Adam Bailey is currently playing Bob Gaudio in the Jersey Boys West End revival at the Trafalgar Theatre, with the show booking until October this year, and during his time in the musical so far, he has performed at West End Live, the Royal Albert Hall and on This Morning. Before joining Jersey Boys, Adam was Swing in The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and he covered the roles of Elder Price (making his West End debut) and Joseph Smith. In 2018, Adam was part of the National Tour of Dusty – The Dusty Springfield Musical, and his previous work has included playing Munkustrap in CATS, Felicia/Adam in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and he was in the casts of Starlight Express, TABOO and Chicago. We spoke to Adam about playing Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys, his time in The Book of Mormon and performing in CATS as Munkustrap.
You are currently in the West End revival of Jersey Boys at Trafalgar Theatre, what is the show like to be part of?
I honestly feel really lucky to be part of such an amazing show. The music is so iconic and the reaction from the audiences is just electric.
How did it feel booking your role of Bob Gaudio and what is he like to portray?
I was shocked to say the least. I was originally auditioning for a different role (Bob Crewe), who would cover Bob Gaudio. When my agent called me and told me I’d booked Bob Gaudio, I corrected him and said “you mean Bob Crewe?” to which he replied “No – Bob Gaudio”. And the rest is history! Gaudio is an incredible role. Of the four leads he’s the most reserved and level-headed which is a really interesting through line as when all the drama and yelling is happening around me, I’m the one who takes it all in and tries to be a voice of reason and balance. He has some real fun sections and some really tender moments which I really love to portray.
Is there anything that originally drew you to the production and why would you recommend seeing the musical?
What drew me to this show was, of course, the amazing music but more than that was the script. Some “jukebox musicals” end up having weaker scripts as they try to weave different songs into the narrative but this felt like a play with songs. As much as I love singing and music, my real passion lies in telling people’s stories.
What is it like seeing the audience reaction to Jersey Boys and The Four Seasons music?
The show is funny because it kind of tricks the audience into thinking it’s going to be something quite different. The first song you hear is Oh What a Night but sung/rapped in French. It’s meant to kind of jolt the audience and make them wonder what they’ve signed up for. But as soon as Sherry, Big Girls and Walk Like a Man happen, the audience go nuts. It’s so much fun seeing them all singing along and enjoying themselves.
Have you had any stand-out moments from your time in Jersey Boys so far?
Our opening night was pretty crazy. As was my Zoom call with the REAL Bob Gaudio. As was performing at West End Live, the Royal Albert Hall and on This Morning! After not performing for a year and a half because of the pandemic and all the things we had to do just to survive, getting back on stage and doing what I trained my whole life to do just feels like a total gift. And I remind myself how lucky I am every single day.
Prior to joining Jersey Boys, you were Swing and covered the roles of Elder Price and Joseph Smith in The Book of Mormon, can you tell us about some of the roles you performed as and how was your experience as a Swing?
I made my West End debut as Elder Price, which was pretty insane. I had an adrenaline come down and a MASSIVE headache for about two days after it!! I ended up doing over a hundred shows as Price alone in my first year on Mormon. I loved being a swing, mostly because I loved my other swings and we had such a good time together. I’d also never swung before so I enjoyed that challenge. Never underestimate how hard it is to be a swing. It’s exhausting! Swings are the backbone of our industry and I believe everyone should swing at least once to really know what it’s like.
Do you have any favourite memories from your time at the Prince of Wales Theatre?
My favourite memories were probably in Dressing Room 6 with my swing boys playing cards on the odd show we weren’t on stage. We laughed until our faces ached.
In 2018, you joined the National Tour of Dusty – The Dusty Springfield Musical as Morgan, what was this like to do?
This was a very interesting experience. Equal parts stressful and exciting. I loved creating the role of Morgan. I was the first person to bring those scenes and songs to life in front of an audience and so it will always be a special one to me. We worked really hard on that production but unfortunately some things just don’t come together so it never came into the West End like we hoped. However, if it had, I wouldn’t have been available for Mormon so – you know – swings and roundabouts!
As part of the South Korean Tour of CATS, what was Munkustrap like to play and what did you enjoy most about being part of the show?
