If you watched the 2022 Tony Awards, you might recall that they took time to honor all of the Broadway stunt doubles. With Covid still plaguing our theaters, stunt doubles have allowed many plays to continue despite losing cast members for sometimes weeks to the pandemic. The Maryland Theater Guide and Kennedy Center staff would like to use this column to highlight these artists and thank them for allowing live performances to continue nationwide. Kevin Patrick Martin is one of those often overlooked actors.
Kevin usually plays several roles in the “Jersey Boys” – Stosh, Norman Waxman, Detective Two, Hank Majewski, police officer, recording studio engineer and Joe Long. He is also Tommy DeVito’s fight captain and understudy. This is typical of any major professional production.
“Jersey Boys,” directed by Des McAnuff, is currently playing at the Eisenhower Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The musical uses the band’s real-life hits – music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe – as a way to showcase the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as they moved from the streets of New Jersey to one best-selling rock bands of all time. Only the Beatles and the Beach Boys have been comparable to the Four Seasons for many years in terms of record sales.
All four seasons star Eric Chambliss as Bob Gaudio, Matt Facher as Nick Massi, Devon Goffman as Tommy DeVito, and Jon Hacker as Frankie Valli. Other performers include Justin Albinder, Amy Coelho, Katie Goffman, Antonio King, Connor Lyon, Sean McGee and Alec Michael Ryan. Albinder, Chinnock, Moore, McGee, Moore, Ryan and Kenneth Quinney Francoueur all dubbed the Four Seasons roles. (In fact, Justin Albinder stepped in as Frankie Valli for Jon Hacker on June 16. Read our review here.) Let’s give each of them a special shout-out and find out a bit more about Kevin Patrick Martin and the life of a stunt double.
Kevin Patrick Martin is thrilled to return to the stage with ‘Jersey Boys’, having performed over 600 times since joining the company in 2017. Television: ‘Bakers vs. Fakers” from Food Network. Education: Rhode Island College. Recently, Martin joined a performance with all of the Four Seasons being played by the understudy. On top of that, Martin marries Festival Ballet Providence dancer Alex Lantz and plans his own wedding using his background as a baker and florist.
Can you talk about yourself?
I grew up and went to school in Cumberland, Rhode Island. After high school, I attended Rhode Island College where I earned a BA in Theater with a concentration in Musical Theater. I started my career during my summers out of school and continued to work in professional regional theater after graduating in 2009. In early 2012 I moved to New York until December 2020, date I returned home to Providence, RI While in New York, much of that time was spent out of town doing regional theater and touring. I started touring with “Jersey Boys” in the fall of 2017 as Norm Waxman/Hank Majewski and others, in addition to being a stunt double for the role of Tommy DeVito. By the time I finish my tour, I will have been with “Jersey Boys” for over 800 performances in 48 states and three countries.
Did you audition for Tommy DeVito, another role, or to be an understudy?
I was originally brought in to audition for one of the swing leads, who is an off-stage cast member who covers multiple roles on the show and must be ready to continue at all times. This particular swing track undercuts Bob Gaudio, who in the show is played by someone with a bari-tenor voice. Since I’m a bass-baritone, my vocal range wasn’t suited for this role. While I was in my auditions, the casting director and production supervisor took a few steps, gave me some new material to learn, and finally decided to have me audition for the role of Norm Waxman, which I I finally picked up. This set track was the one that would cover Tommy DeVito, a more suitable fit for my voice type, and that’s how I became Tommy DeVito’s understudy.
As an understudy, how often do you have to rehearse lines, blocking and music for the role? Do you do that with other stunt doubles, the regular cast, or both?
Early in the rehearsal process, stunt doubles work overtime to learn not only their own leads in the show, but also material for one of the (sometimes multiple) roles they cover. In addition to our rehearsal schedule of over 40 hours per week, interpreters work alone outside these hours to ensure they learn and retain all the information taught. This includes script memorization, music, choreography, blocking and more. Although not always guaranteed, there may be time scattered throughout the rehearsal process to focus solely on the stunt doubles learning the roles they are covering. Once the show is open and we are on the road, we have scheduled stunt double rehearsals where all stunt doubles are called to the theater during the day and work through scenes, music and choreography. It’s rare to get the opportunity to rehearse with those playing the roles full-time, so rehearsal of stunt doubles is essential to ensure smooth transitions for stunt doubles entering and exiting the show.
Does having another role in the cast make it easier or harder to figure out a lead role?
It’s actually a bit of both. Being on the show every night and being able to watch and listen to scenes that the actor you’re studying is involved in can be beneficial. As someone who retains information well through oral rehearsal, hearing the dialogue every night is a great way to make sure I stay on top of keeping the script fresh in my mind. On the other hand, there have been times when I’ve been off stage playing Tommy, I’ve heard a cue line for my regular track, and my heart will race in thinking I had missed an entry or line. Luckily, that hasn’t happened yet…yet!
This is a musical about the fabulous Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Do you have a favorite song or songs?
When I’m on my own ensemble track, my favorite part of the show is playing Joe Long in Act 2 and getting onstage for “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and then going into ” Workin’ My Way Back to You” immediately afterwards. The audience is on top throughout these songs, which is always exciting. When I’m on stage as Tommy DeVito, my favorite song is “Beggin'”. has been exciting to hear it in pop culture recently, with its resurgence due to a popular cover of the song, it’s a true testament to the timelessness of this music!
“Jersey Boys” runs through June 26, 2022 at the Eisenhower Theater at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.