The ‘Boys’ are back in town

Jersey Boys

Broadway actor Tommaso Antico will return to Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Friday to fill the shoes and corduroy jacket of music-making icon Bob Gaudio in Broadway’s touring production “Jersey Boys.”

Audiences will tap their toes and sing along with Antico as he leads the musical phenomenon that tells the story of 1960’s pop-rock group The Four Seasons. The jukebox production showcases the band’s multiple hits, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.”

Antico, who recently performed for Bob Gaudio AS Bob Gaudio, shares his story of what led him to play the legendary musician:

I made my way up. I auditioned for five years and got a part in the ensemble on the national tour. And that tour closed and they switched me over to the second national tour and I was there for a little bit before they transferred me over to Broadway, where I made my debut. Then Broadway closed. Then this tour opened up and they offered me Bob. So its been a whirlwind.

Every time I do it, it’s different. Different incarnation, different people and a totally different show. I’m playing Bob now, which is really exciting. I’m actually in Nashville, Tennessee right now and I actually got to meet Bob Gaudio a couple of days ago and shake his hand and talk his ear off because he lives here.

Bob came to our opening night, second night and I believe he’s coming back on Friday. He’s very involved in the sound of the show and obviously the music; there are things that he wants and notes to hit. And its really surreal to have someone from the band who is still just so involved, and hear straight for him what he likes and doesn’t like. So you take those notes and try to do good by Bob Gaudio.

I can imagine there has to be some pressure there.

I try to not get too in my head about it. I look at it like this is something I have to do. This isn’t my show in that I can’t change anything. I just have to hope that he likes it. We’ve had the past month and our very first show was in Nashville and it was for all of the creative people; so our musical director, choreographer and Bob Gaudio, just for our rehearsal. So we were all already kind of struggling in remembering what this show is. And we also had the members of the audience. But it all came back to me and everyone. And it was pretty exhilarating. I just tried to not get in my head so much and not think, “Oh Bob Gaudio is right there and I’m telling his story.”

The good thing is they never made us do an impression of these characters. They’re always our own interpretation of what we bring to our character. Obviously there are certain things that are set in stone. But any time you see “Jersey Boys,” it’s always a little different. The end product is always the same, but the route you take to get there is always a little different because each character is a little different.

What would you say you personally bring to the character of Bob Gaudio?

Well he starts he story at 17 years old – and I am by no means 17 years old. But there’s this earnest quality about him where he is very quietly confident. And I’d like to say that is easy for me to tap into that. I’m a confident human but I don’t throw it in anyone’s face. So that part came very naturally.

You mentioned that every show is different. Are there any shows that you feel are special or unique – besides, of course, performing for Bob Gaudio?

I will always remember my Broadway debut, that will forever stick with me. So opening that show in New York was a huge monumental moment for me. And also, closing it was such a big deal. I feel like that will forever go down in history being one of Broadway’s longest running shows. It’s an added to be a part of all these great milestones is a bonus.

They actually asked me to do the commercial and print ad as Bob Gaudio before I even had the part. All of a sudden, I was on this huge billboard in Times Square and I was like, “Oh my god! That’s my face about 50 feet long!” Just seeing my face up there was amazing. And it was like this huge foreshadow in my life, like life imitating art. I feel they had an idea of my path before I did. Maybe it was always in the works for me playing Bob Gaudio, but I didn’t know it. Now the commercial is playing everywhere we go.

Being a jukebox musical, the production obviously requires a lot of music talent. Did you have any prior experience as a musician or singer?

Actually being a musician was my first love. I moved to New York to do theater school and after school, I became really connected to playing guitar and writing my own music. So I would gig around New York City for a few years. I was writing my own music and I really wanted that to take off, but it wasn’t paying my bills. Then my theater career started to really take off. So in a way, I feel like I am living out my dream because I get to portray this character who really did live out his dreams. So in a way, it’s very fitting.

JERSEY BOYS

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall

When: January 19 – 21, 2018
Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, January 20, 2018 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.

Where: 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Tickets – Start at $40.75

Online – SCFTA.org
Phone – (714) 556-2787

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