March 25, 2008

Details on West End’s Frankie–Ryan Molloy!

March 25th, 2008’s Matt Wolf has some interesting details about Ryan Molloy, who plays Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys’ London cast! The actor talks about his background, what it’s like to play the legendary Frankie Valli in JB, the audience’s reaction to the show, his vocal chops, the differences between the West End and the Broadway show, and the Jersey handshake. Here’s a preview of what the 31-year-old actor had to say:

Hometown: North Shields, a tough suburb of Newcastle in the north of England, an area whose distinctive cadences are evident in Molloy’s speech. This working-class U.K. fishing milieu might seem worlds away from that of Frankie Valli’s New Jersey roots, though not necessarily, says the show’s main man. “They’re quite similar. I grew up with a real community spirit. And because our father was away a lot in the navy, my sister and I were basically raised by my mother; having that gives you a lot of mental toughness.” What’s more, he says, “my mother was a huge Four Seasons fan. She was really involved in the northern soul scene and used to love to go down and rock out to the music. So although I didn’t really think I knew all these songs at the first sing-through, the minute they started playing, I knew them instantly. My mother must have instilled all these fantastic melodies into my mind.”

Shake On It: Any thoughts on that famous “Jersey handshake” between Valli and Bob Gaudio, creator of so many of the Four Seasons’ greatest hits? (That role is taken in this production by Stephen Ashfield.) “Me and Stephen have really got it down,” Molloy chuckles down the phone line, the cast having spent much of this past December at so-called “Jersey camp” in New York and then Nashville order to bond with another and focus on such things. “I just make sure to look at him as if to say, `You f*ck with me, I’ll f*ck with you.’”

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