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BWW Interviews: Daniel Robert Sullivan Talks Places, Please!, JERSEY BOYS and More


Have you dreamed of one day becoming a big Broadway star? Do you want to see your name in lights? Do you watch shows like Glee and Smash and imagine yourself being a part of those worlds? If, like so many other young theatre lovers out there, you find yourself dreaming of a career on the Great White Way, there is a book about to be released that is tailored made for you.  Written by Daniel Robert Sullivan, a former member of the Toronto production of the smash-hit musical Jersey Boys, ‘Places, Please! (Becoming A Jersey Boy) is an extremely detailed account of the journey from young dreamer to star in a mega musical.

Daniel’s big break came when he was cast to replace Jeremy Kushnier as Tommy DeVito in the Toronto run of Jersey Boys.  After many years of auditions and countless hours of hard work, Daniel suddenly found himself exactly where he had always dreamed he would one day end up – in a big Broadway show.  While he was pursuing his dream, Daniel documented every detail of his journey.  After landing Jersey Boys, he began to compile all those little details into Places, Please!  Which promises to be an honest, inspiring look at the journey to becoming a musical theatre star.

Since Daniel got his start in Toronto, it seems only fitting that he return to our great city for his book’s official launch.  He will be on hand at The Toronto Centre for the Arts after the July 25th performances of Million Dollar Quartet, another musical which takes a look at four very talented musicians from a forgotten era.  Daniel will be doing a meet and greet with fans and signing copies of his book.  He also took a few minutes to speak with BWW about why he chose to write a book, what the journey has been like for him and what he hopes to do next:

First of all, congratulations on Places, Please! I understand that your Toronto appearance is a bit of a formal launch for your book – is that correct?

Thank you! These days you don’t really need a formal launch date, but with that being said we’ve decided to call July 25th the official launch.  It will be available in all forms on that date in Canada and the United States.

Why choose Toronto to come and launch your book?

This is where I got my start! I spent a great deal of time at The Toronto Centre for the Arts performing in Jersey Boys, and I’m thrilled to get to come back.  Dancap and Aubrey Dan were very generous to me on a personal level, and I’m glad to be able to return to where it all started. 

I will be doing a meet and greet and signing copies of my book after the performance of Million Dollar Quartet on July 25th 2012.  I think it will be a great way for me to meet some of my fans, but also hope it will help spread the word and connect the Jersey Boys phenomenon with Million Dollar Quartet.  After all, the audience for one would likely enjoy the other.  I will also be appearing on Canada AM on the 24th of July to do an interview and talk about Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio stories. 

Could you give us a brief overview of the book?

It’s an extremely detailed account of what it’s like to become a part of a mega musical.  I wanted it to be very detailed as a way to both inspire young people who are interested in this genre and also realistically portray what life is like for the very average actor.  I read a lot of books when I was a young actor, but none of them were quite long enough or detailed enough to really tell someone what this process is like day by day.  That’s what I wanted to do.

We have a lot of young readers who want to one day be in a mega-musical, and it can be a very discouraging process for them.  Especially these days with a struggling economy and many shows closing earlier than anticipated, it can be scary to try and carve out a career in this industry.  How do you handle that in your book and what would be the message of inspiration?

The theme of the book is ‘work hard and you will get a reward’.  That’s the inspiration behind it.  In all the detail and drudgery of auditioning and re-auditioning I came to believe very firmly in pursuing your dreams.  If you actually work at your dream every single day, eventually you’ll see some kind of pay off.  That’s what I truly believe and that’s what I’ve written about. 

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Kelly Cameron Kelly Cameron's love affair with the theatre began when she was just five years old, on an outing to see the Original Canadian Cast of Les Miserables at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. She instantly fell in love, and is honoured to be representing the Toronto contingent of BroadwayWorld as Senior Editor overseeing the GTA region.

Her writing career started almost by accident, though it has always been in her blood as her Mom was an English teacher who firmly believed in the importance of being able to turn a phrase. She also loved sharing her love of theatre with her students (and her children), and was a staunch supporter of the arts in Toronto.

When not at the theatre, you can usually find Kelly with a Starbucks in one hand and her BlackBerry in the other, tweeting, reading or doing something quirky and clumsy for the sake of getting that next big story.

She's incredibly grateful to the amazing Toronto theatre community who have embraced her with open arms, giving her the greatest gift a little redheaded theatre geek could ever ask for - getting to be a part of this vibrant arts and culture scene. She may have never had the skills to be on the stage, but is thankful every day she gets to write about the inspiring people who do.

Headshot photo by Racheal McCaig

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