'Dancing With the Stars’ Pro Mark Ballas Is Excited Watching the Show 'as a Fan'

September 23rd, 2016

Mark Ballas of ABCs Dancing with the Stars attends the YO-KAI WATCH 2 preview event on September 8, 2016.Nintendo of America

Credit:  Nintendo of America

Mark Ballas may be taking a time-out from Dancing With the Starsthis season, but he has a great excuse. The dance pro, 30, is sitting out the current run of the ballroom competition to hit the stage as legendary singer Frankie Valli in the last few months of Jersey Boys' Broadway run.

“I'm definitely going to miss it, but I'm looking forward to having some time to do something else for a bit," Ballas, who was one ofDWTS' pro dancers for 19 consecutive seasons, told Us Weekly. But the hoofer also said that he's excited to be "watching it as a fan."

Ballas first confirmed his Broadway news on Twitter, writing, "THRILLED to announce I'll be playing the final ’Frankie Valli’ in @JerseyBoysInfo on Broadway starting Oct 18th till Jan 15th. See U there."

While hosting an event debuting the latest game for Nintendo 3DS,Yo-Kai Watch 2, on September 8 in Los Angeles, Ballas explained how this new role came his way.

"I went and auditioned, old school! I didn’t cut any lines!” Mark told Us. “I sent in my tapes like everyone else. The producers liked my tapes, so then I went to New York and auditioned, did the two-hour dance call, singing call, acting call. I did it all the way you’re meant to do it. And after my New York set of auditions, I was coming home and I was on the plane literally about to take off and I got the call!”

Although Ballas' fans know him for his dance skills, what they might not know is that his background in musical theater is extensive too.

"A lot of people know me as a dancer, but for me, when I started entertaining, theater and music was where I started,” the pro hoofer said. "And I trained for it, I got a diploma in college for musical theater. I worked for years for that diploma and graduated with honors, so now I’m finally putting it to use!”

“For me it’s not a role that no matter if you have a fan base or not, you can’t fake it,” he added of his Broadway endeavor. “It’s a lot of singing, and it’s going to be great to be out there as an actor and a musician first."

In fact, the two-time Mirrorball champion says his theatrical choreography is what got him involved with Nintendo in the first place. 

“I became homies with Nintendo after I did the Super Mario dance [with celebrity partner Sadie Robertson] on DWTS!" Ballas explained. “We had to call Nintendo to get clearance to use the costumes and characters, and they were very specific on how the crown for the princess was made – and they sent us all the shells, the kart, the real things for the set. They sent me a Nintendo DS and I just went on tour with my fiancee [singer BC Jean] for the summer and they set us up with Nintendo for the bus! So we were going HAM on Super Mario World, so it’s been a lot of fun, it’s been cool.”

But will fans see him return to the ballroom one day? 

"I’m not saying I’ll never come back. I love the show, I love it.” Ballas told Us. “It’s part of my life and I’ve spent nine years and my whole twenties doing it. But I’m excited for this new chapter – Broadway’s always been a dream of mine and my music withAlexander Jean is going really well, I'm getting married this year – it’s a lot going on! And I’m excited to see how it all goes."

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

By Ingrid Meilan for US Weekly

http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/dwts-pro-mark-ballas-is-excited-to-watch-show-as-a-fan-w441503

Interview: Mark Ballas discusses his role in the final run of Broadway’s hit show 'Jersey Boys'

September 12th, 2016

By James Wood for AXS.com

After an amazing eleven-year stint on Broadway, the producers of the Tony, Grammy & Olivier Award-Winning Best Musical Jersey Boys recently announced that the production will end its historic, record-breaking run in January of 2017. It was also announced that multi-talented actor, musician and dancer Mark Ballas will be the last actor to take on the iconic role of Frankie Valli for the show's final run. Ballas will make his Broadway debut in the show on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016.

Although many recognize Ballas from his ten-year tenure on ABC’s hit show, Dancing With The Stars (where he won two coveted “Mirror Ball” trophies), Ballas’ original passion lies in musical theater. An honors graduate from London’s famed Italia Conti Performing Arts School, Ballas has extensive experience telling stories through acting, dancing and song.

In addition to his upcoming Broadway performance, Ballas is also part of Alexander Jean - the musical duo he shares with the beautiful and multi-talented BC Jean. The pair recently completed a successful 23-city tour in support of their infectious EP, Head High, which debuted at #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart.

AXS recently spoke with Mark Ballas about his role in Jersey Boys and more in this exclusive interview.

AXS: Many people know you from your time on Dancing With The Stars. Where did your passion for musical theater begin?

Mark Ballas: Even before I had decided to come out to Los Angeles to pursue a television career I was doing musical theater. That was the thing that actually got me into doing entertainment and wanting to perform. I went to the Italia Conti Performing Arts School in London where I graduated with a degree with honors and have performed in a Buddy 

Holly show as well as Jesus Christ SuperstarCopacabana and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Being able to be seen as a musician and actor is exciting, especially in Jersey Boys because I’ve been a fan of that show ever since it came out.

AXS: In your opinion, what makes Jersey Boys so special?

MB: First and foremost, it’s the story. The fact that it’s a true story and the music is timeless. The things these guys went through together and the way they ended up making it together is astonishing. I love the complexity of The Four Seasons and the characters. They were all so different, but when they came together they made this one remarkable sound. 

AXS: Was the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons a part of your life growing up?

MB: Absolutely. My dad was a big fan of The Four Seasons and my grandfather was also a big fan of the music and that generation. We used to listen to The Four Freshmen when I was young. That moved into jazz and Frank Sinatra and eventually The Four Seasons. 

AXS: What are your thoughts on leaving Dancing With The Stars?

MB: It’s definitely bittersweet. I’ll miss my friends and the creating and competing. I’ll also miss the crew and people who put the show together. I dedicated ten years to the show and was excited and ready to try something new. Theater has been a dream of mine even before I knew about Dancing With The Stars. To now be able to conquer this and be a part of the final cast is a huge honor. 

AXS: What are some of your best memories of being part of DWTS?

I’ve worked with so many different partners and have amazing memories of all of them. Obviously, winning and taking the trophy home was an incredible feeling. One of the things that sticks out that I’ll always remember is my Mario Brothers number and another was where we did an Alice in Wonderland theme. I loved that one as well.

AXS: Can you give me an update on your musical project with BC Jean, Alexander Jean?

MB: We’ve just finished a 23-city tour and the crowds were just amazing. It was our first time going on tour as Alexander Jean and it was an incredible experience. BC and I are well into writing our second EP . I think we’re going to draw a lot of inspiration from being in a new city and writing some of the best material we can. 

AXS: What are you most looking forward to about being part of Jersey Boys?

MB: This is such a pinnacle time for me. Sure, you do the same show every night but the great thing about it is that it’s never the same. It’s a different crowd every night and there’s a different vibe. Being able to learn from such incredible actors and sing with three incredible talents is going to be amazing. But looking at that audience every night is going to be my favorite part. It’s a dream come true. 

Original article posted at: http://www.axs.com/interview-mark-ballas-discusses-his-role-in-the-final-run-of-broadway--106362


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