September 16, 2007

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Travis Cloer!

September 16th, 2007

Travis Cloer

Catching up with Travis Cloer was among the highlights of last month’s trip for us in New York! Before his Friday evening performance on August 3rd, Travis filled us in on what’s been happening to him over the summer; the excitement and challenges of playing the Frankie Valli role while John Lloyd Young was on vacation; how headlining on cruise ships prepared him for his Broadway debut; and what he’s discovered about himself since becoming a Jersey Boys cast member.

JBB: Great to see you, Travis–thanks for meeting with us again! What all has been going on with you since the last time we chatted back in May?

TC: Well, John went on vacation for a couple of weeks, so I had the opportunity to go on as Frankie for both weekends while he was gone. That was great—I really got some good stage time and really started to develop the character and make it my own–just sinking my teeth into it. Other than that, it’s been a pretty slow summer—same-old, same-old.

JBB: Considering you’ve had some great weekends playing Frankie while John was away, could you describe the process of “making it your own”?

TC: Of course, you know, with John being the originator of the role, I try to keep the things that are essential to the character that he has created that make that role what it is. I mean, he did win the Tony—so, he did something right! But I also just try to find little ways to interact with the different characters on my own and to create the relationships that aren’t necessarily given to you in the script.

JBB: The “Journey to Jersey Boys” cabaret with the Jersey Girls sounds like a wonderful event (it was held 8/13/07). Tell us about how you guys came up with the idea.

TC: It’s going to be a lot of fun. The venue, Ars Nova, originally approached Holly Anne Ruggiero, who’s our old assistant director, to put together a little show for their “Spotlight Broadway” series and she just wanted to do something with other cast besides the Four Seasons, because they’ve done a lot of press. She wanted to give people a chance to see the talent of the other performers in the show. So, she asked us if we were interested in putting together a little show for them, and we came up with the idea of telling our stories of how we got into the show, what life’s been like while we’re in the show, backstage stories, our future dreams and aspirations, and all that kind of stuff. We’re going to have some great music. We’re probably each singing four or five different songs. It’s going to have such a wide variety of music and it’s going to be a lot of fun!

JBB: You’ve been a Jersey Boys’ ensemble cast member now for about five months. Have there been any major surprises that you weren’t expecting?

TC: No, nothing yet, other than the initial shock of being on Broadway. I think that was a pretty big shock in itself! This being my first Broadway show and then stepping into such a huge role when John’s away. I think that’s about all the shock I can handle right about now!

JBB: Well, you’re handling it very well! All the JB Blog readers are raving about your performances!

TC: Thank you, thank you!

JBB: You mentioned last time that your Dad had seen you play Frankie. Have your Mom, your girlfriend, and any other friends or family seen you play the role?

TC: Yes, they have, actually. My Mom came up the very first time I did it back in April. My girlfriend saw me do it, as did her parents. They’re all just really excited to see what the future holds. Even my old high school music director–the guy that got me started in theatre and persuaded me to audition for my first show back in high school and gave me voice lessons, training, and direction all during that time–saw me do Frankie the last time I was on, and he was just blown away.

JBB: What’s the most challenging part of playing Frankie Valli?

TC: It’s just so demanding. I really have to take care of myself; I’ve got to get the sleep, drink lots of water, especially when it’s hot like this and you’re sweating so much. You really need to make sure you stay healthy, take care of yourself, and not do anything too crazy to your body. I’m sure John has told you plenty about that.

JBB: Yes, he has—he said it’s like being an athlete.

TC: Absolutely!

JBB: Last time we chatted, you told us about headlining the cabaret shows on cruise ships. How did that job prepare you for your Broadway debut?

TC: Well, it gave me the experience of just being out there by myself and commanding an audience for 45 minutes to an hour to make people want to sit there and listen to you. It takes a lot of skill to be able to do that, because you’re out there just being yourself. It really helps you hone in and refine your skills as an entertainer and a showman.

It’s like Sinatra and those guys, back in the day, people were there just to look at them. It really makes you step your game up. You’re there, you’re singing, you’re telling stories, you’re making people see how personal you are. You’re trying to keep their attention and keep them interested.

