BWW Interview: Broadway's Jarrod Spector On His New Solo Show, (CON)ARTIST & The Process of Self-Discovery
Tony Award nominee, Jarrod Spector, will debut his new solo show, (con)artist, this April and treat fans to a special night of music and storytelling -- diving into his career journey and the artists that have influenced his path. From his early days on Star Search to his years on stage portraying some of music's biggest superstars, Spector will share his secrets and shed light on the biggest discovery of all - finding his own voice along the way.
BroadwayWorld had the opportunity to catch up with Spector before he takes the stage next week about putting this new solo show together; his personal highlights from The Cher Show; and the Sonny and Cher song that sums up this exciting time in his life!
What has been the best part about putting this new solo show, (con)artist, together?
I've really enjoyed planning for this new show and I'm so grateful for nights like this - a chance to celebrate the roles I've played and have the opportunity to just be myself on stage. The songs will be really fun and high-energy, and this will be the biggest band I've ever had. I'm looking forward to people coming out and just having a good time!
The funny thing about (con)artist is that I've been doing this my whole life. My parents were fans of Bobby Darin and Barry Manilow and growing up, I learned all of the songs and in a sense, have always been a pretender. To my parents, I was these performers. As I've gone through my professional career, it has been a unique challenge to find my own sense of self, as I've become other real people. I've had to think a lot about where I fit in and who I want to be and concerts like this give me that very opportunity.
Thinking back on your iconic roles on Broadway and the impact they've made on music history, what is your artistic process like for stepping into the shows of a real-life person?
I actually start out the same way as you would tackle a fictional character - getting to the core of a protagonist or antagonist. I've been very grateful to play these real-life icons in music, like a Sonny Bono [The Cher Show], a Frankie Valli [Jersey Boys], or a Barry Mann [Beautiful: The Carole King Musical]. When it comes to these portrayals, fans have specific expectations and it's my job to layer in the real person with each role. Currently, being a part of The Cher Show, it's my responsibility to look like Sonny, talk like Sonny, move like Sonny, etc. - you have to give the people what they want!
It has been a rare and special privilege to take on these roles three times in a row. I've learned so much from each artist and would say that Barry Mann has been the closest to me in terms of my own energy.
Can you talk about what you have you found most surprising and interesting about Sonny?
Through my research and hearing stories about Sonny, it's been so fascinating to learn about his humble beginnings and the fact that he had no formal music training. He was such a prolific songwriter and wrote really catchy tunes.
He is also such an underrated comedian. I am always so impressed by his ability to put his ego aside and willingly set up so many jokes that poked fun at himself in front of millions on national TV, for the success of the show.
While this famous couple had their challenges, I'm also amazed by how much love and respect they had for each other - until the end. While we live in a different world now, it's my job to understand Sonny and recognize that he grew up in a different time, where the man controlled the business and the money. Cher is and was so incredibly strong and they really did complement each other - there is really no one without the other.
If you could pick one Sonny and Cher song to sum up this time in your life, what would it be and why?
While it's not easy to choose, I would have to go with "Good Combination." It's such a wonderful reminder that no matter what Sonny and Cher faced, they had each other. I think about this a lot while performing with Stephanie J. Block, Micaela Diamond, and Teal Wicks - our three amazing Chers - as we go through the show knowing that we have each other to rely on.
I also think about my wife, Kelli [Barrett], when listening to the lyrics - they are just so sweet and make me grateful for our journey!
The one-night-only event will take place at Sony Hall (235 West 46th Street) on Monday, April 15 at 8:00 PM. Tickets are now on sale at https://www.sonyhall.com/shows/2019/jarrod-spector.