June 12, 2007

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Howard Tucker Interviews Christopher Kale Jones–Part One!

June 12th, 2007

Christopher Kale Jones and Howard Tucker

Howard Tucker, Special Correspondent for Jersey Boys Blog, had the honor to speak with Christopher Kale (pronounced “Kah-lay”) Jones (www.christopherkalejones.com), who plays Frankie Valli in the National Tour of Jersey Boys from a too-comfortable couch in Chris’s dressing room at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. Like Jersey Boys, this interview was inspired by truth, but it’s hard to say what was really said when two guys from Jersey meet up for good times with no tape recorder.

Part I: Becoming Frankie Valli

HT: Chris, I saw Jersey Boys tonight and your voice is amazingly powerful. I was awed by your transformation from the slightly whiny teenage Frankie to the mature strong vocalist as an adult. Your “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” brought down the house. What is the genesis of your singing career?

CKJ: Growing up in Hawaii, my earliest experiences as an adolescent came from church choirs, often as a soloist, and singing along to musicals like Camelot, The King and I, and the Disney musicals.

In high school, I assumed many roles, including Matt in The Fantasticks, Curly in Oklahoma, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, the Tin Man in The Wiz, Big Deal in West Side Story, and Ton-Ton Julien in Once on this Island (under famed director Ron Bright who has sent numerous actors to Broadway). I was a member of the Hawaiian All-State Honor Choir my senior year.

HT: I’d love to see tapes of your Curly and Big Deal, especially after seeing your Frankie Valli transformation from teenager to mature performer. Where did you go to college?

CKJ: Northwestern University in Chicago, where I was fortunate to study with acting teacher Kim Rubinstein, and Musical Theatre director Dominic Missimi. My credits included A Chorus Line, West Side Story, the Fantastiks, Chess, Tommy, Merrily We Roll Along, and I Sing. I received a BS in Theatre and a Certificate in Music Theatre.

HT: Had you actually seen any Broadway or Touring musical productions?

CKJ: Not really until I moved to New York City in 2001. There weren’t many professional productions in Hawaii. I did see a performance of Phantom of the Opera where I grew up, though.

HT: What prompted you to audition for Jersey Boys?

CKJ: Well, I saw Jersey Boys early 2006 and thought it would be a dream come true to play Frankie Valli, so I went after the role with all I had.

I learned that Des McAnuff and Sergio Trujillo were working on the production of the musical Zhivago so, of course, I knew I wanted to audition. (Zhivago also featured Melissa Hoff, Christian’s wife.)

There wasn’t an immediate part for me in Zhivago according to the role breakdowns, but amazingly, a part that hadn’t been listed ended up being a great fit for me. I played Yanko, a naive soldier who was a glutton for bullets, getting shot twice in the show, but I received some favorable notices in the local papers.

I wanted to audition for the Jersey Boys’ National Tour right after Zhivago, but because of a prior commitment to acting in Grease in St. Louis, I missed the final callbacks, and thought the opportunity was lost. However, a month before rehearsals, Des contacted me and told me the Frankie Valli part was still open. I hopped on a plane to meet McAnuff in La Jolla, and, to make a long story somewhat shorter, a week later I was Frankie.

Not quite “two takes on a Sunday afternoon,” Howard, but for me the result was the same: “The whole world exploded!”

HT: You must be a local hero in Hawaii right now, then, Chris. Ironically, I am visiting your home state for the first time this weekend. Will your boyhood home be a tourist attraction?

CKJ: Well, first of all I’d say “Hero” status is a long way off, and even with an incredible amount of support from the people from Hawaii who have traveled thousands of miles to see the show, I think right now, the Newark , NJ boyhood home of Howard Tucker is probably as much an attraction as the home of Christopher Kale Jones. (laughs)

In Part Two, coming up later today, Howard talks to Chris about Jersey Boys and the 4 Seasons!


  1. Hey Chris, i really loved your performance in L.A. you are an enormous talent with a great future. Keep up the good work. Howard as always a great and witty interviewing job, i can’t wait for part 2. You guys are the best.

    Comment by Tim from Harlem — June 12, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  2. Chris, Enjoyed you on ET & the Tonight Show. Wonderful article Howard. I look forward to Part II. You really have a knack for asking the questions we all want the answers to. Great job!!


    Comment by Bob I. — June 12, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

  3. Chris,

    I have seen your performance. Great Job. Hopefully some day soon we can see you in NY on Broadway or in films. Howard, great job as always, can’t wait to see your next interview.

    Comment by Lazar from Concord, CA. — June 12, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

  4. Chris,

    Your cast was the first JB group our family watched. After a few more shows, we noticed your group’s chemistry build up stronger long before you left for New Haven, CT. Now, I’m not surprised to see the rest of the nation applaud you and give you critical acclaim for wowing LA like you did for us at the Curran.

    I know I’ve thanked you, Michael, Erich and Deven many times in person and via e-mail for your “gift” to San Francisco, but now, since we know you more through the interviews, we now know where the talent started and especially the long road you took towards this step into true stardom!

    Good luck in all of your future endeavors, whether it still be with the Jersey Boys “family” or any other future starring roles.

    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — June 12, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

  5. HOWARD,As usual a great interview, cant wait for part 2………….as a four season/jersey boy follower and friend i commend your written gold. jp

    Comment by james petrecca — June 12, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

  6. Hey, Howard– another great interview! Thanks and keep ‘em coming!

    And Chris, you really are fantastic in the show!

    Comment by Chris Bradley — June 13, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  7. Hi There! WOW! My husband is originally a “Jersey Boy” having moved to Southern California over 30 years ago. He saw Franky Valli and the Four Seasons in Jersey when he was in high school and loved their music then, while I was out here in California loving it, too. We saw you in “Jersey Boys” tonight at the Ahmansen and we’re both just blown away by your talent. It was like being at a concert, but the behind the scenes “scenes” and the whole play was just fantastic. Thanks!! And good luck with your future!!

    Comment by Rebecca Petersen — June 14, 2007 @ 3:21 am

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