Daniel Reichard is best known to theater fans for playing Bob Gaudio, one of the Four Seasons, in the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys. But his first big New York break came in 2003, when the Ohio-born actor, still in his twenties, was cast as the lead in a new musical to be directed by George C. Wolfe (Angels in America, Take Me Out) at the Public Theater.
It was called Radiant Baby, and Reichard played the late Keith Haring.
While the pop-besotted Haring sounds like a far more likely candidate for musical bio treatment than, oh, Imelda Marcos (Here Lies Love) or, say, Alexander Hamilton, the show received mixed notices—including a pan in The New York Times—and has had little afterlife. A cast recording was released, but is virtually impossible to find (If you’ve got a copy, please drop us a line and let us know if we can come over for a listening party).
While Reichard recalls being devastated by the critics, saying “It was hard to get out of bed in the morning,” he also looks back on the period
as an important time in his personal and intellectual growth.
“Who knows how something like that would do if it came out today?” he ponders. “But it was an incredibly maturing experience for me. I was young, but with that part, I had to be the captain of the ship no matter how the reviews were. It was also the first time I had really studied the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, putting faces to names and really coming to a deeper understanding.”
Today, Reichard—whose partner is Patrick McCollum, choreographer of Tony-winning musical The Band’s Visit—says he’d like to make a return to Broadway in the role of an artist, an activist, or a political figure.
“I really admire trailblazers,” he says.
Since leaving Jersey Boys in 2008, Reichard has blazed his own trail as a concert and cabaret performer. enjoying the entrepreneurship and creative control.
“But when you’re acting, you’re really part of a community,” he says. “And I’ve been missing that.”
Before he’s back on the boards, don’t miss an opportunity to catch Reichard’s solo radiance in a one night gig at Feinstein’s at the Nikko, on Thursday, September 6.