Beginning Jan. 24, pop star Nick Jonas, 19, will join the cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, but loyal fans and longtime theatregoers know that Broadway musicals are old hat for the youngest member of the Jonas Brothers. Shortly after his Main Stem debut as Little Jake in Annie Get Your Gun in 2001, he played Chip in Beauty and the Beast and Gavroche in Les Misérables. Currently scheduled to star as How to Succeed's wily window washer J. Pierrepont Finch through July 1 opposite new cast additions Beau Bridges and Michael Urie, the former Disney Channel denizen explains how to succeed in show business — with or without reaching puberty.
Although How to Succeed is your fourth Broadway outing, it's your first since you've become an international pop star. Does it feel different this time around?
Nick Jonas: There is a bit of pressure, especially because it's my first leading role, but it's a good pressure that's inspiring me to do the best I can every performance. I see this experience as a homecoming. I was blessed to have done and become passionate about theatre at a young age, and I love that I could transition into recording music and touring, but I feel honored to be able to come back to Broadway.
Aside from your work with the Jonas Brothers, you also front the band Nick Jonas and the Administration. Will it be difficult to put your music on the back burner for the next six months?
NJ: The great thing about the Broadway schedule is that most shows during the week are at night, so I'll have those days to create, and I'm sure that playing this role and being onstage will inspire me.
Finch is characterized by his ambition, to which you can probably relate as a performer who has worked steadily since childhood.
NJ: Absolutely. He's very driven, and that's what I love most about the character. What's so brilliant is that he does get around some things as he climbs his way up the ladder to success, but he never really lies. He's a bit mischievous, but he has an honest heart.
What else have you discovered about Finch in rehearsals?
NJ: The interesting thing I've been learning about Finch is about how he keeps his outward thoughts directly in conversation. The statements he makes in the business world are what he maybe thinks he should be saying, and they're usually something your grandfather might've told you when you were younger, like, "I don't think a man should trade on a friendship for a job," and all these other Finchisms, as I like to call them. It's been exciting to find those moments and really underline them as important colors to the character.
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