Broadway World Interview: Joseph Leo Bwarie
Get ready to walk like a man (or woman), Omaha! The Tony Award winning musical based on The Four Seasons, Jersey Boys, is heading to the Orpheum Theatre this Sept for 3 weeks of performances.
This week, BroadwayWorld in Omaha columnist, Analisa Swerczek, had the opportunity to speak with Joseph Leo Bwarie (pronounced Bw-airy, like in Sherry), a man referred to by friend and former Jersey Boys castmate, Sarah Pfeifer, as “one of the classiest and most generous guys... He is an expert in the kitchen, and can free style rap to the beat of "Oh What a Night" better than 50 Cent.” Joseph, who plays Frankie Valli in the national tour of Jersey Boys, shared about his career, his new CD, and this Tony Award winning musical.
Hi Joseph! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for BroadwayWorld in Omaha!
Having grown up in Southern California, how did performing become part of your life?
I grew up in Sherman Oaks, CA, right over the hill from Hollywood, so I actually had the opportunity to work professionally from a very young age. As a really young kid and teenager I would literally go sing at Capital Records, and Paramount, and NBC for television and for film, among other recording projects. It was a really neat time in my life. I didn’t excel in sports -- I’m a short guy. But I was a singer. I’ve always been a singer. Growing up, I was able to take advantage of the different children’s groups and high school choirs and theatre performances available to me. That was really the foundation for me figuring out what I wanted to do. It was trial and error. I mean, you’ve got to really like this field of the entertainment business. High school is where I was really given the opportunity to decide whether or not this was something I wanted to continue on to college to study and to pursue as a career. And look at me now. I guess I did alright in choosing this as my career.
I’ve see that you have made appearances in films such as Raising Helen, The Princess Diaries 2, and Valentine’s Day, among other movies. Is film acting something you wish to pursue further as a career, or where do you see your career headed after Jersey Boys?
I think at this point in my career I’m really going to be focusing on my music. As for doing more film - until I’m actually in the film, I would say that I’d love for some of my music to be in the film, because then you’re still a part of it. You’re still a part of the collaborative process, which is great. But music is what I want to pursue further. I actually just released my debut CD, Nothin’ But Love, in late June of this year. It’s available through my website, www.josephleobwarie.com, or on www.CDbaby.com. I’m hoping people will get a chance to purchase my CD and get to know me better through my music. That’s what I really want to put my energy into.
That’s got to be one of the great things about touring in a production like Jersey Boys; giving the audience the opportunity to see you not only as a character in a musical, but also the chance to get to know you as a singer.
Definitely. When I’m performing as Frankie, I do my best to really recreate his signature style for the audience. But that’s his signature style – my sound is different. They will hear that on the CD.