January 26, 2006

Jersey Boys’ John Lloyd Young Takes His New Stardom in Stride

January 26th, 2006

In today’s issue of the Jersey Journal, Jeff Theodore talks with Broadway’s “biggest new star,” John Lloyd Young, who is making his debut playing Frankie Valli in the smash hit musical Jersey Boys. Although Young is a newly minted superstar on the Great White Way who has received rave reviews and since Jersey Boys’ opening in November, he continues to take his skyrocketing success in stride as he holds on to the prior seven years he spent as a struggling actor. As Young reflects on his current success, he tells Theodore:

“You can’t be in a role like this without any experience, I’ve been doing quality work and challenging projects for years before this happened. The thing about doing great work in a regional or modest environment, you quickly realize that what you lack is not skill or talent, but visibility. On Broadway, that’s built in.”

Music was a constant in Young’s household as a child growing up in a number of places. Young reminisces about his Italian grandfather’s early karaoke machine that used eight tracks and his days as a child starring in several plays in Omaha’s thriving arts scene. After his family moved to Plattsburgh, New York, Young noted that there was not much of an arts scene. Young figured that if he couldn’t find any kind of artistic expression in the town, he would transport himself to an arts scene-through listening Broadway cast albums.

A graduate of Brown University, Young’s first professional role was in the McCarter Theatre’s version of A Christmas Carol. Young has also starred in the Paper Mill Playhouse’s productions of The Drawer Boy and The Chosen, for which the Star-Ledger singled out Young as Best Featured Actor in a Play.

In Jersey Boys, Young croons 27 songs in the high falsetto tone that put Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on the top of the charts. Young notes that he needs 40 minutes of warm ups before each show, and has to be very protective about his regimen.

Through the show, Young has grown close to superstar Valli, who has shared some fascinating stories with him. Valli told Young about once having vocal problems after a strenuous concert schedule and how Frank Sinatra invited him to his house to give him vocal lessons. Apparently this story sticks with Young as he thinks of his future:

“It’s crazy just to think that at the end of an illustrious career, I may be telling some kid about my time with Frankie Valli. Even the possibility that I could have a career as illustrious and exciting as these guys suddenly feels real.”

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