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EXCLUSIVE: Mark Ballas On Getting the 'Jersey Boys' Lead and What He'll Miss Most on 'DWTS'

by Zach Seemayer 9:50 PM PDT, September 06, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Mark Ballas On Getting the 'Jersey Boys' Lead and What He'll Miss Most on 'DWTS'

Mark Ballas is stepping away from the Dancing With the Stars stage this season to show off his musical theater talents in the lead role as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway, and he couldn't be more excited about the opportunity.

"I've been a fan of this show since it came out," Ballas told ET's Cameron Mathison on Tuesday. "I've seen it on [London's] West End, I've seen it in Vegas, I've seen it numerous times in New York, and it's actually coming to a close… this is the last run, and I'm going to be able to play the final Frankie on Broadway, so this is incredible. I'm super excited."

Jersey Boys -- which tells the behind-the-scenes story of singer Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the group responsible for classic hits like "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man" and "Sherry" -- opened on Broadway in November 2005 and is one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, tallying over 4,600 performances by the time the musical comes to an end in January.

RELATED: Mark Ballas Is 'Thrilled' To Play Frankie Valli in Final Months of 'Jersey Boys' on Broadway

According to Ballas, musical theater was his passion long before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a television career, and getting the chance to star as Valli in the show's final months on Broadway means more than he could have asked for.

"When Jersey Boys came out, I still remember it was '05 or '06 in England, me and all my buddies went to see it," the 30-year-old DWTS pro recounted. "I remember just being blown away."

"I was a fan of the Four Seasons for years. My grandfather loved them, my dad loved them. So I was very familiar with the music," he continued. "I've seen the Broadway show maybe nine times… so to be able to [play] that role and become that character is a huge honor."

The honor is even greater when you consider who has final approval over the actor that gets to play the legendary crooner: Frankie Valli himself, as well as the Four Seasons' songwriter and keyboardist, Bob Gaudio.

RELATED: Derek Hough 'Honestly Cried' When He Found Out Mark Ballas Landed a Role on Broadway

One of Ballas' close friends and DWTS co-stars, Derek Hough, recently spoke with ET about his pal's new gig and admitted that he "honestly cried" when he found out Ballas was going to play Valli.

"He's in New York right now and he just keeps sending me pictures of Jersey Boys posters," Ballas said of his buddy. "He was super thrilled for me."

While Hough is returning to DWTS after skipping the last season, Ballas said he's excited to take some time to get away from the kind of performing he does on the hit reality competition show to focus on a "very different" type of dancing in Jersey Boys.

"It's kind of more about the gestures and the charisma rather than the technical aspect of it," Ballas explained. "So, I'm looking forward to spending time focusing on being a musician and an actor first."

However, there are a few aspects of the show that he's going to miss, including "the competing, being able to create and be creative, [and] of course, my friends and my fans."

WATCH: Why Mark Ballas Said No to Returning to 'Dancing With the Stars'

While Ballas said he didn't know if returning to DWTS as a dancer was something he saw in his future, he was more than enthusiastic about returning as a guest judge.

"That would be really nice to sit behind the desk, so don't rule that out," Ballas said. "Hopefully at some point. Maybe this season, who knows?... Jersey Boys is dark on Mondays so if they need me to get out there for some judging, I can make it. I can make that happen."

Ballas, who has appeared in 18 seasons of DWTS, also shared some important advice for those competing in the upcoming season: "Don't overthink it."

"It's a dance show. Have fun," he added. "Get serious, be competitive, be strong, push the boundaries at days when you think you can't, be prepared for a long haul, but most importantly, don't overthink it."

ET broke the news last week that Ballas would be moving to New York City for a year to star in the best-selling musical. Check out the video below to hear more about his departure from his hit TV show and the handwritten message of gratitude he shared with his fans on Twitter.

Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars kicks off Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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