July 13, 2006

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Jennifer Naimo!

July 13th, 2006

Jennifer Naimo

Jersey Boys Blog is incredibly honored to present the first of a series of interviews with Jersey Boys’ cast members. Our first interview is with the amazingly talented Jennifer Naimo, who plays Frankie Valli’s spunky girlfriend/bossy wife, Mary Delgado, in addition to other roles. Jennifer has been with Jersey Boys since its opening at La Jolla Playhouse.

JBB: Congratulations to Jersey Boys for winning the Best Musical! When you heard Julie Andrews announce your show as the winner, what were the first things that went through your mind?

JN: It was a thrill! We were all at the Hard Rock Cafe. First, Christian won. There was justice in the theatre. It was humbling, joyful, and shocking! And, the best part was that I got to share this with my husband, Tim, who has supported me in every move with Jersey Boys, as he’s in LA and I’m here. It’s bittersweet.

JBB: How did you become interested in musical theatre?

JN: My mother said the first song I sang was at seven months old–”Ave, Ave, Ave Maria”– and I’ve been a good Catholic since then. As a kid, I would imitate Barbra Streisand and Karen Carpenter. I always performed around the house and my sister would say, ‘Mom, stop making her sing like a 40 year old woman.’ It paid off—I had one year of college at Hope College, then was accepted to NYU’s graduate acting program, even though I was an undergrad. The program actually focused on the acting and I had one singing class, but that also focused on being able to act the song on notes.

JBB: When you first read the script for Jersey Boys, did you think it was going to be a blockbuster hit?

JN: When I first read it, I somehow felt an affinity to Mary Delgado, even though most people who know my work are shocked and impressed with the edge and toughness of Mary. Previously, I played Little Mary Sunshine–Frenchy in Grease; Eponine in Les Miz; a tomboy in Big River; and Georgie Bukatinsky in The Full Monty.

The audition was so smooth in that the casting directors had me read for them in the morning, told me to come back in the afternoon for Des and our musical director Ron Melrose, and do the exact same thing. An hour after that, they told me to return in the morning to do it again in front of Frankie Valli. I knew it was special the first time we did a clumsy run through in our street clothes, and Michael David, our now producer, was ecstatic.

JBB: What is it about the story and the music that makes the audience feel so connected to Jersey Boys?

JN: There’s a familiarity with the music to begin with, and then, you actually are invited in to the world of these men and their relationships, and what goes through their minds. Also the sacrifices, both good and bad, one makes in order to succeed. You root for them. I always root for the underdog in life. The show teases you for 40 minutes or so, mirroring the Four Seasons’ struggles at fame, and then gives you that first hit, “Sherry.“ We’re all on the ride together, and it’s cathartic.

JBB: What is your favorite song in Jersey Boys?

JN: “Rag Doll“ is so haunting, and I love hearing the beginning of “My Eyes Adored You,“ before I join in. I can just imagine what Mary must have felt when she heard that on the radio…the sadness of it all.

JBB: What is your favorite scene in Jersey Boys?

JN: The pizza scene. I still get nervous and focused before it, because it feels like an intense tennis or ping pong match where you better be in top form, or you’ll drop the ball. There’s such a beautiful rhythm to the writing. Rick (Elice) and Marshall (Brickman) are brilliant.

JBB: What would you like to do next in your career?

JN: Work, work, work; have a family; maybe create another new role in a show on Broadway; or maybe have a job in LA—so I’m closer to home—even if it’s a ditsy secretary or hormone-ridden waitress in a series. Steady work, where I’m not necessarily the star, but respected for my work and I, in turn, can respect the people around me. We’ll see what God has in store. It will be hard to surpass this amazing experience.

We would like to thank the amazingly talented Jennifer Naimo once again for taking the time for this fascinating interview with Jersey Boys Blog!


  1. Way to Go Jennifer Na(y)imo!

    Comment by The Michigander Gang — July 14, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

  2. Jennifer is without a doubt the most consistent performer on that stage. I’ve been watching her since La Jolla and she gets every single laugh every night. Her timing is incredible. She’s a total professional and a major asset to the show.

    Comment by Steve Orich — July 14, 2006 @ 9:43 pm

  3. To my beautiful little Mija, Jennifer, I am so proud of you in Jersey Boys and can never get tired of watching you on stage. Thank you for spicing up my life from day one. Miss you and can’t wait to celebrate our 3 years of being married in August. Until then, I Love you.

