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‘Jersey Boys’ actor David LaMarr talks about dreams, forging your own path

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
‘Jersey Boys’ actor David LaMarr talks about dreams, forging your own path
(L-R): Aaron De Jesue, Cory Jeacoma, Matthew Dailey and Kevin Hines star in “Jersey Boys.” (Photo: Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

“I fell in love with the stage,” says actor David LaMarr, “and just being able to show up and just be a different person on stage — but also give everything that you have, and then leave people transformed.” Speaking by phone from a diner in Syracuse, New York, LaMarr, who was having chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, had just come off of opening night in his first Broadway national tour, “Jersey Boys.”

On the web

Broadway In Boston presents ‘Jersey Boys’ at the Boston Opera House beginning Tuesday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 16. For show times and tickets, call Ticketmaster at 800.982.2786 or visit

LaMarr, who plays Barry Belson, a role performed by Titus Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) on Broadway, also is part of the ensemble in the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical based about the life of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. “Jersey Boys” opens in Boston for a limited two-week run beginning Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The musical tells the true story of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi, four blue-collar guys from Newark, New Jersey, who became one of the biggest musical acts of all time, selling more than 100 million records worldwide.

Although Compton, California, and Newark, New Jersey may seem like two completely different worlds, LaMarr and the Four Seasons group have something in common — a love for singing and performing. “It’s kind of great to be part of a show that celebrates music and its creation,” says LaMarr. “It’s a universal story about how you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.”

Musical roots

He grew up singing in his grandfather’s church choir and listening to Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson, but it was when he auditioned for his high school musical that he was “bitten by the bug,” LaMarr recalls. He took music classes and learned to play the clarinet and saxophone. “I kind of fell in love with the sound you can make, even with your own voice,” he says.

Once he found his calling as a performer, LaMarr says he was determined to follow his dreams, despite his parents wanting him to follow a more traditional path, like going to college. As for striking out on his own, the 28-year-old says, “millennials are all about following their dreams.”

Like most working actors, LaMarr has struggled to achieve his dreams, “living off of water and cornbread,” but it’s been worth it, he says, because he’s been able to live in his truth.

Satisfying journey

A New Yorker since 2014, it’s taken him a decade to get to where he is now, but LaMarr is grateful for the opportunities he’s had. He has appeared in productions of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and “Mulan,” as well as in “Dreamgirls,” “Sister Act” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” He also has been able to travel across the country and around the world, singing and acting and making people feel good. And the best part about it is that he’s been able to be “honest, truthful, and most importantly himself,” all while pursuing his dreams.