Wonder if the blue-collar kid from the Newark who had big dreams to be a singer ever thought his life story would be on Broadway? According to Chuck Darrow of the Asbury Park Press, Frankie Valli, the pop-rock legendary lead singer of the phenomenal chat-topping The Four Seasons, had that kind of dream, but never thought it would happen.
Valli is obviously thrilled with Jersey Boys, the biography of the Four Seasons, thatâ€™s currently one of Broadwayâ€™s hottest hit musicals.
Jersey Boys tells the stranger-than-fiction tale of how a crew of mob-connected tough kids from the mean streets in and around Newark defied the odds to become one of rock’s all-time, best-selling acts. Although Jersey Boys was authorized by each of its four main subjects â€” Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio and the late Nick Massi â€” the production isnâ€™t sugarcoated or glamorous. While the bandâ€™s massive artistic and commercial triumphs are celebrated, the play’s considerable drama springs from the darker elements of the group’s story, from DeVito’s troubles with mob loan sharks that helped torpedo the act at the height of its success, to Valli’s dysfunctional family life that included the death by drug overdose of his daughter, Francine.
When Jersey Boys made itâ€™s pre-Broadway debut at La Jolla Playhouse, Valli admits that scenes, such as his daughterâ€™s tragic death made him a bit unfomfortable. He states,
“I hadn’t gone to a lot of rehearsals, so the first time I saw it, I was a little uncomfortable. So I tried to analyze it intellectually,” he says. “After the second and third times, I started to feel a little more comfortable.”
What may have been tougher, admits Valli, was having to interact with his former bandmates from whom he’d been estranged for years. Considering the men had not been that friendly following the original bandâ€™s breakup, Valli found reconnecting with the former band quite difficult.
Whatâ€™s going on for Valli now? Looks like thereâ€™s no stopping Valliâ€™s career, over four decades after his first big hit, â€œSherry.â€ In addition to headlining tonight and tomorrow Caesars Atlantic City, he’ll reprise his role as wise guy Rusty Millio on “The Sopranos,” which begins its long-awaited new season on HBO March 12.
Valli sums it up as he reflects on his life,
“To me, success is doing what you want to do and making a living at it. That’s all I wanted to do.”