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Show & Tell: Nikka Wahl of ‘Jersey Boys’

Q: How long have you been in “Jersey Boys”?

A: I’ve been here since December 2009.

Q: But it’s not your first show?

A: My first role, my first job, was in “The Wedding Singer,” the first national tour. I graduated from Florida State, and it wasn’t too long after I graduated from college.

Q: Do you come from a performing family?

A: My parents are professional ballet dancers.

Q: So you must have been dancing in the womb.

A: (Laughs) My mom says that when she was pregnant with me – my mom was teaching at the time – whether it was “The Nutcracker” or whatever it was, my feet would just start, “tap, tap, tap, tap.”

Q: So your parents were probably OK with you pursuing a career as a performer?

A: Well, I grew up with it and, being that my parents were ballet dancers, they tried to push me toward dance first. They put me in a tutu and slippers, and my first reaction was ripping it off and throwing a temper tantrum because I thought it was the most boring thing in the world (laughs). What I loved was sitting in front of the TV and watching Disney movies and singing the songs.

Q: You’ve sung in all sorts of styles (in “Les Miserables,” “Nine,” “South Pacific,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Urinetown” and “Oklahoma”). What do you think of the ’60s songs in “Jersey Boys”?

A: I was actually in shock with how many of them I recognized. I was, like, “I love this song!” (and) “I love that song!”

Q: As a classically trained singer, what do you think of that era in music?

A: It’s such a classic sound – so pure. Because right now it’s all, like (mimics the thumping of a beat box). So there’s definitely an appreciation!

Q: You must be great in karaoke bars.

A: My go-to is still “Respect” by Aretha (laughs).

Q: Why?

A: I have no idea. Maybe I’m just demanding respect these days (laughs).

Q: Do you actually go to karaoke bars?

A: Getting paid to sing, you don’t do free karaoke. (Laughs) When we go to karaoke bars, we go, “We’re off the clock. We’re just here to observe.”

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