Interview with Broadway In Chicago ‘Jersey Boys’ Star Nick Cosgrove

Chicagoans have loved the Broadway In Chicago production of Jersey Boys, and continue to see the show to hear iconic songs such as “Walk Like a Man” and “Sherry.”   But during this  Broadway In Chicago tour, Nick Cosgrove, 24, is portraying mega-star Frankie Valli.  The Broadway star chatted with emme about his acting career and playing one of his idols.

Nick Cosgrove

emme:  When did you become interested in singing and acting?

Nick Cosgrove:  I’ve been singing before I could even talk.  I really started singing when watching Sesame Street, and after that my mom bought me all of the Disney Sing-Along-Songs tapes.  I was obsessed with them!  At a very young age I began singing at church and began doing musical theater after that in local plays.  I continued to do theater through elementary school and high school.

emme:  Describe your life before Jersey Boys.

NC:  I graduated in May 2010 from Carnegie Mellon University where I studied acting.  I found an agent at my senior showcase and immediately afterwards I moved to New York.

emme:  How did you get cast as Frankie Valli?

NC:  The Fall after I moved to New York, my agent advised me to go to “Frankie camp.”  “Frankie camp” is a 3 day camp working with voice coaches and choreographers for people who want to be cast as Frankie Valli.  At that point, they weren’t casting for Frankie Valli, but they were looking for actors to replace a “Frankie” if they were too burned out or got sick.  They constantly want “Frankie’s” on the back burner.  After that, I was doing another show in Skokie, Ill., and totally forgot about landing the role as Frankie Valli.  The day my play ended, my agent told me that Jersey Boys casting wanted to see me again.  I flew out to New York and had a final audition.  A half an hour after auditioning, my agent told me that Bob Gaudio wanted me to record some tracks.

emme:  Wow!  What was that like?

NC:  Amazing.  Bob is the ultimate guy!  He’s written “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”  So, I sang for him for four hours with songs such as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.

Cosgrove and the Jersey Boys posing at Wrigley Field

emme:  How did you then find out you landed the role as Frankie Valli?

NC:  My agent told me that they wanted me for the part!  I was so excited!  The most amazing part was that all Frankie’s have to be approved by Frankie Valli, himself!  Frankie reviewed my video and him and Bob Gaudio approved  me.

emme:  How do you memorize all of your songs and lines?

NC:  Repetition!  Sometimes I will record the other actors lines and recite mine with the recording.  Also blocking [where you must stand on stage] helps me memorize my lines.  And memorizing music just comes natural to me.

emme:  Have you worked with any celebrities?  What advice have they given you?

NC:  When I was in college, I worked with many actors who are famous in the Broadway world such as Sudden Foster.  Our media doesn’t really highlight Broadway stars, only movie stars!  They were all very nurturing and down to Earth.

emme:  Do you want to pursue a career in film or TV?

NC:  Right now, I am just enjoying the path I am on.  I love musical theater, and I definitely want to keep pursuing this.  However, maybe I would be interested in it down the road.

Cosgrove singing the "National Anthem" at the United Center

emme:  Describe a typical day being an actor in a Broadway play.  

NC:  Everybody in the show prepares differently.  I wake up early and eat a healthy breakfast.  I warm up in the shower and arrive at the theater about half an hour earlier before call time.  Then I warm up some more with my vocal coach and do the show!

emme:  Since you’re from Chicago, have all of your friends and family seen the show?

NC:  A lot of my family has come to the show!  They are all genuinely happy for me.  They can’t believe that all of my dreams are coming true.

Cosgrove on "The Talk" with Marion Brooks

emme:  What are your favorite songs to perform?

NC:  Of course, “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man.”  The coolest part of the show is that once the band takes off and sings their big hit, the audience becomes a character.  It really feels like the audience is a 1960s crowd going to a Four Seasons concert.

emme:  How long did you rehearse for Jersey Boys?

NC:  About a month.

emme:  Why do you think the entertainment business is so cut-throat?

NC:  People will do anything to get the job.  But, you just have to remember that this is not between life and death… it’s just a job!  I’ve realized that you cannot let fame get in sight of your goal.  The arts is all about inspiring people.  After you leave, people should be thinking and talking about the message.  That’s what I hope people get out of Jersey Boys— I want them to get inspired!

emme:  How has being a hometown hero changed you?

NC: It’s been crazy!  I could be soaking this up, but I’m not giong to do that.  I am amazed that I was chosen for Jersey Boys, and I want to stay humble.  My father always taught me to have quiet confidence.  If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will!  People let fame blow up their egos.  I’m doing this because I love this and this is my passion.

Cosgrove singing the "National Anthem" at Toyota Park

emme:  You’ve been quite the Chicago celebrity performing the “National Anthem” at different sporting events!

NC:  Yes!  I sang at the Bulls, Chicago Fire, and Sox games.  The entire cast sang at the Cubs game.  It was so surreal!  

emme:  What are your plans for the future?

NC:  I don’t know yet, and I’m okay with not knowing.  I used to be the type of person who needed to have everything all laid out, but I’m taking it day by day.  For the future, I just want to be a consistently working actor.  I really appreciate this opportunity and I want to live in the present.  Playing Frankie Valli is literally a dream role, in my dream play.  I am going to enjoy this as much as I possibly can.

To purchase tickets, go to:  broadwayinchicago.com

Dates:  Now- June 3, 2012

To learn more about Cosgrove, visit:  nickcosgrove.com

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