ABN Nick Fradiani
ABN Nick Fradiani

American Idol Winner Nick Fradiani Steps Into Neil Diamond’s Shoes

“Sweet Caroline!” American Idol winner Nick Fradiani has stepped into the role of music legend Neil Diamond in the hit bio-musical A Beautiful Noise. Fradiani assumes the role full-time after performing as the alternate. Spectrum News NY1 entertainment journalist Frank DiLella recently caught up with Fradiani to chat about his take on the music icon, and more.

You’re now playing Neil Diamond on Broadway eight times a week. Were you a big Neil Diamond fan prior to taking on this show?

I feel like I grew up with him. My dad is a working musician and he loved Neil, so he brought me to my first concert to see Neil Diamond in the late ’80s, early ’90s. I was 4. I knew all the music, and it’s in me. He was a big part of my childhood, so this is a full circle, to do this.

What have your interactions been like with Neil?  

He was around during rehearsals before Boston [where the musical held its world premiere]. I didn’t get to work with him firsthand, but I did get to speak with him and he wrote me a nice letter. His wife sent me a video of him wishing me luck right before I took over the role full-time. So just to know I have his support is a huge thing for me.

You’re stepping into the role full-time, taking over for Will Swenson. Did Will share any words of advice?

Watching and learning from Will was the best advice he could give me. I wrote him a letter before he left, saying my biggest thing I admired in him was his work ethic. I’m very obsessive-compulsive when it comes to my work — I want to get everything right. And from the first moment I met him, he was entrenched in this role and worked his butt off for a long time.

Music legend Bob Gaudio is also involved with your show as both producer and orchestrator. What has it been like working with Bob?

I do talk to Bob. In fact, the music director and Bob and I did a call right before I started up, and he was hands-on in rehearsals. I was freaked out when I got to meet him because he’s one of the most prolific songwriters ever! He’s incredibly hands-on.x

When you’re not working on Broadway, you write and perform your own music. What has the great Bob Gaudio taught you about producing your own music?

When I first met him, I just wanted to ask him “How did you do that? Keep producing all those great songs?” And he said, “This is what I did: I just kept working at it.” I’ve been putting records out with my band for over a decade. The more you do it, the more confident you get at it.

A lot of folks know you from winning American Idol in 2015. Did that experience change your life?

So much. My goal in life was to be a musician. Idol made music a reality. Music has been my career since 2015. It wasn’t easy — I wasn’t a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood–level winner. So I had to really adjust. Thank God I found musical theater in 2019. I did a national tour of A Bronx Tale and got obsessed with musical theater. I really love it.

Nick Fradiani in A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
Nick Fradiani in A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

You get to tap into your inner rock star with this show. You’re singing and playing the guitar throughout the musical.

It’s a blessing. I’m singing rock songs with a guitar in my hands and performing in front of a big audience. it’s the perfect show for me. We get some awesome guitars too! We’re sponsored by Gibson.

This show marks your Broadway debut. Now that you’re a part of the musical theater/Broadway club, what is your dream musical theater project?

Short and sweet: It hasn’t been written yet. One of my favorite artists is Bruce Springsteen; if they ever did a musical about him, that would be awesome.

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