BWW Interview: Matthew Dailey Talks JERSEY BOYS
BroadwayWorld San Francisco spoke with Matthew Dailey about his time on the road with "Jersey Boys," which opens Wednesday evening and plays through February 14 at SHN's Orpheum Theatre. Matthew plays Tommy DeVito, one of the original "Four Seasons." Read our full interview below, then visit www.shnsf.com for tickets and information.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with BroadwayWorld San Francisco about "Jersey Boys." How long have you been on the road with the show?
I've been doing it for a year now.
You first saw "Jersey Boys" when you were still in high school. How does it feel to be playing a lead in the show years after seeing it as a student?
It feels very surreal. It's such a neat experience. Even after a year of being one the road doing it, it still doesn't feel real.
That the show is still on tour is a testament to its popularity. What makes this musical so lasting?
It's a combination of things. It's the classic rags to riches tale. Watching them rise to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the pinnacle of every musician's dream. It has everything it takes to make a Hollywood blockbuster. It's got mob ties, drugs, sex, rock and roll. And if you take the script away, you're left with this incredible soundtrack that these guys left behind. If you put it all together, you get this great musical that's been on Broadway for 10 years now and is going strong.
Taking these songs and using them to create a show about the artists must make for an interesting experience. I imagine it's helpful for getting into character.
It's different. I've never done anything quite like it before. It adds a humanistic quality to it, knowing that you're portraying these guys, playing their lives as they were creating this music.
What are some of the songs highlighted in the show?
It's got everything. The thing I remember from the first time I saw the show, I didn't really know who Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were, but after sitting in the show, every song, it was hit after hit, and I was like, "I know this song. I know that song." You know, it's got everything. It's got "Sherry," "Walk Like a Man," "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You," "Oh, What a Night." The hits just keep coming all night long.
The Four Seasons isn't exactly your generation, and the opening song seems to understand that as it draws you back in time. What kind of research did you have to do to understand this real life person and his times?
It's a lot of research into the neighborhood that these guys grew up in and the time period. I didn't necessarily grow up listening specifically to this genre of music, but I did know 75 percent of the songs. It's music that has transcended multiple generations and decades, and it will be around forever. People still love it. People still listen to it. It's still very relevant.
The idea of "four seasons" is somewhat incorporated into the show. What are some of the seasons your character goes through on his journey?
What's neat about the setup of this show versus other shows is it's the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, so each of the four of us get the chance to narrate the show. So I start the show off. My season is called Spring. It's the birth of the group. And then we get to Summer, which kind of goes through the high point of the group when they're living the dream and they're the rock stars. And then there's the Fall of the group. It goes through the demise of the group. And then that leaves us with winter, which Frankie tells, which is kind of more his solo career he takes on once the group kind of crumbles.
The recording music industry and theatre aren't too far apart. Do you relate to some of the struggles presented in the show?
Yes and no. I think probably more so since I am on the road doing the show telling the story of these guys who were on the road making music. They talk in the show about the hotel rooms are all the same, the bars are getting smaller and smaller. You find that going hotel to hotel over time. But, at the same time, it's kind of life imitating art or art imitating life. We can really relate to the things they talk about like that.
You certainly seem to be in a good season of your life, coming from international tours to the touring cast of "Jersey Boys." How is life on the road treating you?
I really enjoy life on the road. You get to see all four corners of the country, the hidden gems.
You must become very close to your fellow Jersey Boys on the road.
We have a great time. It makes going to the theatre every night such a blast. It's like working with your friends. It's a lot of fun.
How do you work together as a group to make sure your vocal harmonies and onstage friendships are just as tight?
We still have rehearsal every once in a while. We keep it tight. As far as the relationship on stage, we actually, at this point, we are such good friends off stage that we don't necessarily have to work to define that, work to make it show on stage. It shows without us trying to show it.
Do you have your own sort of "Four Seasons" group of friends in life?
I have a core group of guys. I grew up in Denver I call when I'm in town. Like you said, everyone's got their own "Four Seasons."
What are your aspirations and dreams for the future?
I don't know. Being able to do this is such a high point that I'm certainly in no hurry to leave. I think right now I'm taking it a day at a time. I'll do it as long as it makes me happy.
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