When Kettering native Ingersoll took on the starring role in a recent Chicago production of Tick, Tick… Boom!, Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss offered a bit of sound advice that would inadvertently catapult his career. In praise of Ingersoll’s performance, Weiss believed he should “start learning the score for Jersey Boys,” because he “might have a real shot at the hit show’s national tour.”Taking her valuable words to heart, Ingersoll quickly familiarized himself with the show, auditioned for the role of Frankie Valli in Chicago and New York, and ultimately won the role of bass vocalist Nick Massi in the first national tour of the electrifying 2006 Tony winner for Best Musical, based on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
In addition to learning how to play the bass guitar, Ingersoll, 28, said rehearsals have been an “intense challenge” since the music, choreography, staging, and tech preparations are being rehearsed together rather than separately. But the coaching he has received from Four Seasons tunesmith Bob Gaudio (who wrote such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man”) has been nothing short of surreal, in his estimation. He has particularly enjoyed the chance to dissect Massi’s introverted ambiguity (Massi is the only deceased member of the original quartet).
About Massi, Ingersoll said, ‘Nicky is fascinating and arguably the most complex character in the story. It’s also the character about which we have the least historical information. We believe now that he was likely obsessive-compulsive and quite literally a genius when it came to harmony. He heard everything in his head and taught each band member what to sing. The combination of his musical brilliance, his obsessive nature, and his reserved manner makes for a very intriguing character to watch. I love this role. I’m completely happy with the way things turned out, (but) I do find it funny that I went from auditioning for one of the highest male voices in American pop music history to singing bass.”
Ingersoll remains confident that the show will be just as strong on the road as its Broadway counterpart at New York’s August Wilson Theatre. He stated,”Jersey Boys tells a compelling, real-life story with a brilliant dramatic structure that is fleshed out with legendary music. The creative team didn’t start out with a list of songs and try to cobble a story together to substantiate their presentation in a theatrical setting. It is great storytelling, which is what great theater is all about.”