February 24, 2006

Frankie Valli’s Perseverance Helped to Get Jersey Boys on Stage

February 24th, 2006

Although Frankie Valli lives 3,000 miles from the August Wilson Theater, he is the star of this season’s hit musical, Jersey Boys. How’d that happen? Valli tells NorthJersey.com’s David J. Spatz that his persistence to bring the story of the Four Seasons to the stage finally paid off.

At first, Valli and his partner, original Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio, were looking at doing a television miniseries to tell the group’s story; however, none of the networks were interested. But that didn’t stop Valli. The 71-year-old former street kid from Newark’s rough Ironbound section decided the group’s rags-to-riches success story could just as easily be told in the form of a legitimate musical.

Valli was certain that he didn’t want the production to be just another feel-good piece that relied mainly on the group’s extensive list of hits to entertain the audience. He didn’t want to gloss over the group’s struggles as they fought the long-hairs in the early to mid-1960s for a presence on the U.S. music charts among such acts as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

As far as the ups and downs of the Four Seasons’ career in the music business, Valli says,

“Every time someone said [the Four Seasons] were finished, we’d go out and prove that they were wrong. We’ve been up and down so many times I feel like a prizefighter.”

Although he wanted Jersey Boys to be a warts-and-all account, he admits he was surprised when he read the first draft of the show’s book. Valli states,

“There were things that I didn’t totally agree with, but then I realized that the show was not coming strictly from my point of view. Once I understood the concept and where [Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice] were going with it, I thought it was brilliant.”

What does Valli think of the actor playing him on stage eight times a week? Although actor John Lloyd Young never met Valli before he took the role, he obviously did his homework and “obviously took some very good notes.”

If anyone had the chance to see Frankie Valli at Caesar’s in Atlantic City, it’d be great if you would submit a concert review to the Jersey Boys Blog or any photos to the Photo Gallery. Thanks!


  1. My family and I saw the musical “Jersey Boys” last night at the LaSalle theater in Chicago. We all loved it! Most of us are baby boomers and of course grew up with the Four Seasons music. We are all talking about seeing it for a second time with our adult kids. I am sure any age will fall madly in love with this production. The music really is timeless.

    Comment by Carol Heminger — October 28, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

  2. Frankie wasn’t from the Ironbound section,he was from North Newark.Stephen Crane Village.Ironbound is way down oppisite end of city.

    Comment by Elizabeth Sweeney — December 27, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

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