August 14, 2012

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Nick Cosgrove!

August 14th, 2012

Nick Cosgrove
Nick Cosgrove

We are excited to report that in the weeks to come, we will be posting several JBB Exclusive Interviews with JERSEY BOYS first national tour cast members that took place during our recent visit to the Keller Auditorium in Portland!

Our first interview is with Nick Cosgrove, who at the time was the two-show “Frankie Valli” on the tour. As of tomorrow, he will be playing the six-show Frankie with the company!! Nick shares some wonderful stories with us, including the indelible impression that JERSEY BOYS had left upon him after seeing the show for the first time in high school; his journey in achieving his JB dreams; meeting the legendary pop icon that he plays plays on stage, and more!

Jersey Boys Blog: So, Nick, how did you get here, playing the two-show Frankie Valli on the JERSEY BOYS first national tour? Was this your dream role?

Nick Cosgrove: I first saw JERSEY BOYS at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago when I was a junior in high school and I just remember seeing the show and falling in love with how well-written the characters were, the smooth scene changes, and especially the music.

I knew by that time that I wanted to go to college for theatre, specifically a conservatory program because I wanted to put all of my focus and energy into furthering my craft.

JBB: Were you already familiar with The Four Seasons’ sound before seeing it on stage for that very first time?

NC: I grew up with a lot of this music. I may be young, but my mom didn’t let me listen to any New Age music as a kid, only Oldies 104.3. So, I listened to a lot of Etta James, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, etc. I remember hearing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ on the radio for the first time and immediately fell in love with the song. Fast forward to seeing the show in Chicago with all of the music I had grown up listening to, I was in heaven!

The role of Frankie — I had been a boy soprano as a child, and even when my voice changed, I still had use of that part of my voice. But you don’t really get a chance to sing up in your falsetto like that with music nowadays, so to see a role in musical theatre where an actor was using that part of his voice? I was like, “I want to do that! I want to train to do THAT role.”

JBB: So, what happened after high school and seeing the show for the first time?

NC: I went to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, studied there for four years, and got an agent out of my senior showcase. When you meet with agents for the first time, they usually ask you what are some of your dream roles, what do you see yourself doing yourself in this business. I had always expressed my interest in JERSEY BOYS, so when I first got to the city, my agent submitted me. I had about eight auditions throughout this past year for the show. They put you through the ringer for good reason to see if you have the stamina to do it.

JBB: So, eight auditions?! Did you always have your eye on the Frankie role, or would you have been happy as Joey or as a swing?

NC: Well, here’s the thing: When I was first auditioning, I told my agent Teresa Wolf from Wolf Talent Group, ‘T, I just want to be in the show. I don’t care if I’m the swing, if I’m Pesci…’ And she’s like, ‘Trust me, Nick, be patient. You’re the guy. We’re going to wait till you’re the guy.”

Actually, after I did Frankie Camp in February 2011, I remember I worked that summer doing ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ in Kansas City and they were holding auditions in New York for the swing track and Joe Pesci out here on the first national tour. I was so upset that I was missing auditions for the show because I was working out of town and couldn’t get to New York. Then, I was in Chicago in the fall working on Stephen Schwartz’s piece ‘Snapshots’ and there was an audition for Joe Pesci out in Vegas because Brad Weinstock was just cast as the main Frankie in the second national tour, so that spot became open in Vegas.

I told my agent, ‘I just want to be part of this family!’ She said, ‘Nick, if we submit you and you get it, you have to take it. Just be patient. Stay in Chicago and finish up your show. This show will still be here when you get back to New York. Trust me on this.’

JBB: Didn’t Jersey Boys’ orchestrator Steve Orich do the orchestrations for Stephen Schwartz’s ‘Snapshots’?

NC: Yes! It was so funny, because I had to videotape myself and send it back to Dodgers while I was in Chicago, so Steve accompanied me in my videos that I sent in. It was a cool connection to make with him. He’s a wonderful man and a brilliant musician! It was so awesome to get to work with him.

JBB: What happened after you sent your tape to Dodgers?

NC: So, near the end of the run of ‘Snapshots’ I had to put myself on tape, but they weren’t saying what position was opening or what they were looking for. I just thought they were saying, ‘We like you, we just want to see you on tape again.’ So a few days after I sent my tapes out, Teresa calls me and tells me they’d like to see me in person when I get back to New York. Two days after the show closed in Chicago, I went back to New York, it was October 23rd—and my final audition for Des McAnuff and the whole creative team was on the 25th. I got back to the city and wasn’t even back into my apartment yet. I was staying with a friend and I whipped out my suit, ironed my shirt, and went to my final audition. It was a crazy few days to say the least.

So, I get a call from my agent the next day—it was a Tuesday and she goes, ‘What are you doing Friday?’ I’m like, ‘Nothing…not a darn thing—I just got back in town.’ So, she tells me, “Well, they want you in the recording studio on Friday with Bob Gaudio to sing through the material.’

JBB: Wow! Just like that—you had a meeting in the studio with Bob Gaudio!? Is this commonplace with all the Frankies?

NC: In the final audition, both Frankie and Bob are usually there, and if they can’t be there, they videotape you for them to see, because they have final approval of all the cast members. Neither of them was able to be there, so they videotaped me. I’m guessing he saw my video, but still wanted to meet me and hear me in person.

