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MHS alumnus joins ‘Jersey Boys’ for national tour

Jonathan Cable

By Emma Rausch

Manchester High School alumnus Jonathan Cable joined the cast of the “Jersey Boys” on national tour this August and will be coming to Wabash on Thursday, Oct. 19, for the musical’s Honeywell Center performance.

Cable and his family moved to North Manchester from Pennsylvania in 1994, the summer before his fourth grade year. It was in the Wabash County town that Cable explored all of his interests.

“I think of Indiana as the place where I was really able to pursue many different things,” Cable told The Paper of Wabash County. “I was able to be a very diverse kid and really explore different things that I enjoyed from sports to various musical pursuits, piano or singing.

“People think of it like a fly-over state. ‘Why would I want to live there?’ But it was a good place to grow up in terms of being able to explore various interests and I’m thankful for that.”

Cable’s path to theater began as a member of the summer Visual and Performing Arts program and the Manchester High School theater department as well as church and honors choirs.

“I would say my route into theatre was through music,” he said. “I started taking piano lessons when I was in first or second grade. I was in some choirs either with the church or with the school. I did the Circle the State with Song, all-state choirs elementary, middle school and high school. … There was the community theatre program down in Wabash and I started doing those shows.

“I enjoyed being on stage. I enjoyed performing. I enjoyed the people that were in the shows. That type of collaboration with people that were interested in creating that type of art. … I don’t know if there was a moment that I can remember thinking, ‘Hey I want to do shows,’ but it was just always something that I was interested in”

As a freshman at Manchester High School, Cable met educator Lani Christiansen, who directed the high school’s musicals at the time. Christiansen also gave Cable voice lessons.

“Lani led me down the path that I find myself traveling today,” Cable said, explaining that she was the first to suggest he could go to college for theater or vocal performance. “I didn’t know people went to college for performing arts at all and I certainly didn’t know if I was talented enough to pursue this life.”

However, nevertheless, he pursued the endeavor and attended Illinois Wesleyan University for a degree in music theatre. Through Wabash County’s variety of theater and music programs, Cable said he gained confidence and experience in the field before he made it a career goal.

“I mean you can go and take a theatre program, you can go to college and learn about the craft, but the only way to get better at doing anything, especially being an actor or being a singer on stage, is to do it,” he explained. “’Boots on the stage’ is kind of what they call it. Getting up there and learning how to respond to an audience and how to play onstage with other actors. Those shows in Wabash certainly gave me the confidence and the experience I needed to push me toward a career.”

After college, Cable moved to New York City to continue his career path, admittedly with “lots of ambition and very little money” to support himself.

“Obviously, it was a bit of a culture shock coming from a town of 6,000 people and moving into a city with 8 million,” Cable said, adding that NYC “drains your energy, your time and your wallet before you know it.”

Cable admitted that after 10 years of “moderate success” in smaller, regional theatre productions, it became easy to doubt his future in the acting business.

However, that changed in August when he auditioned for a role in “Jersey Boys.” Cable said that he is feeling “relieved that he persevered” to land his spot in the production.

“Jersey Boys” tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, offering a unique experience for the Broadway production’s cast with the actual members of the popular group, according to Cable.

“It’s cool because three of these guys are still alive,” he said. “Frankie and Tommy DeVito are still around and they weren’t very involved with our production, but with the Broadway production, they were very involved. Bob Gaudio coached our Frankie on tour on the music. They had a video session. Frankie will probably come see the show when we’re in (New) Jersey.

“It’s really cool and the creative team that we worked with, they have worked with Frankie and Bob with collaborating on this show. So it’s 1 degree of separation and it’s really cool to feel like this is an authentic story from their lives.”

Cable landed the role as swing, or understudy for two of the Four Seasons and two ensemble parts.

“So with my role, I don’t perform or I haven’t performed yet,” he said. “We’ve been on tour for two weeks and I haven’t gone on yet. It’s really in the of someone gets sick or someone takes a vacation or someone goes to a wedding or something like that, but my job is to know all four of these parts and jump in at any time.”

While not starting as a leading role, Cable said he’s excited for the opportunity to tour with the musical.

“It’s the stuff of anxiety nightmares, for sure, being thrust on stage before you’re ready and being expected to know almost half of the lines and music in the show,” he said, “but it has been a great honor learning this show from people who were involved with the Broadway production.”

Since the tour stop in Wabash will be like a homecoming for him, Cable said he hopes he is called on to perform in one of his roles for the Honeywell Center performance, where he once performed in a local performance of “Fiddler on the Roof,” but added that he knows there can be no guarantee.

“It is one of those meaningful, full-circle moments for me touring through Wabash, a place that shaped what I would want to do for the rest of my life,” Cable said. “It’s really special.”

The Honeywell Center performance of “Jersey Boys” will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 19.

Tickets are available online at honeywellcenter.org or by calling the Honeywell Center Box Office at 260-563-1102.

For more information on the show, visit jerseyboysinfo.com.

 
Posted on 2017 Oct 10