Mark Ballas may be taking a time-out from Dancing With the Stars this season, but he has a great excuse. The dance pro, 30, is sitting out the current run of the ballroom competition to hit the stage as legendary singer Frankie Valli in the last few months of Jersey Boys' Broadway run.
“I'm definitely going to miss it, but I'm looking forward to having some time to do something else for a bit," Ballas, who was one of DWTS' pro dancers for 19 consecutive seasons, told Us Weekly. But the hoofer also said that he's excited to be "watching it as a fan."
Ballas first confirmed his Broadway news on Twitter, writing, "THRILLED to announce I'll be playing the final ’Frankie Valli’ in @JerseyBoysInfo on Broadway starting Oct 18th till Jan 15th. See U there."
While hosting an event debuting the latest game for Nintendo 3DS, Yo-kai Watch 2, on September 8 in Los Angeles, Ballas explained how this new role came his way.
"I went and auditioned, old school! I didn’t cut any lines!” Mark told Us. “I sent in my tapes like everyone else. The producers liked my tapes, so then I went to New York and auditioned, did the two-hour dance call, singing call, acting call. I did it all the way you’re meant to do it. And after my New York set of auditions, I was coming home and I was on the plane, literally, about to take off, and I got the call!”
Although Ballas' fans know him for his dance skills, what they might not know is that his background in musical theater is extensive too.
"A lot of people know me as a dancer, but for me, when I started entertaining, theater and music was where I started,” the pro hoofer said. "And I trained for it, I got a diploma in college for musical theater. I worked for years for that diploma and graduated with honors, so now I’m finally putting it to use!”
“For me, it’s not a role that no matter if you have a fan base or not, you can’t fake it,” he added of his Broadway endeavor. “It’s a lot of singing, and it’s going to be great to be out there as an actor and a musician first."
In fact, the two-time mirrorball champion says his theatrical choreography is what got him involved with Nintendo in the first place.
“I became homies with Nintendo after I did the Super Mario dance [with celebrity partner Sadie Robertson] on DWTS!" Ballas explained. “We had to call Nintendo to get clearance to use the costumes and characters, and they were very specific on how the crown for the princess was made — and they sent us all the shells, the kart, the real things for the set. They sent me a Nintendo DS and I just went on tour with my fiancée [singer BC Jean] for the summer and they set us up with Nintendo for the bus! So we were going HAM on Super Mario World, so it’s been a lot of fun, it’s been cool.”
But will fans see him return to the ballroom one day?
"I’m not saying I’ll never come back. I love the show, I love it.” Ballas told Us. “It’s part of my life and I’ve spent nine years and my whole twenties doing it. But I’m excited for this new chapter. Broadway’s always been a dream of mine and my music with Alexander Jean is going really well. I'm getting married this year — it’s a lot going on! And I’m excited to see how it all goes."
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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