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Nick Jonas knows 'How to Succeed'


Nick Jonas attends the curtain call of Nick Jonas' debut in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway at The Hirshfeld Theatre on January 24, 2012 in New York City.

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NEW YORK -- Attention, young people milling about outside the Al Hirschfeld Theatre: Nick Jonas will not be popping out to shake your hand after matinees of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

He's been asked to stay inside. Why? He literally will stop traffic.

"I would love to say hello to them, but they've advised me for traffic purposes and other reasons that it's best not to go out," says the youngest of the three heartthrob Jonas Brothers singer-songwriting siblings in his dressing room. "It could get interesting."

Downstairs and outside on 45th Street, scores of tweens and teens wait in vain for Jonas to emerge after his afternoon show. But it's a Wednesday -- one of two matinee days -- and all he can do is shower, sip coffee, and check messages on his phone.

Michael Urie, the former Ugly Betty actor who stars alongside Jonas in the musical, says that when he steps outside the theater, the crowd asks two questions. The first: "Is Nick coming out?" followed by "Will you go back in and tell him to come out?"

"I have never met anyone who has gobs of fans like Nick does," Urie says. "He is so incredibly aware of them, respectful of them, and gracious with them. He always stops to talk with them and take photos."

Jonas, 19, has just finished his 34th show as the amoral corporate climber J. Pierrepont Finch, having taken over the part from Darren Criss of Fox's hit show Glee, who briefly assumed the role from Daniel Radcliffe.

The no-meet-and-greet-fans policy was installed during Radcliffe's reign, a 10-month triumph that packed the theater and earned the Harry Potter star new respect for his energy and enthusiasm.

Jonas, who is committed to playing the song-and-dance part until at least July 1, has seen the show's box office suffer a little in the wake of Radcliffe's departure, but says he feels a different sort of pressure.

"The pressure comes in knowing how big a role this is, how big an opportunity this is, knowing that it's the kind of role that you need to take ownership of and really command," he says. "That's where the pressure comes from, I'd say, not so much from previous Finches or productions or anything like that. It's the kind of pressure that pushes you to be better, which I think is always the good kind of pressure."

Fans who miss seeing Jonas on matinee days can see him on television. He made a guest appearance Monday night on the NBC series Smash, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a Broadway show.

Jonas plays former child star Lyle West, a precocious talent who gets sucked into helping finance the musical at the heart of Smash. In the episode, Jonas puts his spin on Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet" at a fancy loft party and puts the moves on one of the actresses.

Though he's filmed only one guest spot, Jonas says he would be happy to return. "I'm really happy with the way it turned out," he says. "It's always fun as an actor to put on a different hat and play out a scene and really go for it."

Until then, Jonas will be hard at work on Broadway, playing a window washer who rises swiftly up the corporate ladder in the jazz-flavored Broadway musical with a score by Frank Loesser.

Jonas spent two months in the gym just working on his legs and core to prepare for the physical demands of a part that leaves even fit actors out of breath. He also has tweaked his diet, which he already carefully monitors as a diabetic.

"More than anything, it's about pacing yourself and trying to understand your own body and how you'll respond and react both in the physical sense and just the major life adjustment that comes into play when you make the leap into something like this," he says.

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