December 4, 2010

Jersey Boys Broadway debutant Ryan Jesse Interview

A 2007 University of Northern Colorado graduate’s big break came in October, in the form of a Broadway debut.

Twenty-five-year old Ryan Jesse even resembles his Broadway character in “Jersey Boys”: He’s tall, talented and always ready to leap at his next career opportunity.

Jersey Boys Star Ryan Jesse

Jersey Boys Broadway Star Ryan Jesse

Jesse appears as band member Bob Gaudio in the Tony award-winning show “Jersey Boys,” based on the 1960s rock ‘n’ roll group the Four Seasons.

After earning a musical theatre degree, performing around the world in an Asian production of “Cinderella” and making his Broadway premiere in Jersey Boys on Oct. 12, the 25-year old Arizona native can’t help but wonder, what’s next? He hopes to explore higher roles in the profession and be on the other side of the casting table one day.

“Whether that’s directing or being a casting director, I’m not sure,” Jesse said in a phone interview. “I love what I’m doing now, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I don’t see myself doing it forever.”

Raised in Gilbert, Ariz., and born into a theatrical family, Jesse always knew he wanted to be a performer, and his love for singing is what led him to the stage.

“I get enjoyment from singing. It’s sort of freeing to me,” Jesse said. “Acting has its own special place for me, but singing is what got me on the stage to begin with.”

While at a theater conference in Arizona, Jesse learned about the University of Northern Colorado’s program. Captured by the beauty of the campus and friendliness of the faculty, Jesse knew that UNC would be a good fit.

“I fell in love with the campus,” Jesse said, “and everyone I met there made it seem right.”

David Grapes, director of the school of theater, arts and dance, first noticed Jesse’s talent in the school production of “Dracula.”

“He was evil, dark and sexy. I thought he was really quite strong,” Grapes said. “He did a very good job and it was very unusual because he was a musical theatre major, and that was not a musical.”

Jesse later played a lead role in the school’s rendition of “Titanic” and sang a compelling solo that earned him an agent when he performed it at an audition in Los Angeles. That agent found him the role in “Cinderella” and “Jersey Boys.”

Grapes said he thinks Jesse’s role in “Jersey Boys” suits his personality.

“I think it’s incredible that he’s on Broadway, and I think it’s a great role for him,” Grapes said. “I think it fits his voice really well. He’s got the right sort of acting job personality for it and even looks a little bit like Bob Gaudio.”

Jesse feels blessed to be on Broadway and doesn’t want to do anything else at the moment.

“It’s great and it’s amazing to be where I never thought possible,” Jesse said. “To be at a place in my life where my childhood dreams are imagined is incredible, and it’s an honor to get to do this every night.”

Living in New York and performing eight shows a week doesn’t exhaust Jesse’s positive attitude.

“The energy from the audiences is incredible and it makes coming to work a joy,” Jesse said. “You might think two shows should be rough, but when it’s your only job, it’s not so bad.”

Just get your Jersey Boys tickets NY ahead of time and enjoy a showing of Jersey Boys in NY at your leisure.

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