In the corporate world, employees leaving a job are asked to sit through a sometimes grueling "exit interview" about their time at the company. Although that concept doesn't exist for Broadway performers, we think it's fun to check in with stars as they finish up a successful run. Below, Jersey Boys star Andy Karl, who played his final performance as Tommy DeVito on December 1, looks back on why the show came crooning at the "perfect time," why the Four Seasons' dance steps aren't that simple and why he'll never smile while strapping on a guitar ever again.
Job You're Leaving:
Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys
Why are you leaving?
I am lucky enough to be playing Rocky Balboa in the new musical based on the film, opening at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre March 13, 2014. It's a show I'm really looking forward to doing and having everyone see.
Looking back, how did you feel when you first got the job?
Jersey Boys came at a perfect time. It had been a few months of me not working on anything, and I was looking for something challenging but also something I could connect well with. It was a great job that I really wanted. I was very happy to be cast.
How do you feel now that you’re leaving the job?
Sad that I'm leaving a great family, but also very satisfied with the work I did. I feel like I lived up to the excellent material and brought some new things too.
What are three words you would use to describe your experience at the job?
Family, confidence, fun.
What was the easiest thing about the job?
Finding something new and fresh every night.
What was the hardest thing?
Learning the "seemingly" simple dance steps. It was much harder to learn than I thought. Three pivots to the left, four sways to the right, guitar down-up, turn head left "Sherry Baby." Reverse it, but with two pivots and five sways and guitar side-side "Come Out Tonight." Don't forget to play the G7 chord on the off beat. (Brain Explodes.)
What was the highlight of your time at the job?
The friends I made. The cast really becomes a family, especially the Four Seasons. I can't imagine a cast of this show that doesn't get along. It would kill the dynamic and flow.
What skills do you think are required for future job applicants?
Confidence, playfulness and commitment. Tommy DeVito's character is the quote/unquote "villain" of the show. He's a gambler and shoots off at the mouth and he pushes the other guys around, but it's important to find the charm and the humor of this character. Tommy is a real person and luckily the script is written so well that it allows his humor and charm to come through while at the same time having a tough streak.
What advice would you give to future employees in your job position?
Please be careful when taking on and off an electric guitar for as many times as Tommy does in the show. I broke my two front teeth during a performance. I will never smile again while strapping on a guitar.
How do you think you’ve grown during your time at the job?
I have a greater appreciation for the history of characters, how they grew up and where they come from. The Four Seasons had such a colorful history in how they got to the top. Some of that isn't on the page but it plays an important role in the dynamics of each character. I will bring more of that to every role from now on.
What will you miss most about the job?
The fans of the show and the thrill in the faces of people who loved watching Jersey Boys and came back again and again.