Josh Groban isn’t the greatest at taking vacations.
After a stretch of eight and a half months as Pierre in Broadway’s “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” Groban found it difficult to kick his feet up. So difficult, in fact, that he dove right in to another project immediately.
The resulting album was “Bridges,” Groban’s first to include original music since 2013. Since the record’s release last September, Groban has released a DVD performance of the supporting tour’s stop at Madison Square Garden.
On Friday, Groban will bring the tour to Hershey’s Giant Center. The Hershey show is one of just five featuring trumpet player Chris Botti.
Much of the show is true to the DVD recording, Groban says, but Botti’s appearance will add some fresh duets not included in the Madison Square Garden show.
“If you’ve never seen Chris Botti play live, there are very few instrumental experiences you can have that are greater than that,” Groban says.
Groban says his Tony-nominated appearance in “Great Comet” influenced the way he approached “Bridges.” For one, being in a show with so many others making their Broadway debut meant creativity surrounded him daily.
“We were all kind of a bunch of weirdos coming together for this very strange and beautiful musical,” Groban says. “I know just from the friendships that I’ve forged in that show that so many albums came from different cast members because of that show, because we were all just so inspired every day.”
He made the most of his nervous energy backstage, tinkering on a piano and forming the buds of what would bloom into songs.
“Once I took my final bow, I said, ‘OK, I miss my day job,’ ” Groban says. “I want to go write. I want to go sing my own stuff now.”
The resulting concerts have been an exciting return to form for Groban, who had not done an arena tour in five years. It’s always a treat to feed off the energy of a crowd that size, he says. The show has a dynamic range, from the grand moments of Groban’s lushly arranged hits, to a more intimate portion during which Groban performs on a smaller stage surrounded by the crowd.
Returning to his catalog after a few years has enriched his perspective on his own songs, Groban says.
“This is my first arena show in over five years, so to be able to go back and play songs from the first couple of albums with the hindsight of having lived a life now and having had those experiences now, those older songs have much deeper meaning to me that I think comes across to the fans,” Groban says.
The same day Groban released “Bridges,” the comedy-drama television show “The Good Cop” premiered on Netflix, in which Groban stars as the buttoned-up son of cool guy cop Tony Danza.
While the series has since been canceled, Groban says Danza showed him the ropes of acting for a camera.
“He was definitely the patriarch of the group,” Groban says. “Just keeping his energy and seeing how he’s always so committed to each and every line. He was not a guy who flubbed ever.”
Groban is known to poke fun at himself through television appearances and cameos, from the now-classic “Groban Sings Casey” skit on sketch comedy show “Tim And Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” to “The Simpsons,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Parks and Recreation.” And, he’s known to be an entertaining person to follow on Twitter.
“The great thing about the way people consume entertainment now is you have 100 ways to not pigeon hole yourself. … But with streaming and the internet and all that really gives you a chance to show you all the different little corners of your twisted brain,” Groban says.
Now that he has his foot in the door with Netflix, would he ever consider doing a full comedy special, perhaps in the vain of “Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special?”
“I love incorporating comedy into my shows,” Groban says. “I love incorporating some of that weirdness into my live shows. And, yeah, I would love to at some point do something that shows both sides in one capacity. That’s something I’m definitely working very hard on figuring out and might be getting back to you on that.”
As for other future plans, Groban says he’d like to explore more classical music as his voice matures. He dreams of returning to Broadway, too, specifically in a Stephen Sondheim show.
Also on the to-do list: learn Japanese and get his pilot’s license. Those are just for fun though.
“I think it’s time to get a couple of hobbies,” Groban says.
And since he isn’t so fond of vacation, he might as well.