From the White House to the Great White Way!
Madam Secretary star Erich Bergen will make his Broadway debut in Waitress next week, playing Dr. Pomatter opposite Katharine McPhee June 5 through Aug. 12. And PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the actor in costume.
While this is the first time he’s joining a Broadway cast, Bergen is no stranger to the stage: The actor, 32, previously played Bob Gaudio in both the national tour and Las Vegas productions of Jersey Boys. Then, in 2014, he reprised his role in Clint Eastwood’s movie adaptation.
Before he takes the stage next Tuesday, Bergen caught up with PEOPLE about realizing his Broadway dreams.
Congrats on your Broadway debut! What does it mean to you to star in a Broadway show?
Thank you! For me, this is the full circle moment. I saw my first Broadway show when I was 10 years old, and ever since then, I’ve been chasing my dream of being in a big Broadway musical.
I’m very grateful for the career I’ve had in film and television, but it feels so great to come back home to my first love — being on stage in front of an audience. I get to check off the No. 1 item on my bucket list, and that is so satisfying.
How excited are you to be in Waitress?
To be a part of something that you already love as a fan makes this much more than a job. It’s kind of like when I was growing up and went to Stagedoor Manor, a theater camp in upstate New York: every summer I got to play my dream roles in my favorite musicals. This is kind of like that … except it’s on Broadway.
What do you love about the show?
This is a show that is about the pursuit of happiness and all that comes with that pursuit. All of us are in pursuit of happiness, but we tend to make things messy and complicated on the way there. This show focuses on that, which makes it so relatable and inspiring — which is why people come back to this show over and over again.
I love that a Broadway musical can be more than just “entertaining.” Also, I’m completely obsessed with Sara Bareilles’ score. The songs are insanely catchy. Truly, it has everything I want in a Broadway musical. It makes you howl with laughter and four minutes later, you cry your eyes out. It’s the perfect evening at the theater.
Do you remember the first time you saw Waitress?
I took a road trip to see it in Boston before it came to Broadway because I had so many friends in the show and wanted to support them. I fell in love with the show that night, and I thought how much I would love to do a show like that.
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Did you get any advice from Sara Bareilles (who wrote the music and lyrics) before you joined the production?
Yes, she called and said, “Please don’t ruin my songs.” I’m kidding. I’ve known Sara for a few years and she couldn’t be more supportive and kind. She’s been busy getting ready to host the Tony Awards this year but even in her busy state, she’s been texting me checking in.
What’s it been like working with Katharine McPhee?
She’s extraordinary. She’s beautiful, kind and sings like Katharine McPhee. What more could I want?