December 11, 2008

Bob Gaudio–From the Charts to the Stage

December 11th, 2008

Lisa Bornstein of Rocky Mountain News has a great interview with Bob Gaudio and the new young actor who’s playing him in Jersey Boys national tour, Josh Franklin.

At the age of 15, Bob Gaudio had his first hit with the future Nair commercial Short Shorts.

Now 66, he’s the star of one of the biggest hits on Broadway, and he never takes the stage. Rather, he’s played by an actor in the show Jersey Boys, which traces the improbable rise to stardom of the Four Seasons.

In Denver, he’ll be played by Colorado Springs native Josh Franklin. Watching the show, Gaudio has been offered an odd vision of his younger self – not necessarily the one he has in his mind.

“Extremely intelligent, handsome, talented,” he said jokingly. “In actuality, when I look at some of the guys playing the role, it’s astounding how much talent they actually have. What we had, I suppose, was originality.

“The truth is, I really don’t know what I was like when I was 15, 16. Frankie (Valli) probably had the better observation of me than I would. But you know, it changes with every actor. Everybody’s got a different little swagger, and somewhere in the middle is me.”

Gaudio’s first foray into musical theater was adapting Francis Ford Coppola’s film Peggy Sue Got Married for the stage, which played in London but didn’t make it to Broadway. He found a fan of the Four Seasons in then-artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse Des McAnuff, who connected Gaudio and Valli with Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, who shaped the songs into the story of the band’s history.

“Being that they’re two Jews writing about four Italians from Newark when they’re from the Upper West Side of New York, it’s a strange combination,” Gaudio said.

“I think what infatuated them was not so much the music but the story, the depth to the story and the fact that they could turn this into something other than a jukebox musical.”

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