By Maria Rodriguez
He had only recently graduated and Miguel Jarquin-Moreland had won the role of Pablo in the first national tour of Sister Act, but when his agent called with an audition for Jersey Boys, he knew that he had to go for it.
Jarquin-Moreland is currently touring with the production of Jersey Boys, a jukebox musical about mid-century crooner Frankie Valli and his partner group The Four Seasons. In this production, Jarquin-Moreland is playing the Franki Valli alternate. Jarquin-Moreland can be seen in this role through April 24 at the National Theatre – a place he’s dreamed of playing at since he saw a tour of Chicago in his youth.
The character of Frankie Valli is a heavy vocal burden – so to avoid burning out the main actor, the role is traded between a couple actors on tour.
“He sings 29 songs!” said Jarquin-Moreland about the role of Frankie Valli in an interview with The Tower. It’s a burden he is familiar with; as the Franki Valli for the first national tour, Jarquin-Moreland is already well acquainted with the role.
After the initial auditions for his first turn at Jersey Boys, Jarquin-Moreland was put through something called “Frankie Camp.”
“Every person who plays Frankie Valli goes to ‘Frankie Camp,’” said Jarquin-Moreland.
The camp was part of the audition process. The prospective actors were put in a room with the creative team for three days, after which those who were liked were asked to audition for Des McAnuff, the creator of Jersey Boys.
Jarquin-Moreland was one of the lucky ones asked to do that final audition.
“I was the last person to go in the room,” said Jarquin-Moreland, “ I was getting changed and they asked me to come back into the room and they told me right there on the spot [that I got the role].”
Problem was, he had already committed to playing Pablo in the first national tour of Sister Act. With just 5 hours left to get out of his contract with Sister Act, Jarquin-Moreland sent in his paperwork and booked Jersey Boys.
Long before he went for that fateful audition, Jarquin-Moreland was just a boy at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Maryland playing soccer, singing in choirs, and training with the Tsikurishvilis of Synetic Theater. As a senior in highschool he had to decide on his future, and he chose to pursue his love of soccer and theater – so he chose Catholic University.
“They were the only school in the nation that let me play soccer and gave me a scholarship for musical theater,” said Jarquin-Moreland. But he wasn’t one of those kids busing off to musical theater camp every summer.
“I knew nothing about Musical Theater until I went to Catholic University,” said Jarquin-Moreland. It was here at the University that he really was able to study his craft.
“Catholic essentially gave me the tools to do what intended to do to become successful, ” said Jarquin-Moreland. Here he learned to sing ballads, focus songs, and be a presence onstage. Here he studied with Gene Galvin and choreographed with the late Jane Pesci-Townshend. And, he kept really busy.
“It was like trying to juggle the apples, bananas, and oranges,” said Jarquin-Moreland. He took jobs around town, choreographing and performing in shows. Eventually, he became a so successful he had to turn down jobs to finish his degree. He wasn’t able to play Mephistopheles in Faustus at the Kennedy Center because of his senior recital, and he turned down a role as one of Channing Tatum’s backup dancers in Step Up in favor of completing his senior year.
His devotion to education paid off; he left Catholic University with his degree, skills finely honed, and with no sign of success petering off. Catholic University has launched a few big names from our drama and musical theater departments. Now Jarquin-Moreland can attach his name to the roster.