Five Burning Questions with Jersey Boys Star Michael Lomenda
July 13th, 2016
by Josh Ferri
Michael Lomenda makes a killer Broadway debut as Nick Massi in the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys, revisiting the role he famously played in the original Canadian company, first national tour, and Clint Eastwood film adaptation.
Below, BroadwayBox talks to the Canadian transplant about the secrets of Jersey Boys movie, his rant against senseless rudeness, and falling in love young.
1. The Nick Massi rant is one of the highlights of Jersey Boys. What gets you so impassioned you could do a big Massi rant?
Ha! Senseless Rudeness. I want to preface this story by saying anyone who knows me knows I’m a pretty chill balanced guy, but sometimes rude folks gotta be told.
So, if you’ve spent any time in the Chinook Mall parking lot in Calgary, Alberta, you’ve certainly marveled at one of humankind’s most monumental failures in urban planning. It’s the worst.
I’m trying to get out of the lot and hesitate for a millisecond at the intersection. Enter Demon Lady, who lays on her horn, whips around beside me just long enough to flip the bird and scream the F-word over her kids head so loud I can hear it plain as day through both our rolled-up windows, then cuts me off.
I take a second to shake off the extra strength road rage, then calmly pull up behind DL—we’re both turning right onto jam-packed Macleod Trail. Then I watch her speed ahead and, for the next 20 minutes in bumper to bumper, careen between lanes like a maniac. Then she’s gone.
I crawl along in traffic until my turn at Heritage. I move into the turning lane and lo and behold, there DL is in front of me, turning too. And so we turn and then she turns AGAIN at my next turn—let it be known, I was blocks away from my house at this point and NOT following her.
Then she turns into a Police Station parking lot.
Now, I believe things happen for a reason and so, at this point, in my infinite wisdom, I think to myself, “She’ll feel safe in this Police parking lot, so I can get out and calmly let her know that her road rage sucks.” So I park far away from her, get out, and, from a distance, call over to her as she gets out of her car.
“Hey, I’m the guy back there that you gave the finger to and screamed ‘F—you!’ at. Just wanted to say that wasn’t cool, especially in front of your kid.”
She barks, “Who the hell are you? The moral police?!”
I say, “No, I just think it’s not a particularly human way of being and I hope that maybe next time you’ll think twice about being so rude.”
Then, I get back into my car and go to pull out of the lot, but a cop bangs on my hood, and wants to ask me some questions, but not inside the stations since there is an upset Demon Lady (my words, not his) in there, so would I, “Please step out of the car.”
I did, of course, and he asks me a bunch of questions but won’t make eye contact with me (which I later learned is a tension diffusing technique cops use when they suspect a person is volatile!) and after a while, I finally say, “Look officer, honestly, she’s just mad ‘cause I’m the only one who’s ever called her on her road rage.”
He looks at me. Smiles. And he says, “Have a nice day, sir.”
So, yeah. Senselessly rude folks beware. Also, this may be one of the most Canadian stories ever told.
2. Speaking of the most Canadian things ever, have you found great Poutine in NYC? Where do you go?
Jacob’s Pickles on the UWS does one, but I don’t think they use the all-important cheese curds. S.V.P, send me your suggestions, eh?!
3. Tell us a secret about the Jersey Boys movie.
There’s a scene is the film where the four of us go to a party at Bob Crewe’s swanky apartment and it’s full of artsy types—Nick ends up chatting with two flirty twins in cat suits—the room was packed with crew and all of us party goers including Mr. Eastwood, in the mix, with his handheld monitor.
At one point the camera was swinging around to get reaction shots from the party goers and The Boss was in the frame. It was too packed in the room for him to get out of the way, so, instead, Eastwood, at 86 years young, dove under the big white grand piano. 15 minutes later, after they got all their shots, he popped out from under the piano and wrapped the party scene to massive applause.
Scene's a little different knowing Dirty Harry is hiding out under the piano, right?
4. You wear a wedding ring but there’s nothing online about your spouse. What’s your favorite thing to do in the city together?
We like to hang out in the park with our pooch, Sulley, check out art galleries and coffee shops, try new restaurants and explore NYC’s diverse neighborhoods, bar hop looking for the best old fashioned, all the regular life stuff. We got married Boxing Day, 2014 but we met when we were 18 and 21, respectively. On our first “date” I said, “You know, I can see myself marrying someone like you someday.” And here we are almost 15 years later. We've been through it all together, and a lot of people say this, but, truly, I am the luckiest man in the universe.
5. Your bucket list includes hiking Machu Picchu, cooking seafood gumbo, becoming a dad, and recording a solo album. What cover track has to be on your first solo album?
Martin Sexton’s “Can’t Stop Thinking ‘Bout You” AND/OR
“I Fall in Love Too Easily”—Chet Baker’s take AND/OR
“I’m Gonna Live Till I Die”—Sinatra’s version is smokin'!
See Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi in 'Jersey Boys' at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre.