Sometimes it’s the road less travelled that will take you to the top. Just ask Jared Mason, a Hoboken resident and star in the Broadway hit show “Million Dollar Quartet.”
“In order to make ends meet in this business for 20 years I’ve had to do it all,” Mason said in an interview last week. “I’ve performed a lot of different styles of singing, as well as juggling, riding a unicycle, tap dancing, ballet, and even yodeling.”
Now, Mason performs more traditional acts as a guitarist and pianist, playing the parts of Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins in Million Dollar Quartet. Mason currently performs as Carl Perkins. In March, Mason will switch outfits to take on the role of Jerry Lee Lewis.
“We drove right over the border and suddenly it was as if the angels were singing.” – Jared Mason
Mason married his wife, Noni, 10 years ago, and since then, they’ve lived in seven different cities. From different places in Minnesota to Massachusetts, and Massachusetts to California, then back to Minnesota, and finally to Hoboken, the family of five has seen and experienced all different parts of America.
Mason said he moved to California after being inspired by the Nora Jones album “Come Away with Me.” His album “She Believes in Me” won Independent Album of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards in 2004.
The move to Hoboken came as a relief in the house-hunting process for the Mason family. After his audition in New York, Mason received a call in an area airport before his trip back home to Minnesota informing him that he would soon be performing on Broadway.
“Initially we thought we would just live in Manhattan. Let’s take the plunge, live without a car, and we actually found a spot we put an offer on uptown,” he said. “But that fell through and we continued to look. One day when we were looking, my wife broke down sobbing in Manhattan, saying, how are we going to raise our kids in this mayhem?”
Mason and his wife did what so many New Yorkers have done over the years, and made his way across the Hudson. However, Hoboken wasn’t the first stop.
“I got this bright idea, and took her to Target in Jersey City,” Mason said. “I said ‘Honey, let’s go to Jersey City and let’s go to Target.’ ”
The Minnesota-based store is her favorite.
“We got to Jersey and it was like a breath of fresh air,” Mason said.
They then made their way to Hoboken, having heard of the mile-square city from a friend.
“We drove right over the border and suddenly it was as if the angels were singing,” he said. “There was this immediate sense of peace and calm, beautiful neighborhoods, nice architecture and landscaping, and of course going down Washington Street, there was this amazing sense that there’s a lot going on here.”
Now, Mason and his family live uptown on 14th Street, and his children attend the Mustard Seed School.
What lies in the future for Mason may mirror his past experiences.
“The most fun I ever had in the music business is making a record and performing together with my wife,” Mason said. “It’s something we’d like to continue doing.”
The couple’s band is named “The Lovers Show” and was dubbed by a Minnesota newspaper as “Minnesota’s own Sonny and Cher.”
“One of the reviewers said our show was like a Broadway scale production,” Mason said. “Somebody came up with a name for the type of music we played. It was ‘pop-trical.’ Pop music with a theatrical edge.”
The couple, who met while performing in “Stomp,” the well-known musical in the late 1990s, also have bigger aspirations.
“We always talk about how great it would be to have our own TV show, just like a Sonny and Cher,” Mason said. “Something of a modern age show with good family values. Just being ourselves, playing music, talking about matters of the heart, being funny, and having a good time.”
Mason has also worked with a friend from his time at Stomp, Steven Dean Davis, on their own possible musical in the future.
“It’s a collaboration match made in heaven,” Mason said of him and Davis. “When we get together, amazing and creative things happen.”
Mason said his three children also “have shown a musical aptitude.”
“Who knows, we’ve even discussed the possibility of hitting the road and having a modern day Partridge Family,” Mason said. “Getting the tour bus and hitting the road. The possibilities are limitless with this family.”
But for now, Mason’s heart lies with Million Dollar Quartet.
“As long as they make money they will keep the show running,” he said, when asked about his time remaining in Hoboken. “The show is doing really well. Hopefully it will stay going for a while.”
However, Mason knows that somewhere down the road lies another adventure.
“One thing that’s exciting about my family’s life is we never know what’s going to happen next,” Mason said. “In the fall, we don’t know what we’ll be doing because we always think of what’s on the horizon and challenge ourselves.”
For more information on Mason and his wife’s show, go to TheLoversShow.com. His award-winning album “She Believes in Me” is available on iTunes.
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com