Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy Trails, Miles Aubrey

Miles Aubrey is leaving Jersey Boys...he's packing up his many guitars, his beautiful wife, and no doubt, a box of donuts, and moving to Nashville.

let me back up for a second...

why am i posting this blog? who is even going to read it? why is this blog still even active? let me answer those questions in reverse.

this blog is active because once or twice a year i find myself reading through old posts for a remember past experiences i shared with the show that changed my life.

i don't know who is going to read this. perhaps there is someone somewhere that still gets automated google alerts when i write something simply because they used to follow my exploits years ago when i was in the show.

and i'm posting this blog because i don't get to be there when Miles takes his last bow. i don't get to raise a glass and toast him at his 'Happy Trails' get-together at the end of the show. so this is my way to say goodbye.

but you have to understand, dear reader, that with Miles leaving the Broadway cast, something bigger leaves with him: my first-degree connection to the show.

you see, over the years, many cast members from the first national tour - and i'm talking ORIGINAL members from JBT1 - have gotten the call up to the big leagues; some to cover for a few weeks/months as people took vacation or leaves-of-absences, or some to be a permanent fixture on the Great White Way.

but to understand truly the reason for this blog post, you have to know more about my relationship with Miles.

Miles and I first forged our friendship in NYC when we were in rehearsals for JBT1. here we were, with dozens of other actors in a rehearsal studio in Times Square, learning the show that would shape our lives for years to come. as we went from city to city, Miles and i were placed in the same dressing room together, in every city we went, for a year. i have seen Miles Aubrey's ass more times then i would like to count.

Miles and i also had a shared bachelor-party for 48 hours in Vegas. he and Erica got married two weeks after Sarah and I did. that was a fun weekend; most of the male actors all jumped in a limo after our Sunday show in San Francisco and hopped on a place to sin city. and then we drank...a lot. at least i assume we did, it was all quite a blur.

but i digress.

one of my happiest memories of Miles was when i found out he was moving to the Broadway company after Donnie Kehr left the show. it was something i hoped for him the second i moved to NYC. and though we didn't share a dressing room on the 4th floor of the August Wilson Theatre, i still got to stand on his right side for half of the second act as we became Charlie Calello and Joe Long. night after night, i got to listen to him solo (a different sold EVERY night) and i stayed in awe of him and his talent for the two years i got to perform with him.

you see, Miles is a rare talent. he's a rare talent because not only is he an excellent singer and actor, but he's also one of the most talented guitar players i have ever met. i would easily say that Miles  is the best guitarist on Broadway...and i'm not kidding. every other actor who plays guitar in any other show for the last ten years pales in comparison to the insane skill that Miles Aubrey has on those 6 strings. he's a thoroughbred on that instrument - a virtuoso powerhouse that makes your jaw drop in awe. and yet, at the same time, he is humble. he has that southern-charm "aw shucks" attitude where you feel lucky to sit and talk with him...about music, family, sports, anything.

but there are greener pastures for him and Erica down south. back to where they can lead a simpler, less chaotic life. playing and performing music together and putting down roots in their new house together - closer to family and a thriving community where they had already made their second home.

you have to understand that your "last show" is an out-of-body experience as you try to enjoy every moment on and off stage; soaking in those times that mean the most to YOU as the actor who always wanted to perform in a show like this. you are looking inward at your younger self - the self whose dream was always to perform on Broadway, and telling them "I'm sorry kid, but it's time to walk away."

for my last show on Broadway, i held it together pretty well...until the second act, when i turned to Miles on my left side, as we were behind the fence as Charlie and Joe, and he kind of just gave me a nod and a gentle smile...and that's when i lost it. my dear friend simply assuring me everything would be okay and that it was time to finish the show and take my last bow on that stage.

