May 25, 2007

JBB Fantastic Fan Interview With Michael Lennon!

May 25th, 2007

Have we said lately how much we love chatting with Jersey Boys’ fans? Well, the response to our request for JBB Fantastic Fan Interviews has been amazing! We’re excited to present an interview with Michael Lennon, who chats about how he became interested in Jersey Boys back in the early days; what keeps bringing him back; his favorite musical number, scene, and line; and his thoughts on the incredible music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

JBB: Tell us about yourself.

ML: My name is Michael Lennon, and I was born in Arizona on October 9th, 1978. Because of my father’s occupation, I had to move around the country a lot, and actually found myself in Belleville , New Jersey at one point in time. I am a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and I also dabble in acting a bit.

JBB: When did you first hear about Jersey Boys, and how did you become interested in the show?

ML: I heard about Jersey Boys through a friend of mine, John Alda. I was very skeptical about it, because I thought it would be one of those jukebox musicals like Movin’ Out. It took him about an hour to convince me to buy tickets, which was kind of difficult to do. I saw the show during the first couple of weeks of its run in La Jolla.

JBB: Tell us about your first time seeing Jersey Boys. What was your first reaction and what keeps bringing you back?

ML: Well, I was still nervous about how they would portray this group, but once they started performing “Cry for Me” I fell in love with it. I thought David Norona’s vocals were amazing, and I really wish he had gone with the rest of the cast and crew to Broadway. And I can’t begin to tell you how hard I was laughing when I first saw Steve Gouveia as Joey.

JBB: How many times have you seen Jersey Boys thus far?

ML: I’ve seen the show a grand total of fifteen times, and I will continue to do so until the day it closes. I’ve seen the original La Jolla production four times, the Broadway production five times, and the First National Tour six times. I didn’t hear about the Broadway production until I saw the Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2005. I just about died when I saw someone other than David singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” but I was pleased to find Christian, Daniel, and Bobby in their original roles. After they finished with the medley, I quickly went online to see if I could find an official website. After I did find it, I listened to clips of the cast recording, and I knew then that the role of Frankie Valli was in good hands.

JBB: Considering you have seen Jersey Boys since the early days, how would you say the show has evolved?

ML: I think the actors who crossed over to Broadway (Christian, Daniel, Bobby, and some others I know I am forgetting) know their roles a lot better now than they did when the show first opened in La Jolla, which I’m sure puts less pressure on them. They look a lot more comfortable now.

JBB: Have you had a chance to meet any of the Jersey Boys cast members?

ML: No, but that is because I leave the theater immediately after the end of the show. I get nervous around famous people like John Lloyd Young, Christian Hoff, etc, etc. And Erich Bergen! (Kathryn from the “Jersey Boys” MySpace pages will get a kick out of that last bit). I will make sure, though, to talk with Steve Gouveia after I see the Second National Tour so I can congratulate him on his journey with the show. To go from Joey Pesci, to Hank Majewski/Joe Long, and finally to Nick Massi is just amazing.

JBB: What makes you feel so connected to Jersey Boys?

ML: As I said before, I’ve lived in Belleville before, so that’s one reason why I feel connected. It is also the fact that these guys had to work hard for their success; it wasn’t just handed to them on a plate. I have some similarities to the real Nick Massi, as well, but there are too many to list here.

JBB: What is your favorite Jersey Boys scene and why?

ML: Oh, definitely the sit-down during the Second Act. It was strange watching it for the first time, what with it being a musical and all. I don’t feel comfortable saying “musical,” because it is more of a play with music. My second favorite scene is when they go to jail in Ohio (“Big Man in Town”).

JBB: What is your favorite musical number in Jersey Boys and why?

ML: This is a very difficult question, but I would have to say “Cry for Me” is my favorite song in the show. It’s just so great watching the Four Seasons become the Four Seasons. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” is a very close second.

JBB: Do you have a favorite line from the show?

ML: Frankie – That’s a very unusual fragrance. I never smelled anything like that before. What do you call it?

Mary – Soap.

I nearly fell over in my chair the first time I heard that.

JBB: Prior to seeing Jersey Boys, were you familiar with the Four Seasons’ music? If so, do you have a favorite Four Seasons song?

ML: My father introduced me to the Four Seasons and the Four Lovers when I was 13 years old. He had an old record player that still worked, and he would often put on stuff from the 1950s and early 1960s. He got me interested in Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Temptations, and other great artists from that time. I believe the first Four Seasons record he put on was “Dawn (Go Away)…,” and I was sucked in after hearing the opening of “Big Man’s World.” I love every song that showcases Nick’s incredible bass vocals, and this is certainly one of them. I didn’t realize it was Nick providing lead on “Don’t Let Go” until a month ago when I read a comment left on some Blog post; before reading that, I thought it was something from their days performing back-up.

