night in March in San Francisco, and I wept through his entire performance because of the way he brought the music home to all of us in the audience. It is very hard to explain what Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio’s music meant to us baby boomers, and it so wonderful that they have given the music back to us through the production of Jersey Boys, and through the brilliant hiring of Jarrod Spector. We saw him last on August 22nd with the new (excellent) crew and were blown away, as was the entire audience that Wednesday night. Thank you for your talent, your dedication, your commitment, Jarrod. We were sitting at the Spinnaker Restaurant in Sausaulito on August 23rd when a group of six older folks (like us) came in, happily discussing what a wonderful time they had the night before at Jersey Boys. You had given them a wonderful gift, too, Jarrod, you and the entire crew of Jersey Boys. San Francisco’s loss is Chicago’s gain. My family and friends wish you all the best as you move on to Chicago, and in your future career. And could you also thank Mr. Valli and Mr. Gaudio for us? Sharing their story has been an amazing and generous gift to all of us older guys. Thank you.

    Comment by Lenise Wimborough — August 31, 2007 @ 1:43 am

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