    Comment by Husband Tim Morales — July 14, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  4. Go Jennifer! You go girl! Maybe one day when I get older I might play your parts! I’m only a preteen! I love broadway so I might be one of those Jersey Gals on the stage because I can tell “it will run for centuries!” You, Erica, Sara, and Heather are the best! Right now I’m listening to “My Boyfriends Back” you girls did so well singing! Good Luck in the future!

    Comment by Jersey Girl — July 15, 2006 @ 10:44 am

  5. Way to go Aunt Jennifer! We are all cheering for you here at home. Keep up the great work!
    Love you.

    Comment by Laura Naimo — July 15, 2006 @ 10:54 am

  6. Aunt Jennifer,
    Way to go!! Love you lots…,my favorite aunt


    Comment by Emily — July 15, 2006 @ 7:13 pm

  7. This is definately the pinacle of your career. It only took you 30 some years to finally achieve originating and being on a TONY AWARD winning cast/show. This is what EVERY stage actor strives for and you did it! No one can replace your talent. Although the other shows were just as exciting, this is your BIGGEST accomplishment thus far. Your family has never been more proud of you. Since you were three you could sing in tune and act. God gave you two special gifts; your wonderful husband Hi Tim:) and a chance of doing what you love to do and you do it better than no other! (Now I just have to get you two to move to NYC!!!!) We want you both closer to us!!! Start packing! Much love, Jody

    Comment by Jody — July 20, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

  8. Hi Jennifer. I saw the show on June 21 and couldn’t believe the coincidence in my hearing your “y is a *** vowel” line. I was a champion speller in junior high school 40 years ago, but lost the school championship one year on the very simple word “analyze”, spelling it with an “i” although I had written it correctly. On the morning of June 21, 2006, my company notified me I was a candidate for a promotion…when I asked for an e-mail of the job description, for the second time in 40 years, “analize” was misspelled. I saw JB that same afternoon, and could not believe my ears when you talked about “y” and “i”. Now the job has been narrowed from 23 candidates to 6 semi-finalists (of which I am one), and I still wonder if that “y” & “i” scenario was somehow a message from above. Congratulations on a wonderful performance, Jennifer.

    Comment by Howard — July 26, 2006 @ 10:16 pm

  9. Hey Howard thankyou for that personal note. How funny…I do think that was encouragement from above. I hope you get the promotion..Jennifer

    Hey Emily, Laura, Jody and Michiganders, and Jersey Girl..thanks for the great messages…jen

    Comment by jennifer naimo — August 1, 2006 @ 9:47 am

  10. [...] For more information on Jennifer, check out the JB Blog interview from earlier this year. [...]

    Pingback by Jersey Boys Blog » Happy Birthday to Jennifer Naimo! — October 2, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

  11. Jennifer, thanks for your good wishes to my comment #8 above. Each time I see JB (7 so far), I feel that the “y”, “i” comment is still directed at me, but the promotion never materialized.

    At any rate, things happen for a reason, and my coveted position was downsized out last month.

    In the meanime, though, I humbly admitted to the world above that I misspelled the simple word “analyze”. Come to think of it, though, my loss in the state championship competition the very next year was on the more respectable “syzygy”–so there’s still some weird connection between you, me, and the not-knowing-what-it-is letter “y”!

    Your blog is terrific, Jennifer. Hope I can meet you in person at some point!

    Comment by Howard Tucker — April 27, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

  12. You go girl! I love this woman on top of the world with her incredible singing voice and comedy talent. Also, I love that it’s another Catholic fulfilling her dream. As a catholic myself, I often wonder how God has guided these Broadway stars through years of work to get where they longed to be. Now Jennifer and JLY are starring in a Tony Winning Best Musical! Alleluia!

    Comment by Lauren — June 6, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

  13. Jen Ifirst heard of you by a cast member of Alladin at Disneys Ca. Adventure (Nick) cant remember his last name,he left to go on the road with the Producers,but he told me of this broadway star with the same last name.I have been a sports announcer,DJ..and finally a radio “tech” & was the dodger field engineer who had the pleasuie of traveling with Vin Scully for years in the 80!s& 90!s & now live in South Orange County…hope to see you in Jersey Boys sometime Sincerely Jack Naimo…ps my parents & wife are from the Compobasso area of Italy & I have 3 children & 5 grandchildren & am 74 years young lol

    Comment by John Jack Naimo — November 28, 2007 @ 11:11 am

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