The Madam Secretary at Feinstein’s movement – Patina Miller and Robert Klein were recent participants – continues with the arrival of Erich Bergen, who plays buttoned-down assistant Blake Moran to Téa Leoni’s Secretary McCord on Sunday nights. In addition to the hit series, Bergen is best known for his long association with the musical Jersey Boys, having clocked over 1,000 performances of the show as Four Seasons music maker Bob Gaudio from San Francisco to Las Vegas, plus the film version directed by Clint Eastwood.
Madam Secretary must be an incredibly tuneful workplace with you and Patina and Bebe Neuwirth, both of whom are musical Tony winners.
Everyone. Keith Carradine, Tonya Pinkins, everyone. It is a very musical set. I think that happens because there’s so much television production right now in New York and because of that the shows in New York cast a lot of actors known for their theatre work. Patina and Tonya are doing a workshop of a musical right now for Roundabout. So they come from rehearsal and hop in a van together and came to the set. We talk about musicals all day at work.
With Secretary Clinton running for president and Secretary McCord running for vice president, what’s the real life vs. reel live vibe at work?
Well, even before this election cycle, the show had a very eerie way of, not intentionally, of course, but it seemed to predict the future. We had a couple of different instances where we would film something and a couple days after it aired it would happen in real life. That happened a few times and there are some Twitter folk who have written in who believe that our show is a conspiracy by the government. (Laughs)
Your cabaret performances have been described as a tip towards the romantic crooner. Sinatra, Jersey Boys, and such. What can we expect for this performance?
I think everyone goes to see concerts for different reasons, right? Sometimes it’s a band you love, sometimes you’re going to see new people, and sometimes you go to see your favorite star in person. I try to take that all into consideration. Some people are coming to see me because of Madam Secretary or Jersey Boys and I feel an obligation to give what they came here to see. I also feel an obligation to teach the audience… something. Whether it’s a great new song I heard or a little music education, to give something of a higher quality than what they were expecting. I learned that from Barry Manilow. They’re coming for “Mandy.” Give them “Mandy,” but also give them this great Cole Porter song.
What are your must-dos in San Francisco?
Dottie’s True Blue Café. Oh, god. Just the best. I have to go visit my hand prints in sidewalk at the Diva Hotel across from the Curran and see who’s peed in them. Seriously, I just love walking around San Francisco, particularly by the water. Wait! What’s the Chinese place that I love? House of Nanking! Obsessive!