I break down my favorite Four Seasons songs into different eras: the Nick Massi era, the Joe Long era, and the post-Joe Long era.

  • Nick Massi Era: “Sherry”; “Walk Like a Man”; “Rag Doll”
  • Joe Long Era: “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”; “Beggin’”*; “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”
  • Post-Joe Long Era: “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)”; “Who Loves You”; “Streetfighter”

* – This was actually the song that inspired me to play bass. Whenever I perform this song now, I always play my Fender Jazz Bass. The song also doesn’t include any falsetto, which is good news for me (I’m a bass, like Nick).

Jersey Boys Blog would like to thank Michael Lennon for taking the time for this insightful interview on Jersey Boys and the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons! We’re always looking to interview JB fans that want to share their love of the show! If you would like to be featured in a JBB Fantastic Fan Interview, feel free to contact us! Please click on the Contact Page and send us your contact information.


  1. Michael, after our e-mailing back and forth for weeks, it was a delight to read your story.

    Your paying homage to Nick Massi (nee Macioce) is long overdue. You ought to get together with my friend Jim Petrecca who knew Nick very, very well; Jim has a lot of Nick Massi memorabilia (programs, articles, etc.) in his Union, NJ store and speaks often of Nick’s producing the song “Hickory” with Frankie long after he left the group.

    I also liked your mentioning a few of the “ones that got away” in Jersey Boys: “Streetfighter,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” I’m still wondering if I’m the only one who misses “Candy Girl” and “Watch the Flowers Grow”!

    Finally, while I’ve never seen David Norona as Frankie, I know many people who have, as I’m in San Diego on business four or five times a year. I’ve never heard a bad word about David’s performance.

    Michael, thank you for some wonderful new insights into the 4 Seasons and the La Jolla production of Jersey Boys.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — May 26, 2007 @ 1:36 am

  2. Yes, Michael, Nick Massi was just an incredibly gifted and talented singer, performer, arranger, and song writer (Little Pony and LIving Just For You [originally from the "Entertain You" album to name just a few]). He could do it all. If you loved Nick’s great cover of Roy Hamilton’s “Don’t Let Go” you will really go for Nick’s stage version of “Mack The Knife” from the Vee Jay “Live” [sort of] album. It’s a must listen for all Nick Massi fans. You also hear Nick solo, as well as Bob and Tommy, on “How Do You Make a Hit Song” again from the “Live” album. I had the pleasure of seeing NIck perform these songs, and others, live in concert with the original Four Seasons.

    Comment by David Cace — May 26, 2007 @ 11:32 am

  3. Michael,

    Nice interview! I especially liked your “Joe Long Era” song selections of your favorite 4 Seasons songs. “Beggin’” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” are usually not at the top of most people’s lists (probably owing to the fact they are not among their biggest chart hits), and it’s always nice to see mentions of lesser known songs by the group (although this status may be changing due to the inclusion of “Beggin’” in the musical “Jersey Boys”). It was an interesting side-note of yours that “Beggin’” does not contain Frankie’s signature falsetto, and as a musician and bass singer, in the style of Nick Massi, it is a song that better suits your vocals.

    And Howard,

    It was a pleasure meeting you and getting a chance to have a quick chat with you at the August Wilson Theatre this past Thursday evening. Just wanted to respond to your above post. Although “Candy Girl” does not appear as a musical number in the show, it does get played as background music in the first act. Besides some of the songs that are featured in the show getting this kind of a reprise, I’ve also heard “Silence Is Golden” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)” in this same format.

    Hope you have a great trip out west and enjoy the show in Los Angeles!


    Len Gersten

    Comment by Len Gersten — May 27, 2007 @ 12:30 am

  4. Michael, How was it that you saw the show in La Jolla four times, yet missed the news that they were headed to Broadway until the Macys Parade? (I’m guessing you were working too much.)

    I don’t recall seeing references to “Big Man’s World” before. You’re a young man with knowledge generally associated with a more ‘seasoned’ fan. It’s impressive.

    I hope you’ll come back here to your interview after you see the Second National Tour in San Francisco and tell us about the experience. There can’t be many “regular” fans of this show that have seen each of the four productions, beginning in La Jolla, and so many times each. Are you hoping to see the show in Toronto and London, also?

    It’s great how each fantastic fan brings their own unique story to these interviews. Thanks.

    Comment by Audrey — June 5, 2007 @ 11:47 pm

  5. What does “The Ones That Got Away” refer to in The Jersey Boys’ Playbll?

    Comment by judy robinson — July 2, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  6. Judy, “The Ones That Got Away” in the Jersey Boys playbill refers to a list of the many hit songs of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons that were not performed in Jersey Boys. Go to Page 6 on this link to check out the list:

    Comment by Susie — July 5, 2011 @ 8:45 am

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