(please note, i was then a wreck for the next 20 minutes of the show and two hours thereafter)

so wih Miles taking his last bow on Sunday, it is truly the end of an era. He is the last of the First National tour actors to endure for so long. with his departure, many of us are now without a home. you see, dear reader, as an actor leaves a show like Jersey Boys, they spend a long time coming to terms with that decision. it's not easy leaving something as big as a show like that. and you spend years continuing to chase that dream - to try and find something that lives up to the adrenaline, excitement, and enormity. my hope is that Miles finds that in Nashville with his amazing song writing and session work. i don't doubt for one minute that Nashville will fall in love with him as easily as all of us did that were honored enough to work with him for years.

Miles: i so wish i could be there for your last show. in spirit, i will be to your right side in the second act behind the fence, continuing to watch in awe as your sail up and down the frets of your telecaster. NYC truly loses a master with your departure and the Broadway cast will never sound quite the same.

happy trails, brother.

At the Jersey Boys 3rd anniversary bowling party.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Closing for closure. Goodbye First National Tour.'s been awhile. I don't think I have blogged for well over three years, or longer, about my experience with Jersey Boys. After all, I haven't performed with the show since January 2010 when I took my last bow back home at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit.

I have no reason to write this blog entry, nor do I imagine anyone still "subscribes" to this blog - but I am writing this out for personal therapy more than anything else. If any of you are out there and happen upon it, so be it, and I hope you enjoy it.

I think though, once I publish it, it will be the last you hear from me about Jersey Boys.  That being said:

The first national tour of Jersey Boys closes tomorrow, April 28, in San Francisco, the city that started it all for that very same tour. No one from the original cast is still in the show (save for a few amazing tech folk and musicians) and yet, I feel like all of us from the original cast are still on that stage at the Curran Theatre with the current cast for the closing.

For me, Jersey Boys was a blessing. A life-altering show that made me grow as a performer and individual. That show saw me get married and give birth to one of my two amazing daughters. That show saw me travel across the West Coast for a year until I was lucky enough to be transferred to the Broadway company. That show welcomed me back with open arms to the Chicago cast (in an entirely different track) and then, coincidently, back to the tour that started everything for me to finish my incredible run back home.

And I will be honest. It was very hard to leave the show. I still fantasize about getting a call that a company is in desperate need for a Hank or a Norm or whoever, and who better to jump in than Gutman? I have had countless "actor's nightmare" dreams for over three years that I have been pushed back into the show without rehearsal time.

But perhaps, with the first national company closing, I can move on as well.

This is not to say that I don't think it was time for me to end my run. Chicago was ending anyway and I was lucky enough to be asked to cover for Buck those many years ago when he and Mary were having his first born. It was a string of coincidences and luck that fell into place which ultimately kept me employed for three weeks longer than my Chicago colleagues. Yes, it was time. I had performed in six different roles in three years, gone through more costume changes that I can count, and broken a different string on every bass or guitar (or mandolin) I played live.

But it still saddens me to know...that I will never have that rush again of singing "Who Loves You" to a rabid audience exploding to their feet in applause. It saddens me to know I never get to stand next to Miles Aubrey in the second act on the back platform behind the fence together as the new seasons. It saddens me to know I will never get that call sometimes just an hour before a show saying I was playing a lead that night. It saddens me that John Altieri wasn't able to say "young, young man" thousands more times after his untimely death.

But how lucky was I...were all of us...that WE were the start of something amazing back in November 2006 as we took the stage for those first previews in San Francisco. Did we ever really know that we would make such an impact on the Country as performers? Did we truly understand what we were a part of? Certainly not saving lives, but without a doubt changing them. Changing our lives for the better without a doubt.

For now I can look to cast lists in Vegas and Broadway and see familiar names that I started with, still performing, night after night. And I know I can still call them And yes, the weeks and months and years might pass where I don't get to see people like Doug Crawford or Erich Bergen or Tripp Phillips or Nate Klau or Sandy DeNise, but do I feel any less connected to them? Never. I follow their careers (and facebook posts) with such pride and love and respect.

For those of you in the first national who might be reading this (especially John, Chris and Kara), what an honor it was to come back all those years ago and have you welcome me back with open arms. I wish all of you an incredible closing night full of reflection and love. Let your voices shake the roof of the Curran Theatre and know that those of us whose spirits still share that stage and those roles with you are there as well. I hope the transition out of the show comes easily for you all.

