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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Charting the course to fame: Win tickets to "7,000 Miles to Broadway"

Apr 03, 2024 12:19PM ● By Jan Weeks

J. Robert Spencer figures he traveled about 7,000 miles before he hit the big time on Broadway. His chariot was a wood-paneled station wagon with an eight-track tape deck and a radio that played constantly on every family road trip. His mother and father loved listening to country and western, and his older sisters were into Frampton, Fleetwood Mac, the Mamas and the Papas, the Zombies, the Beatles and the Monkees. This variety provided Spencer with a rich musical backdrop to sing along to.

On Thursday, May 9, Spencer will share his favorite pieces as he takes you on a musical journey across genres and decades with his show “7,000 Miles to Broadway” at the Avalon Theatre. In this final performance of the season for Community Concerts of the Grand Valley, Spencer will take you back to the music that shaped his journey to Broadway stardom in “Jersey Boys” and “Next to Normal.”

Why did it take 7,000 miles to realize his dream? 

“My father was in retail sales, and we traveled and moved all over,” Spencer recalled. “All totaled, I figured I spent at least that many miles listening to music in the car.” 

He also included the miles he spent performing on cruise ships. 

Spencer starred as Nick Massi in the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys,” the musical that celebrated The Four Seasons, as well as a musical written by Carole King, one of his idols.

When COVID hit, it forced Spencer to adapt to a new style of performing. His manager  suggested he do a one-man show, leading Spencer to focus on chronicling his musical journey, which started in the family car. He picked up his acoustic guitar and started writing the performance, comparing his act to a “big jukebox.” 

The storyline takes the audience from New York City’s Broadway standards to a nostalgic trip through the rock era, family favorites and the good old days. Attendees can expect to hear songs from The Four Seasons, Frank Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Jim Croce, The Byrds, The Bee Gees and “West Side Story,” along with Broadway classics.

“You never know which tools you’ll need for life,” said Spencer, so he developed talents that led him to become a versatile artist proficient in singing, acting, dancing and playing multiple instruments like guitar, piano and drums. 

He has acted in numerous movies, but his favorite project was the documentary “On Coal River,” where he served as the executive producer. The film highlights the issues of strip mining in West Virginia and the resulting health impacts on the community.

For Spencer, the best part of performing is making everyone smile and laugh, feeling a sense of connection when the audience leans forward in their seats. 

Driving for hours is his least favorite part of touring. However, he appreciates the opportunity to discover new sights and experiences on the road. 

If available, individual concerts tickets are $35 plus fees starting three weeks before the concert. Buy tickets at the Avalon Box Office, 645 Main St., Grand Junction, or by calling 970-263-5757 Thursday through Saturday from 12-6 p.m. 


Send in your answer by Thursday, April 18 to be entered into a drawing for two tickets to see “7,000 Miles to Broadway” at 7:30 p.m. on May 9 at Grand Junction’s Avalon Theatre.