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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Actor Daniel Robert Sullivan Talks Theater and His Book!

Dear U.G. readers! Adding delicious spice (and "cheese") to the bloggoriffic concoction that is the U.G. Blog, guest blogger Daniel Robert Sullivan -- veteran actor, writer extraordinaire, and author of Places, Please! (Becoming A Jersey Boy) (which takes you behind-the-scenes of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys) -- is here to tell you all about his book!

Sounds like something you guys might like, right????????

(Also, he and I are both from Rhode Island! What are the odds? I'll tell you what they are: low.)

So, without further ado, heeeeeere's Danny!

* * *

The first big Broadway musical I ever saw was the 1st National tour of Starlight Express at the Providence Performing Arts Center. It changed me, but not in the way you might expect.

Little Danny Sullivan (I’m “Daniel Robert Sullivan” now, but back then my name was much more diminutive) didn’t need inspiration to pursue a life in the theatre; that had happened three years prior on opening night as tin soldier Colonel Cuddy in the Christmas pageant. No, little Danny Sullivan needed information. Little Danny Sullivan wanted details. Little Danny Sullivan wanted to know exactly how to get a job like this.

I offer my sincere thanks to Felicia for allowing me to guest on this WICKED COOL blog, but I offer her even more thanks for writing a book that is designed to help aspiring artists understand what it is really like day-to-day to perform in shows like this. Unnaturally Green is exactly the kind of book I would have devoured during my early days, and I hope its readers might enjoy a similar story from a different musical: Places, Please! (Becoming A Jersey Boy). I know the title is cheesy. But I’m pretty cheesy, too.

Somewhere deep in my two years auditioning for a lead role in Jersey Boys, I realized that I was in a position to write the thing I most wanted to read when I was coming up: an extremely detailed account of what it’s like to audition and rehearse a mega-musical. I read all the books about performing I could get my hands on back then, but none dove down deep into the things I wanted to know.

Who is in the room at the twelfth callback? How many pages of scenes are there to learn? What is a “harmony audition?” What kind of combinations are at the dance calls? How many actors are called back each time? How many onstage rehearsals before opening? What kind of notes are given by the PSM, dance captain, conductor, fight captain, associate director, and production supervisor? What is it like to have real fans at the stage door every night? Does anyone tire of their role after 500 performances?

Places, Please! (Becoming A Jersey Boy) attempts to answer all of these questions, just like Unnaturally Green does. Felicia does it with humor, I do it with cheese... And what’s more, both of us deal with, and attempt to be honest about, the emotional upheaval that comes with connecting relationships to work.

Felicia and I are blessed to have had the luck we’ve had with our respective shows, and I hope her readers might embrace my story like they’ve embraced hers. We have both been given a tremendous gift in the performing side of our careers. And I am proud to be in the small group of people who has been allowed to put the journey towards this gift down on paper with hopes of providing a little inspiration.

(Really cheesy ending coming now.)

Dream big. You just might succeed.

(That was the cheesy ending. Thanks for reading. Rock on.)

Places Please! (Becoming A Jersey Boy) is available here:

Find Daniel Robert Sullivan on Facebook here:

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