Northeast Times

‘Jersey Boys’ comes to Forrest Theatre

The boys: Pic­tured are (from left) Nick Cos­grove, Jason Kappus, Nic­olas Dro­mard, Brandon An­drus. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF JEREMY DANIEL

“Grow­ing up in Lang­horne, I wanted to be many things, from a pi­lot to an as­tro­naut to a base­ball play­er and everything in between. And that’s the nice thing about grow­ing up to be an act­or. So far, I’ve played a knight, a cow­boy, a base­ball play­er and now even a rock star.”

So said Brandon An­drus, now play­ing the late Nick Massi in Jer­sey Boys. The award-win­ning mu­sic­al comes to the For­rest Theatre Dec. 11 to Jan. 5.

Jer­sey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Sea­sons, and how a group of blue-col­lar boys from the wrong side of the tracks be­came one of the biggest Amer­ic­an pop mu­sic sen­sa­tions of all time. They wrote their own songs, in­ven­ted their own sounds and sold 175 mil­lion re­cords world­wide all be­fore they were 30.

Jer­sey Boys won many awards, in­clud­ing the 2006 Tony Award for Best Mu­sic­al, the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Mu­sic­al Show Al­bum, the 2009 Olivi­er Award for Best New Mu­sic­al and more, and con­tin­ues to break box of­fice re­cords every­where it plays.

An­drus, 34, who has been tour­ing with the show for the last two years, ac­know­ledges that when the time came to choose a ca­reer, he knew he wasn’t cut out for the world of busi­ness like his fath­er.

“And my par­ents were OK with that. They just wanted me to pur­sue what I really wanted to do. And for me, ul­ti­mately that meant per­form­ing,” he said.

So when the time came to ap­ply to col­lege, An­drus chose Ithaca Col­lege, in­tend­ing to en­hance his vo­cal skills. However, he wasn’t ac­cep­ted in­to that pro­gram but ma­jored in­stead in theat­er — un­til one day a teach­er over­heard him singing to him­self.

The teach­er told An­drus he should be a mu­sic ma­jor, and with that en­cour­age­ment, and a new au­di­tion, An­drus fi­nally settled in­to the classes of his choice.

Since gradu­ation, An­drus has ap­peared in a vari­ety of roles in many pro­duc­tions, in­clud­ing Curly in Ok­lahoma, Sonny in Xanadu, Rocky in Damn Yan­kees and oth­ers. And they all re­quired a little something dif­fer­ent from An­drus.

“As an act­or, some­how you have to learn to re­late to your char­ac­ter,” An­drus ex­plained. “There has to be some level of hon­esty there. So even though Nick is noth­ing like Sonny, who is noth­ing like Cur­ley, they’re all part of me some­how.”

Today, even after two years of play­ing Nick, An­drus said he keeps the role fresh by keep­ing that level of hon­esty alive for each new audi­ence.

He said, “We do eight shows a week, six days a week. Some­times, even I’m not sure where all that stam­ina comes from, ex­cept to say that there are new audi­ences at every per­form­ance and they de­serve the best we have.”

With a role that he said is both phys­ic­ally and emo­tion­ally drain­ing, com­ing back to ho­met­own audi­ences can be a wel­come change, es­pe­cially to the For­rest Theatre.

“This is the theat­er where I saw my first pro­fes­sion­al pro­duc­tion, so it means a lot to me,” he says. “Phil­adelphia audi­ences are the smartest and most giv­ing audi­ences I’ve ever played to, so I’m ex­cited to be play­ing in front of them.” ••

For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 1-800-447-7400. 

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