By Jordan Barbeau
For any up-and-coming stage actor, making it to the Big Apple to perform on Broadway is the ultimate fantasy that drives everything you do. For Carlos Valdes, this fantasy became a reality. An University of Michigan graduate with a passion for arts, he has devoted his life to theater, tirelessly pursuing his dream with a passion that eventually led him where every stage actor dreams of going – New York City.
Playing at The Fox Theatre through June 10, Carlos’s most recent production, the Broadway Across America tour production of JERSEY BOYS, takes audiences back in time almost half a century, chronicling the rise and fall of the famous pop rock quartet, The Four Seasons. In JERSEY BOYS¸ Carlos is a swing actor; instead of having a set role, he is tasked with knowing several of the songs throughout the entire play, and must take the stage to perform these tracks in the event that one of the other actors cannot.
As any actor will tell you, it is impossible to go into every role with the exact same mindset. Every role is drastically different, and if you don’t place yourself in your character’s shoes, the performance will not feel as authentic. Carlos is no stranger to this. He admitted that performing a role from so long ago was difficult, simply because he had never experienced this time period in his own life.
This challenge did not impede his success, however; to prepare for such a role, Carlos says he immersed himself in the music and events of the 1960s. He studied the voice and personality of Frankie Valli, the lead singer of the Four Seasons and one of the show’s main characters. Carlos pointed out that there is a certain timelessness to the music, and that while he did not grow up in the ‘60s, the music is so easy for anyone to connect to that the transition felt smooth and natural.
When asked why he pursued JERSEY BOYS, Carlos had nothing but praise and adoration for the show. He says that JERSEY BOYS is an incredibly well-constructed show, weaving great songs into a gruff, authentic Jersey story. He states that music has such a powerful ability to conjure memories in the listener, and as such, the audience does not simply watch a play; they experience and relive an entire era, a saga from start to finish.
It is not a secret that no work, no matter how good and no matter what medium, can appeal to every single audience. When asked about how a show that takes place almost 50 years in the past would appeal to younger, more modern audiences, Carlos was confident that audiences would have no problem connecting with the play. “I think the difference in the times is actually one of the main appeals of the show,” he says. Despite the fact that many audience members may not have experienced these times, or even heard of the Four Seasons, Carlos believes that the theme of constant change that the show embraces can relate to anyone, assuring a strong connection with the audience.
As a native of Cobb County, Carlos is returning to his hometown for the first time in his professional career. During JERSEY BOYS’ May 22-June 10 run at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Carlos says he is sure to return to his old stomping grounds, such as Marietta Square or Kennesaw Mountain.
Tickets to JERSEY BOYS are available at the Fox Theatre Box Office or online here.