Interview: Karl James Wilson

After watching Jersey boys, and falling in love with the entire production – I practically jumped at the chance to interview one of the cast members, and with that, I interviewed Karl James Wilson and talked all things Jersey Boys, Acting and favourite cities! See what went down in the interview below.

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Hey Karl! You’re currently on a UK Tour with Jersey Boys, how is that? 

It’s amazing, I get to see so many different places whilst working so I guess that’s pretty lucky.

Do you have a favourite thing about the Jersey Boys tour? 

My favourite thing… hmmm… I guess being able to share this experience/incredible show with so many different audiences all over the UK. Also, I’m lucky to have a very lovely and very talented cast, which is always a bonus!

Lots of actors and performers have a ritual before they go on stage, do you have anything you do? 

If I’m honest, not really. We are called to get into costumes 35 minutes before the show goes up and I normally take that time just to relax and get ready for the next 2 and a half hours. There’s normally music on in my dressing room too.

Obviously, you have travelled to a few cities and have plenty more to come, do you have a favourite city to perform in or one that you’re looking forward to the most? 

Now with a show like this, it doesn’t matter where you are. The crowd are invited to be very vocal/sing along as it switches from play to almost a concert throughout the show. My favourite place will probably be Ireland, I love it there it’s beautiful, I have got a lot of memories from there too, so it’s pretty close to my heart. But generally, where ever we go I expect the audiences will be really up for it!

Jersey Boys is somewhat of a musical biography of the Four Seasons, do you have a song that you connect to more than the other songs, making it one of your favourites to perform?

Now, this is a tricky one, and changes daily!! At first Walk Like A Man was my absolute favourite, just because we’ve had a sequence of numbers and this is the pinnacle of that section. Then Cry For Me, because it’s the first time the four boys (Frankie, Bob, Tommy and Nick) sing together and it’s just them singing a beautiful song, nothing too fancy and nothing too clever just 4 boys really singing. Beggin and Oh What a Night are also in there, again if I’m honest there isn’t a song I don’t like in the show.

Is performing something that you’ve always wanted to do?

I started performing very early on. At the age of 4, I was at my local performing arts school, as a kid I was always bouncing around the house, copying Michael Jackson’s moves, trying to sing like Freddie Mercury or pretending I was James Bond so my Mum enrolled me straight away. I love what I do and I am very lucky to call it my career, it’s such a great profession to work in. Yes, it has its ups and downs, but when the work comes along there truly is no profession more rewarding or uplifting.

Acting is an extremely hard profession to get in and to be successful within, do you have any tips for any budding actors who are trying to break through?

Persevere!!! It is a very tough profession, but anything great in life will never come easy. Work your arse off, whether you are just starting out or you are at drama school and about to graduate, work work work. Also another good one, which you’ve mentioned “to be successful” if you look the word successful up in the dictionary you will see – accomplishing a desired aim or result – make sure YOU are the one that decides how successful YOU are and be HAPPY with that, everyone’s view of success is different. My ambition is massive and my goals are nowhere near met, but my view of success is to be working in this career for the rest of my life, no matter the nature of the work because no job lasts forever.

What has been the highlight of your professional career? 

It’s between 2, All my family seeing me as Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing and also them seeing me as Nick Massi in Jersey Boys. They’ve been there from day one, seen the struggle for years and also seen the work and dedication I’ve put it, after the show to see that pride in them (plus usually loads of tears) really is an incredible feeling. But again fingers crossed it changes and hopefully will continue to change as my career grows.

Finally, to all everyone reading this, who has supported you on tour, have you got a special message for them? 

Well to my Mum, James, Ben, Victoria, Nicola, all my family and friends you know how much a value your love and support and you know how much I love you all, thank you for everything you do!

I also want to thank, some of the people I have met on the road, followers of the show or just general theatre lovers. Two/nearly three years I’ve been on the road now, and meeting you all at the stage door and hearing how much you’ve enjoyed the show and our performances, is such a joy. So again thank you for that. Oh, and the fantastic presents you get me!

Come and see Jersey Boys we are all over the UK for the next 15 months! www.jerseyboysuktour.com

Make sure you follow Karl on Twitter here!

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