NKOTB's Joey McIntyre Says Performing in Broadway's Waitress 'Has Felt Like a Family'
Although he may be most well-known as the youngest member of boy band powerhouse New Kids on the Block, McIntyre has been charting his own course for over three decades—through music, on screen, and in the theater.
Joey McIntyre feels right at home on the stage—any stage.
“Whether I was singing for a stadium full of people or in a play with 10 people there, it didn’t really matter—I just always knew I wanted to be right there,” says McIntyre, 46, who made his return to Broadway in the hit musical Waitress in February. “That immediate feedback from the audience is really special to me and I’ve always had a clear connection with that.”
In the musical based on Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 movie about a small-town waitress who enters a pie contest in hopes of using the prize money to escape her unhappy marriage, McIntyre steps into the role of Dr. Jim Pomatter—a mild-mannered gynecologist who has an affair with lead character Jenna. “Every day I’m finding out more who this guy is,” he says about playing the role. “One of the benefits of having eight shows a week is that I always get another crack at it. Each show, I learn more about me and my character. So I go back to the drawing board and come out next time, hopefully be a little better, and just experience it again.”
Although he may be most well-known as the youngest member of boy band powerhouse New Kids on the Block, McIntyre has been charting his own course for over three decades—through music, on screen, and in the theater. “I’ve been really lucky to be able to explore all the different parts of myself,” he says. “In the same year, I can make music and go on tour with the group, but then I can also put in the time and do the work and get to be part of something as wonderful as Waitress—it has felt like a family to me. I don’t take that for granted.”
The last year has included some big changes for McIntyre, who relocated with his family from Los Angeles to New York City in 2018. “My wife [Barrett] is originally from New York and I’d lived here in my 20s, and we would fantasize about moving back,” says the star, who is father to sons Griffin, 11, and Rhys, 9, and daughter Kira, 7. “We were ready for a change so we decided to take the leap.”
The cross-country shift has allowed his children to become “cool city kids,” but it also has come with professional advantages. “We moved to New York for a lot of reasons, but career-wise, the top thing on my list was to do theater,” says McIntyre, who will appear in Waitress at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre until April 9. “The power of intention, it’s quite a thing.”
Personally, being on the East Coast allowed him to be closer to his father Thomas Joseph McIntyre, who died late last year. “He was in Boston so I could jump on a train and be there in a few hours and be there for the weekend,” he says. “Being able to spend time with him, especially during those last few months, was a real gift.”
He adds: “My Dad would always say, ‘It’s all showbiz.’ He was a showman deep down in his heart. He knew the value in a good joke or a song or a laugh,” says McIntyre. “He lived a very full life and he was a very passionate, faithful person. And I feel like he’s still very much alive because I feel like he’s with me. He’s not missing out on this experience because he’s always with me.”
Luckily for McIntyre, his father was able to see him perform “literally thousands of times” during the NKOTB’s meteoric rise in the 1980s and after the band reunited in 2008. “No one got a bigger kick out of our success than him. He loved every minute of it—he was the original Blockhead.”
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After McIntyre finishes his run in Waitress in April, he will immediately shift gears and begin preparations for NKOTB’s MixTape summer tour with ’80s music stars Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and hip hop acts Salt-N-Pepa and Naughty By Nature. Last week, NKOTB released the video for their new single “Boys in the Band (Boy Band Anthem),” a history lesson-meets-celebration of boy bands through the years—and features cameos from Bell Biv DeVoe, NSYNC’s Lance Bass and Debbie Gibson.
“The New Kids are a family—not only the 5 of us, but also with the fans that have been with us for so long,” he says. “We get to celebrate all sorts of moments in our lives, within the group and out on our own. And for me, Broadway is a big one to celebrate.”