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BWW Interview: New Orleans Welcomes Home Leslie Rochette in JERSEY BOYS

Time:2016-12-17 13:08Shoes websites Click:

orleans boys Home Interview welcomes

Foreground: Kristen Paulicelli, Leslie Rochette,
and Jesse Wildman
Background: Andrew Russell, Corey Greenan,
and Dru Serkes
Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Returning to New Orleans this week is the musical that made the world fall in love with the Four Seasons all over again, JERSEY BOYS. First a superstar boy group from Jersey, then a hit musical, next a movie, and now we're getting to see the show once again on tour! Whether you realize it or not you know the music, so come see the story behind the music where all the "magic" happened - and by magic I mean love, heartbreak, loss, friendship, brotherhood, stress, struggle, money troubles, run-ins with gangsters, a little burglary, and a whole lot of talent to go with it.

No stranger to JERSEY BOYS, Leslie Rochette, a New Orleans native, will be coming home to perform in the Saenger Theatre for the first time since she launched her professional acting career. She has acted in JERSEY BOYS on the first national tour, now this second national tour, and will soon be joining the Broadway company for a short while. Continue reading to learn about Leslie's start in musical theatre, and about the show to which she and her husband owe quite a lot.

I was so excited to be interviewing someone with a 504 area code!
I know, I saw the 985 and was like, "yes, finally!"

Welcome home! What is going to be like for you to come back home and do a show in New Orleans?
I was in the first national tour, and now this is the second national. But, the last time the show came I was on the first national tour and we were playing in Indianapolis while the second national tour was playing in New Orleans. I had countless Facebook messages and texts and calls, "I'm coming to see you in JERSEY BOY," and I was like, "Wrong tour." So I've been waiting since that moment, I think that was February 2013, for us to come back. I've been dying for this.

So let's see about this... of course you can't take the New Orleanian out of the girl, so let's see if you can answer this question right. Where did you go to school?
I went to Mount Carmel Academy and NOCCA.

And there it is! Every time I ask someone that question who isn't from around here they answer with their college.
I know! Isn't that such a funny thing? That definitely stuck with me through the years.

How did you balance going to two high schools at once? [Sidenote: Mount Carmel Academy is a private/Catholic school in New Orleans, and NOCCA is the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts - a performing arts high school in the city]
So I did half day. We had a rotating block schedule at the time. I'm not sure if they're still doing that. But, so I was able to take classes in the morning, and then I would leave for lunch and eat lunch usually at home, and then for the rest of the evening I would be at NOCCA. So I think from about 1:00 until 4:00 I'd be at NOCCA.

Did you study theatre at NOCCA?
I actually studied dance until I tore my ACL there, and then the head of the musical theatre department was our jazz teacher in the dance department. After I tore my ACL he said, "Hey, can you sing or act? Why don't you come audition for me, and let's see if we can get you involved in musical theatre and see if you like that." So I did that and he was like, "Ok great, this will work out." He accepted me into the program, and then I fell in love with musical theatre after that so it was kind of a blessing in disguise.

Do you have any memories of going to see shows at the Saenger Theatre?
Yeah, I mean I pretty much saw everything that came through. I remember seeing SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, and now I've met people that I've actually seen come through the Saenger. I'm like, "Oh, I saw SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER," and they were like, "I was in that!" And GREASE and stuff like that I remember seeing. I also did The Nutcracker with Hysell Academy of Dance, and we performed at the Saenger. I played a mouse and a soldier in The Nutcracker, so that's the last time I was ever on that stage, so it's gonna be different.

Were you on the dance team at Mount Carmel?
I did. I was a Carmelette.

Awesome! So, tell me what this show JERSEY BOYS is all about for people who are coming to the show and may not know anything about it.
JERSEY BOYS is the story behind Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and how they became a success. It's pretty much your basic rags to riches story, and I always like to say that it's kind of like... I don't know if you remember VH1 Behind the Music... it's like that, but with a whole rock concert. It's kind of a combination of both of those things. You just kind of get to see what has happened in Frankie Valli's life. It's basically about his life and the people that come in and out of it.

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