To Des, Ron, Sergio, Danny, Kelly, West and to everyone else who helped create and maintain this show year after year, simply thank you. You took a chance on an unknown actor from the Midwest who just happened to have the look and swagger you were going for. I was in incredible awe of all of you. I hope my small part in the world of JB will always be looked at favorable and with a hint of a chuckle.

Lastly, for those people out there who have never seen this show, what the fuck are you waiting for?

Eric Gutman, officially signing off of this blog, and happy to get some closure. Thank you all for indulging me.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Random Musings (Oct.4)

random thoughts:


i realized today after the Donnie/Stosh car scene that i have really gotten a lot of the contents of the blood packet into my throat...

you see the problem is i have to hold the blood packet deep into my right cheek so by the time we get through the scene with all of the dialogue, i have amassed a pretty sizeable amount of spit in my mouth; so by the time i break the packet, it mixes with my saliva and runs pretty freely down my throat.

the worst part is i have no idea what's in the packet. i assume it's some sort of corn syrup with some sort of food coloring, but it tastes pretty much how it looks. it tastes "dark and red".

so if i figure that if about a teaspoon of "blood" goes into one of those packets, and if 6 teaspoons equals 1 fluid ounce, and if 33 fluid ounces equal 1 liter...that means that after about six months in the show (about 200 shows), i essentially am drinking half of a 2 liter bottle of soda that you would buy at the store...but filled with stage blood.

i should find out exactly what the hell is going into my system.


i am horrible at blogging nowadays. but i also sleep a whole hell of a lot less and am working my ass sorry about that but i guess it is what it is.

i don't think i can (or will) promise to do better at blogging.

but i'll try, i promise (i'm lying).


the Chicago company celebrated their 1,000th show last week. that is 1,000 shows since the first public performance that the cast made back in San Fransisco when it opened there after the first national cast left for LA and before they moved onto Chicago.

what an amazing experience i have had being able to celebrate all these milestones with all of these different companies i have been a part of.

it's also amazing to me that i have been a part of three different companies with this show. Tour, Broadway and now Chicago; all so similar and yet completely different. I'd really like to do a show in Vegas so I can say I have done every North American company...

...or they can just send me to Australia for a few weeks.


at intermission, everyone pretty much hangs out in the wardrobe room. not only because the wardrobe staff is freaking awesome, but because there is always so much junk food to eat.

today there were brownies, three different bags of chips/crackers and a birthday cake.

it's like a damn pot luck 8 shows a week and i can't stop eating...!

yet i have lost over 10 pounds.

so should i have more cake?


i hated living in NYC but i can't tell you how badly i miss that city right now. i miss my friends in the Broadway cast so much and i want to see them right now. i miss going to a broadway show. i miss the really good halal cart on 56th and 6th. i even miss the subway a little bit.


a few weeks ago i went with some cast members to this place called
Stanley's Kitchen & Tap for a few drinks and, more importantly, for LIVE BAND KARAOKE!!!

they have an amazing live band, and as you would sign up at any other bar to sing for a crowd, you do it with a live band and it's unreal. i want to go back soon because i have not stopped thinking about how much fun i had.

i sang "Baba O' Riley" by The Who and "Everlong" from Foo Fighters and it made me feel just like i used to feel when i sang with my band back in college...

did any of you reading this knew i was in a band for seven years or that i recorded six albums with them...?

anyway - here's me singing The Who song - please excuse the poor video/sound quality:


my daughter is the most adorable baby in the entire world. i look at her and i can't stop smiling. all i want to do is make her laugh and make stupid faces at her and for her to think her daddy is the silliest daddy in the world.

i go outside to do an errand for a few minutes and i walk back in the room and she turns her head to look at me and starts grinning from ear to ear and repeats the babbling of words, "ha da, da da, da da" - which obviously means "hello daddy! look it's daddy! i love you daddy".

she is everything to me and even with her sleeping in her pack and play near me right now, i am excited to spend time with her tomorrow and tell her i love her.

