‘Jersey Boys’ star Jarrod Spector hitting new high notes

Broadway favorite Jarrod Spector brings his contemporary cabaret act to San Francisco this week. COURTESY PHOTO
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Jarrod Spector is living the busy New York actor’s life, dashing from theaters to studios and back again.

“When you’re here, there’s constantly shows in development and readings. It’s a steady stream of new stuff,” says the Tony-nominated performer, who fits in the extracurricular activities while appearing eight times a week as songwriter Barry Mann in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” on Broadway.

Spector appeared in San Francisco in 2007 during an extended run of “Jersey Boys” at the Curran, which was the launching pad for “Beautiful” in 2013.

It’s not so surprising, then, that his week-long, contract-defined vacation from “Beautiful” is a busman’s holiday back to The City to play his cabaret act – “A Little Help from My Friends” – for two performances at Feinstein’s this week.

“It’s really exciting to get out there and do my own thing now,” says the Philadelphia native.

Part of San Francisco’s allure is, no surprise, the food. “One of my favorite restaurants is Burma Superstar.” He also enjoyed walking the Embarcadero waterfront and taking advantage of The City’s easy proximity to places like Muir Woods and Napa.

Playing real and still-living characters like Mann and Frankie Valli has been “a blessing” in terms of the ability to research and study his subject in real time. “I can look at pictures and watch video to capture how they move and speak,” he says.

He can also have them come and see him perform, which brings an interesting pressure. “Am I representing them in the proper light?” he asks both rhetorically and literally.

“That’s really dependent on the script,” he answers. “We all see ourselves the way we see ourselves. So you have to trust that the author has written a reasonable representation of this person at this point in their life.” Happily, he’s gotten warm praise from both subjects.

The impetus for “My Friends” came from his observations of the multi-generational fan base of the Four Seasons waiting for him nightly at the stage door during his time in “Jersey Boys” on Broadway.

“It was a huge demographic from 8 to 80,” he recalls. “That’s a rare thing nowadays. As I spoke to people I learned that – from Bruno Mars to Michael Jackson, all the way back to Enrico Caruso – every generation, every decade had their Frankie Valli, their rock tenor. That’s what the show is about.”

It’s also about expanding the genre of cabaret. “It can’t just be Irving Berlin and Cole Porter,” Spector says. “It has to encompass songs that are relevant to the people in the audience today.”

IF YOU GO

Jarrod Spector
Where: Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 220 Mason St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. June 25-26
Tickets: $35 to $50
Contact: (866) 663-1063, www.ticketweb.com

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