JBB: Is there anything in particular that you’ve learned about how Broadway works in your short time in Jersey Boys?

TC: I’ve always known show business is a business, but I’ve really seen how much of a business it is here. There are so many different aspects of being in a show—so many different other people, production companies, producers, and just the way the unions work. It really is a business when they say ‘show business.’

They see you up on stage and they think it’s all that glitz and glamour all the time, but you’re coming in; you’re doing eight shows a week; you’re dealing with agents and unions and all that stuff.

JBB: Is there anything you’ve discovered about yourself that you didn’t know before you became a Jersey Boys’ cast member?

TC: I’ve realized that I don’t necessarily know everything about being on stage and entertaining. I’ve been in the business for quite a while, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have done a lot of things. However, I’ve realized, especially when I go on stage as Frankie, there are so many other layers and so many other aspects that you can always find to build on, to grow, and to keep stepping forward and climbing that ladder to continue to try to be better than the night before.

JBB: So, each performance is that different?

TC: Absolutely. You find different things every time you go out there. Maybe one thing will happen one night that didn’t happen a couple nights before. It makes a light bulb go off in your head that makes you understand what that was. It’s always a growing and a changing thing; it just keeps evolving.

Thank you so much to Travis Cloer for taking the time for another amazing and insightful interview. We wish him all the best and continued success in Jersey Boys!


  1. I saw Travis in the show last night. He is a great performer. He is very gracious and kind to the fans at the stage door. Need I say more. IE

    Comment by irene eizen — September 16, 2007 @ 10:42 am

  2. Since arriving on Broadway, Travis has impressed me with his talent. I have seen him play Joey and I also saw him as Frankie. He is great in both roles! He, like the other cast members, has a special way of connecting with the fans after each performance. Those of us who were lucky enough to have seen “Journey to Jersey Boys” got to know him even better! It is evident how hard he works, and how much he enjoys performing for an audience! Jersey Boys is fortunate to have recognized his talent and to have signed him on to join the cast. I wish him continued success in Jersey Boys!

    Comment by Beverley Micciche — September 16, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  3. You’re quite a talent, Travis, loved your Ars Nova performance; you should cover “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” on your first CD!

    Your story is amazing, my man. Watching the “Boys” in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, deciding you wanted to be in the show, and making it happen! I’ve always wanted to be Danny Zuko in “Grease”. May I get a few lessons from you on how to proceed?!?

    Comment by Howard Tucker — September 16, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

  4. Howard,

    You are too funny “and too cute.” Hey, what do we JB fans have that other people don’t???? You, Howard! IE

    Comment by irene eizen — September 16, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  5. Jersey Boys just keeps adding amazing talent to this show. I first saw Travis in JB in July and was very impressed with his performance as Frankie. We saw the show last night and as always the cast was so kind and stopped to talk to everyone. It was great to see you again Travis.

    Comment by Damaris Dugan — September 16, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

  6. Travis has a great talent…a litle Frank Sinatra, a little Michael Buble, a little Frankie Valli, and a whole lot of originality and personality! I enjoyed his performance at “Journey to Jersey Boys” and as others have mentioned, he was so gracious and appreciative of those in attandance. He was a nice complement to the Jersey Girls who performed that evening!

    Comment by LuluThompson — September 16, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  7. Travis… I, too, have had the pleasure of seeing you in the role of Frankie. In fact, I made it my mission in July to get there and wait in the SRO line for hours for that opportunity.

    From our first meeting at the JB special event on April 15 to your dynamic performance in ‘Journey to Jersey Boys’, I have seen talent, sincere graciousness and a real commitment to your craft.

    Your hard work has yielded rewards, once again, this past year- bringing you up on stage with the JB cast beginning in February; I hope that as you celebrate your birthday tomorrow, you will have a chance (on this day off) to reflect on those things that are most important and look forward to more fruits of your labor and talent in the years ahead.

    Happy Birthday, Travis!

    Comment by Audrey — September 30, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

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