Munkustrap was one of my favourite roles to date. CATS was one of those shows that I always wanted to tick off the list. I’d auditioned for it a couple of times before and the last time I went in to audition for it, the next day I could barely walk from the dancing. I said to myself “I’m getting too old to dance like this. If I don’t get it this time, then this will just have to be one show that I put to bed”. Luckily I booked it and had one of the best years of my career. I got to travel all over South Korea and Taiwan and made friends for life!
What was Felicia/Adam like to play in Priscilla Queen of the Desert and can you tell us about your time in the musical?
Felicia was kind of my big break. I’d only been in the business for about three years and kept getting right down to finals for things but I think that a lot of shows thought I was still too green to lead a massive production like this. I had A LOT of auditions for this role, it was kind of a nightmare audition process honestly, and was even offered (and accepted) first cover Felicia. I was then brought back in for a THIRD FINAL where the musical supervisor made me sing Hot Stuff and the 11 o’clock number Confide in Me about ten times in a row. After the last time I was exhausted and flippantly said “need me to do it again or is that enough?”. He agreed that was enough and offered me a cup of tea! Next day I got the call that kind of changed my life.
Is there anything you remember most from performing in Starlight Express in Germany and what was it like to work on?
Mostly what I remember is that learning the entire show in German was easier than learning to be a professional skater. I covered the three leads Rusty, Elektra and Greaseball and was swapping between them constantly which is really tough on your body and voice. That show is HARD. But it taught me a lot and gave me a thick skin – and a lot of bruises.
Can you tell us about some of the other projects you’ve been involved with over the years, which have included TABOO and Chicago?
TABOO was my professional debut and was an incredible experience. It was a total trial by fire. I was plucked out of drama school, given a lead role surrounded by incredible actors and it was just kind of sink or swim. I’m really thankful that this incredible team took a chance on me when I was just a baby!
Chicago was one of the best productions I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. This was the Leicester Curve production and I did just one audition and they didn’t send any of us up for the role of Mary Sunshine the song that they needed us to sing! So I went in, sight-read a little of it by the piano… then the director Paul Kerryson said “ok now just sing something you love, anything you want, your favourite song to take to auditions”. So I sang a song called Flight, which is completely wrong for Chicago! I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks so thought I’d obviously not got it and ended up accepting a pantomime. Then my agent called me sounding very perplexed and told me they’d like me to play Mary Sunshine. It was so weird. It turned out Drew McOnie who was choreographing had seen me in TABOO and from that felt like he’d seen enough and they decided to cast me! Performing Paul and Drew’s reimagining of this incredible show was one of my career highlights.
Where does your love of theatre come from and what encouraged you to train at Laine Theatre Arts?
My love of theatre is probably down to my high school. We were arts funded and had incredible facilities including a full auditorium where we staged our musicals. I always auditioned for leads in the school shows and never got one until my final year of sixth form when I was cast as Galileo in We Will Rock You. I was the first person to ever perform this role in the schools version which is pretty nuts. My music teacher was rehearsing me on all of my solos one day and after we finished she looked up at me and said “you might just be the best singer we have ever had come out of this school”. I was gobsmacked. I had watched so many talented people perform in the school shows over the years and been in complete awe of so many of them. Some of them going on to train professionally! She made me believe I could really do it. That I could be good enough to do it professionally.
I auditioned for drama schools for two years and didn’t get into any of them. I then went to a dance college in Swindon (because my friends were) and they said I should audition for Laines. I’d honestly never heard of it because it was predominantly a dance school and I was more a singer actor. Not only is it the only place I got offered, but I received a full scholarship on the day! And the rest is history.
Do you have any favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
I love watching theatre, I don’t get much opportunity if I’m in a show but I see as much as I can. I have too many favourites to name, honestly, and they’re constantly changing with the new shows opening. I love new writing, always have.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
This career is kind of 24/7. You’re constantly looking after your voice, your body, your mind! So if I have time off I love to travel. I’m actually typing this as I’m on a (very delayed) flight to Athens! I’m single so I often go away on my own and love to just get lost in new cities. Other than that, if I’ve got a couple of hours free, all I want to do is drink coffee with my friends and go out for nice meals! I also love the other side of the business so I sometimes help out casting directors with auditions and I want to start exploring different avenues like directing alongside my acting. I’m very lucky to say I’ve ticked off most things I wanted to do in my performing career but I’ve got a lot of things I still want to do within the industry on the creative side. Watch this space!
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