Born in Los Angeles, California to Cuban-American parents, Andrew Varela lived in many places while growing up, including Taiwan, The Philippines and Florida. The Varela family ultimately settled in Summit, New Jersey, where, in middle school plays and choirs, it became clear that Andrew was destined to be onstage. Gaining experience in high school musicals such as GODSPELL, GREASE and WEST SIDE STORY, Andrew was singled out for his portrayal of Pippin in the Summit High School production of that show and received a Best Actor award. The acting bug had bitten and bitten hard.
His college years had him attending Rutgers University, studying both Economics and Music and performing in operas such as ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, ALBERT HERRING, and THE STUDENT PRINCE alongside musicals like DAMN YANKEES, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, and ANYTHING GOES. He somehow found time to be awarded First Place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing voice competition - two years in a row - and tour the former Soviet Union with Rutgers' prestigious Kirkpatrick Choir.
Soon after graduating, Andrew was cast in his first real theater job which, in turn, allowed him to become a member of Actor's Equity Association. Now he was officially a professional actor.
His career allowed him to see much of the country and to meet many fine people. While performing the title role in THE STEPHEN FOSTER STORY in Bardstown, Kentucky, he developed a deep affection for the state and its inhabitants. He still visits his friends in Bloomfield as often as he can and has even assisted in the delivery of a calf or two.
Andrew then embarked on his first National Tour with EVITA where, as it happens, he would perform alongside, and fall in love with, the woman who would become his wife, Susan Spencer.
Andrew made his Broadway debut in the Alan Menken/Tim Rice musical KING DAVID, and shortly after that, his dream came true when he was cast in the Broadway company of LES MISÉRABLES, a show that would dominate his life for the next four years. It was here that he immersed himself in the role of Jean Valjean (undoubtably the most difficult male role in musical theater) and went on to perform it over 300 times with both the Broadway and National Touring companies. It was during this time that he and his wife were featured on TLC's "A Baby Story" which followed the Broadway couple through the pregnancy and birth of their son.
Broadway beckoned again with LITTLE WOMEN: THE MUSICAL, where Andrew performed the role of Professor Bhaer. He then took the role on the road with the LITTLE WOMEN First National Tour and received glowing reviews for his performance of the bookish professor who gets the girl.
Then he did a 180, going from the professorial to the piratical, he landed the bombastic role of The Pirate King in the Goodspeed production of PIRATES! - an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE that was so successful it moved from Goodspeed to the storied Papermill Playhouse in Milburn, NJ.
After that, Andrew fullfilled a lifelong ambition when, under the watchful eye of Stephen Sondheim, he performed the role of Jules in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Roundabout's Studio 54. Just being a part of this Tony-nominated production meant that he had truly arrived.
Andrew then returned "home" to Papermill when he was cast as Jud Fry in OKLAHOMA!. His sympathetic portrayal of the violent loner earned critical acclaim and was indicative of a powerful empathy towards all of his characters. He was then able to bring this empathy to the role of The Phantom in the National Tour of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
Initially, Andrew was surprised when he was chosen to play the role of Inspector Javert in the 25th anniversary tour of LES MISÉRABLES. Despite having always seen himself as a Jean Valjean, he relished the opportunity to bring his trademark humanity to this most definitive "bad guy". After an initial sold-out run at Papermill and now currently touring, LES MISERABLES is breaking box office records across the country and Andrew's performance is earning rave reviews in major publications, including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Miami Herald.
With an amazing resume behind him, a current smash-hit on stage and an original television show in development, there's no question that we will be seeing much more of the multifaceted and multitalented Andrew Varela.