Finally Ryan Gonzalez, 26, is hitting the high notes and hopes the entertainment industry takes notice that he is not “just a dancer”
Being cast as a lead in the musical Jersey Boys is a dream come true after nearly a decade of working his way up. His first professional job was a motion capture dancer in Happy Feet 2 and has since endured many auditions and knock-backs.
“It’s like someone’s just pushed me on stage and gone ‘do everything you can’,” he said of his new role as Frankie Valli.
Originally Bernard Angel had been promoted to play the role of Valli though is no longer with the production.
Gonzalez said often performers are stuck in a “mould” as either a singer, dancer or actor and breaking out can be difficult and take time.
“It’s not like [audition panels] are doing it on purpose to make you feel bad, that’s just how see things,” he said.
There have been times he’s thought twice about his chosen career path but a few simple words by choreographer Kelly Abbey helped him believe he could do anything.
“I had the opportunity on Strictly Ballroom [the musical] to understudy the lead, and then at one point he got quite sick,” Gonzalez said.
“She saw my first performance and was like ‘that was incredible, I’m so excited for you’ – and those words have stuck with me.”
That was also the first time he brought his father George to tears with a performance.
“He hit his first note and we went from nervous wrecks to ‘he’s going to do this’,” he said.
While all three of her sons have been drawn to music, mum Marie knew her eldest would take it further after making him late to a recital around the age of 10.
She had read the program wrong and arrived at the venue just as the young Ryan’s section was going ahead.
“He was absolutely hysterical,” she said.
A quick word to the judges and they were happy to have the youngster perform last, but he still wasn’t happy.
“He’s walked up on the stage sobbing, he’s come out and sang the song perfectly, continued sobbing and walked back out,” Gonzalez said. “If he can do that he can do anything.”
The showcharts the story of The Four Seasons from singing under a lamp post in New Jersey through to the group's phenomenal success in the '60s, '70s and '80s.
The Sydney season runs until mid-December before it heads to Brisbane and Melbourne. Tickets are available through www.jerseyboys.com.au