It was an incredible experience to say the least. He’s so brilliant in the sense that we would lay down a track and on the first take, I’d do it without any notes. He’d then give me some notes, nuances to think about. We’d do a second take, a third take, a fourth take…By like the eighth take, he’d say, ‘Okay, great, come in here.’

So, we would listen to the first take, then the last take—the first take with no notes and then the final take after all of his fine tuning. It was like night and day. I got to walk away with those recordings to go back and listen to how I sound with and without his guidance. It was really educational.

This whole journey has been so surreal. I’ve just been so grateful for everything that has happened so far, and especially to get to play Chicago for nine weeks and be in my hometown and play in the Bank of America Theatre where I first saw the show… How lucky can you get? It’s just been wonderful!

JBB: For your homecoming in Chicago, did a lot of your teachers, mentors, old pals and classmates get to see you as Frankie at the Bank of America Theatre?

NC: My mentor David Danckwart, who I’ve known since third grade got to see me. I was in the high school musicals since third grade when they needed kids in their productions. He was the main music director who retired to his hometown of Minnesota the year that I graduated. He’s pretty hard to get a hold of, but I finally got him on the phone once I booked the show and said, ‘Hey, I think you’re going to have to come visit me in Chicago.’

David said, ‘What do you mean?’

So, I told him, ‘Well…I’m playing Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys and I don’t want you to be there, I NEED you to be there!’ I bought him tickets to the show and he flew into Chicago after being away for six years. It was just really special to have him come and see me achieve my dream. He really became a father figure to me growing up. It was special, too, because he was sitting next to my mom and my mom got to watch him watch me. She said it was an amazing experience to see how proud he was of me, just like a family member.

JBB: That story was awesome, Nick! Another great story was when you met Frankie Valli after his concert performance in Chicago (Click HERE to read story)! What was it like to meet the legend that you play on stage?

NC: Frankie was so down-to-earth. His performance at the concert was amazing; he truthfully sounds like he’s still in his twenties! It was also really cool to get to talk to his musical director Robby Robinson, who’s been with him over 30 years. Robby told me that Frankie is in the studio every day, thinking of ways to further his career. At 78! It’s just wild and so inspirational that he still loves it just as much and is still thinking of ways to further himself.

JBB Tech Half: After meeting the legendary pop star, what did you take away from the experience and is there anything that made you say, “I have to bring this to my portrayal!”

NC: Seeing Frankie Valli perform live in concert was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. To be portraying someone that is alive and still performing, there’s a huge responsibility you carry as an actor to do justice to his music and to be very honest in the storytelling. To hear that he’s still in the studio, every day, thinking of ways to further his career was the most inspiring piece of information to walk away with. His passion for what he does, to see it live in living color, is what I want to incorporate even more in my performance.

JBB Tech Half: In JERSEY BOYS, Frankie Valli says, “The road is the road.” You’ve been on the road since January with the JERSEY BOYS first national tour. What would you say is your most memorable, amazing, or unforgettable story so far from the road?

NC: Taking my first bow in Chicago. It was a really overwhelming night for me. All of my family was there. To perform in the same space where the seed was first planted six years ago and I fell in love with this show, AND to actually be playing Frankie Valli? I’m just so grateful for this life I’ve been given. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have dreams like that come true, so in that final bow on my opening in Chicago, I sobbed like a baby. Embarrassing, but true. That’s been the most unforgettable moment for me on the road so far.


  1. Really a nice interview with Nick Cosgrove. My daughter and I saw him in Chicago and really loved his performance. Hope we get to see him again.

    Comment by Jack — August 14, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  2. We saw Nick Cosgrove in Portland & he was so good in the Frankie Valli role I think that role was made for him.

    Nick’s dedication and talent are amazing and he and the other guys were so nice to my friend and I at the stage door :) .

    Comment by Lori J. — August 14, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  3. Great interview, Susie and Dale. Such an interesting journey with Nick’s agent in finally getting the role. He reminds me a bit of Broadway’s (and Chicago’s) Dominic Scaglione Jr., who after so many years, is still so humble and so grateful to be where he is. I’ll bet Nick has an awesome future awaiting.

    Comment by Howard — August 14, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  4. We’re going to see Jersey Boys in Edmonton next week. Thanks for posting an interview about the new guy playing Frankie. It was so cool to see that dreams do come true.

    Comment by TJ — August 14, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

  5. Another terrific interview, guys! I haven’t seen Nick Cosgrove perform in the Frankie Valli role yet, but can’t wait till he comes back to the U.S. All the best to you, Nick as the 6-show Frankie!

    Comment by Karen — August 14, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  6. Great behind-the-scenes story! Truly engaging prose… I was almost breathless wondering if his patience would pay off and how the story would pan out. A really sweet tale with him going full circle back to Chicago. Thanks for sharing this with us. It’s a mini-musical story in and of itself.

    Comment by Caroline — August 16, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  7. Saw you in Jersey Boys tonight. Got to sit front row and you were charismatic and delightful, great voice. See you again on Tues.

    Comment by Cara — November 17, 2012 @ 12:51 am

  8. Nick, saw you last nite in Boston. What a voice! Loved the show.
    Waiting for a CD with you and the cast which played last nite.

    Comment by Don — February 16, 2013 @ 11:54 am

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