The world-renowned musical, “Jersey Boys” tells a true-life story of the 1960’s Rock and Roll group, The Four Seasons and the original Jersey Boy ‘Frankie Valli.’ This legendary show recently hit the Garden State for an encore performance. However, the show lives right here Off- Broadway.
They were just four guys from Jersey…. Until they sang their very first note.
I sat down with all four actors in the new cast, they were a delight to talk to. Nick Massi's role who is played by Mark Edwards said, "I think doing a show like this is unique beause these are all real people. These are all people who existed, who some are still living. Some are not. But they are all real people. You dont have to do anything extra with this script."
Frankie Valli sat down to do an interview for the Grammy Museum in LA years back. He reminisced about the time he spent with The Four Seasons and said, "I always felt there was a real story behind it. There are these four guys, who grew up with conditions in life who were not the very best. Didnt know if they were going to make it or not, in anything! Determination is a major factor in everything that we did."
This famed production exposes the ‘behind the music’ perspective of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. It was a long and rocky road for this quartet before they swept the nation in the early 1960s.
One of the questions I asked the cast was about the acting process and how to learn about Frankie’s life and deliver?
Aaron DeJesus, who plays the role of Frankie Valli, explained, "When they hire us, they dont want us to be a frankie valli impersonator, they hire everyone based on their talent and ability to portray these roles, but also for who we are and they take great care in putting the right people together."
He added, "Taking on a role like Frankie Valli is an iconic role because its daunting, everyone expects a certain sound, a certain look, and we do our best to create that, but we also bring in a little bit of who we are.
One of my favorite lines of the interview was when Aaron said, "There is always the looming pressure that he can walk into the room at any time and watch me portay him."
This quintessential American pop group depicts the meaning of a “rags to riches” tale with a storyline including prison, infidelity, drugs and death.
Bob Gaudio's character, played by Cory Jeacoma, said "The script is about their life. About The Four Season’s lives and the fact that they went through everything they went through is fascinating. The fact that their music syncs up to their stories really, really is incredible. The way that they arranged all the songs to work so cohesively. They went through the ringer- the ups, the downs, and everything between."
This production opened in Manhattan in 2005 and it was the 12th longest running show in Broadway history. 'Jersey Boys' has been seen by over 25 million people to date.
Then, I wondered about adapted the famous 'Jersey accent.' How do you accomplish that as an actor when each person comes from somewhere else?
Tommy Devito's character, played by Nicolas Dromard said, "Most of us spent a few hours with a dialect coach. We actually read our lines and took notes on the page so you learn where to put the emphasis or how to change the vowel to make it sound like youre from that region..It's very Jersey Proud and Jersey Strong. Its celebrating the culture - Springfield, Bloomfield"
This Tony, Grammy & Olivier Award-Winning Musical recently encored in its old stomping grounds at The State Theatre in New Brunswick. Now, they’re currently “working their way back to you” off-Broadway at the New World Stage Theatre.
DeJesus adds, "It's fun to see so many people from so many companies, everyone in this cast has done the show in the past, whether it be on Broadway, Las Vegas, wherever. It's really exciting to see all these people from all these amazing companies come together - its really awesome."
Frankie Valli’s tunes ultimately, put Jersey on the map.
Edwards said, “When you do a show like this that has amazing music, I mean its very very easy to get behind it and really enjoy it and just enjoy what youre doing with just fantastic music."
Oh, what a night indeed, it would be to see the ‘Jersey Boys’ in action. Tickets are available online at Telecharge.Com - For the full segment that aired on Jersey Matters, check out this link: