Erich Bergen’s had quite the year. The actor and singer celebrated the release of his second EP (“Never Give Up”), a starring role in the film adaptation of Jersey Boys (Bob Gaudio) and a new hit series, playing Blake, the sassy assistant to the Secretary of State in CBS’ Madam Secretary. So, it’s only befitting for him to now also celebrate the culmination of this successful year – and his upcoming 29th birthday – with a set of performances at New York City’s famed jazz club, Birdland.
We had a chance to catch up with Bergen as he unpacked in his new NYC apartment, recently moving from the west coast to accommodate an extended filming schedule for Madam Secretary, which was picked up for a full season. “I’m making room for everything and making it all fit, and trying to figure out where it all goes,” Bergen says. “I just want to throw everything out the window and start again.”
He’s proven before that these words are more than an empty threat. After being dismissed from the Las Vegas cast of Jersey Boys in 2009, rumored to be due to what some may have perceived as poor behavior (although never confirmed), he was ironically selected for the same role in Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the hit musical.
If previously Bergen’s career seemed to be on simmer, he’s now boiling hot. His portrayal of Bob Gaudio on the big screen was well received and now his standout performance in Madam Secretary is attracting new attention, even among a list of powerful personalities (and some fellow stage actors), including Tea Leoni, Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, Keith Carradine and Patina Miller.
“I think you try to keep your head down when you’re working and just try to keep looking forward,” Bergen says of his surging success. “[I can’t] really think about, ‘oh my God, what have I done,’ because you’re never going to get anything done if you keep looking backwards.”
He has a similar perspective on his concerts. “I don’t make my concerts self-indulgent.” In fact, he remarks that when performers take to the stage and go through a set list of their ‘best hits,’ that “those kinds of things make me want to stick forks in my eyes.”
“My concerts have always been parties,” Bergen continued. “I design the show for the audience, not for myself. It’s about the audience having a good time.” For this set of two shows, Bergen will be accompanied by 10-piece band, creating a party that Bergen describes as, a “New Year’s Eve experience right in Times Square, but beforehand so [audience members] don’t have to deal with the crowds and the vomit.”
Bergen promises that the show will feature tracks from “Never Give Up,” as well as hits from Jersey Boys, a few laughs and some of his own favorite songs and ‘throwbacks’ like The Jackson’s “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).”
For information and tickets to Erich Bergen’s “Early New Year’s Eve” party at Birdland (12/29), visit www.birdlandjazz.com.