Devon Goffman says that heritage and family are core values of Jersey Boys, just like how he was raised.
Devon Goffman got the best present of all for Chanukah. After being displaced from New York to Florida during the pandemic and taking a gig as a drama teacher, Goffman got the call to play his dream role. The actor returns to the D next week for the kick-off relaunch of the Jersey Boys national tour Dec. 12-18 at the Music Hall.
The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical, Jersey Boys chronicles the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and features all their show-stopping hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Sherry” and “Oh What a Night.”
Goffman’s been in four productions of Jersey Boys since 2011 and is now taking a star turn as Tommy DeVito, one of the Four Seasons.
“I’m beyond excited to bring back live theater to the country and play the most favorite role of my life. How many times as an actor do you get to portray a living legend on stage?” asks Goffman, who is no stranger to playing musical icons and performing in Detroit, including roles in The Buddy Holly Story, Motown: The Musical and On Your Feet!, about the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
The real Tommy DeVito died of COVID on Sept. 21, 2020, at age 92. Frankie Valli (played by Jon Hacker) and Bob Gaudio (played by Eric Chambliss) are the only two surviving original members of the group who went by the Variatones, The Four Lovers and Variety Trio before settling on Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Goffman was one of the only Jewish kids in town. He played football in high school and was in bands when he was younger.
“Jersey Boys is an amazing story that connects to our story as actors. You had these guys from the streets of Jersey having a dream of being rockstars. And for a musician like myself, portraying this role is so special,” says Goffman who plays guitar onstage.
What’s also special is that Goffman gets to be in a show together for the first time with his wife, Katie, who is the dance captain and a swing in Jersey Boys. Katie was already touring with Jersey Boys when all theater productions were shut down in March 2020.
The two met at an audition in 2012. Their dating history consisted of flying to see each other over the years while they were each on different tours. They married in 2015 in Katie’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“It’s so nice that we finally get to do this show together every night and travel together. It’s a dream come true,” says Goffman, who played Amelia’s father in the Lincoln Rhyme series on NBC. “And Detroit’s a great city for us to launch the tour. It’s a blue-collar town like where I grew up in Buffalo and like Jersey in the show. And it’s a music town — Hitsville USA — Detroit’s the centerpiece of amazing music.”
Goffman says that heritage and family are core values of Jersey Boys, just like how he was raised.
“My character, Tommy, tells Frankie Valli, ‘Don’t forget where you came from…Make sure you represented your family well,’’’ Goffman says. “That rings true for me as a teacher and mentor to young kids, where I encourage teamwork, community and being good humans first. My grandfather taught me that, in Jewish heritage, we should leave the world better than when we came into it.”
Jersey Boys, Dec. 12-18 at Music Hall, 350 Madison Avenue, Detroit.Tickets start at $25 (includes facility fee) and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-982-2787 and in person at the Fisher Theatre Box Office. Patrons will be required to show photo identification and proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the performance date or proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Additionally, all patrons will be required to wear a mask while inside the theater regardless of one’s vaccination status.