she is also crawling and it terrifies me because i know walking is next...


i have fun news to share but i can't yet. i always love posting that shit because it puts some of you in such a frenzy to figure it out.


good night.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wrigley Field (Aug.28)

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to step onto legendary Wrigley Field and sing the National Anthem with the rest of the Jersey Boys cast (well, the majority of them at least). I am not a huge baseball fan (much to my father's dismay), but I can appreciate a ballpark like Wrigley. You just walk in there and the history kind of consumes you. A total "old school" park that still doesn't have a big jumbo-tron scoreboard...just literally someone that replaces the numbers of hits and runs every time they happen by hand.

I didn't stay for the whole game because I wanted to try and enjoy a few hours with Sarah and Riley before I had to head to the theatre, but I really enjoyed the time I was there. And of course, had my traditional dog, beer and cracker jacks...which my stomach was not happy with me about.

For those of you who missed it, here's us singing the anthem. I get a nice closeup as the song is starting:

Also, for those of you kind of wondering who is replacing Craig Laurie as Bob Crewe...all I can say is he is also singing the anthem and you can see him on screen. But I won't tell you his name because it's kind of fun reading all your posts trying to decipher it.

Oh, and another thing...I love whirlyball. It's 5 on 5 lacrosse in bumper cars...amazing. The tradition here in Chicago is as shows come into town (Chicago, Rent, Mary Poppins, Spring Awakening, etc), Jersey Boys challenges those shows to whirlyball for a few hours. It leaves me in pain and I am exhausted and yet it is the best time ever!

So that's all I got. Two shows tomorrow and then a final show for Craig on Sunday with a big party afterward.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Hello from Chicago (Aug.24)

well...just when you think you're out, they pull you back in.

greetings from Chicago. it has now been a full month since i have been back in the show and holy crap, is there a lot of catching up to do. let's start, shall we:

a bit after leaving NYC and moving home to the mitten state, Sarah and i had our beautiful daughter, Riley Addison. she was born on Jan.24, 2009 and the past seven months (yes, already seven months!) have been amazing. she's the happiest baby and she always has a smile on her face. she is sitting up all by herself for huge stretches of time so she can play with her blocks and other various toys and we're pretty sure she's going to be crawling any day now. we started her on solid foods (well if you can call pureed veggies and fruit solid) and she loves things like sweet potatoes, peas, bananas and pears...but hates avocado. it's still amazing to me that I am a parent and right now, i'm just enjoying every second of my time with her.

here's a few pics of her in the past seven months:

a few minutes old

2 weeks old

3 months old

4 months old

5 months old

6 months old

so...yeah...i have a pretty cute kid!

as far as Jersey Boys world is concerned, let me get you up to date there as well.

in mid-March, i was called to come to Chicago for 5 weeks as Michael Ingersoll took a one-month leave. so i traded in the gorilla mask for the mustache and debuted as Norm Waxman while Dominic Bogart played Nick Massi for the month.

cut to a few months later, Dominic gives his notice and i get the call to be the replacement.

so here we are:
  • Chicago marks my third company with Jersey Boys. all i have to do is perform one show in Vegas and i can say i have done every North American company.
  • With playing "Norm", i have now performed as six different characters through my tenure with the show.
  • Before the end of the year, i will hit over 1,000 performances.
  • Because of the basement crossover here at the Bank of America theatre, I have to climb or descend 462 stairs every show.
  • With this contract, I am no longer understudying any of the four seasons (sadly), but am understudying Bob Crewe.
i am sure there is a ton more to catch everyone up on, but honestly, it's my day off and Riley didn't realize it and i have been up for a good few hours already and i'm having trouble focusing on anything right now.

i will *try* to do some more updates here and there. i know i have kind of fallen off the blogging grid, but i guess with the baby, that free time i had before is slim to none.

until next time...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Guess Who's Back...?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A new addition to the Jersey Boys family (Jan.24)


Riley Addison Gutman

Jan.24, 2009


7lbs 5oz, 21 inches long

Mother and baby are doing splendidly. This was the most amazing day of my life.