March 12, 2006

John Lloyd Young: From Jersey Stage to Jersey Boy

March 12th, 2006

John Lloyd Young, star of Jersey Boys, made his Broadway debut as singer Frankie Valli in the megahit musical based on the ascent of the Four Seasons. In a recent article, Amy Kuperinsky talks to Young about his days as a struggling actor, his significant boost of experience from university plays and New Jersey theatres, and his acclaim as one of the hottest new stage stars on the Great White Way.

Only a year before Jersey Boys opened, Young was ushering and handing out programs at 42nd Street. Young, however, believed he was destined to land in the right place sometime Thinking back , Young says,

“I kind of knew even though I couldn’t predict the future, in my soul, that it would only be temporary. If you have the confidence that you need in order to succeed as an actor, you know when you’re waiting tables or ushering in a theater that it is just for now, and not forever, and you’re just waiting for the role to come along that is going to break you out of that.”

From the age of six, Young knew he enjoyed performing when he began participating in local theatre, but it wasn’t until he started college at Brown University that he made it a priority. He landed a part in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins and started acting classes. By the time he graduated, he knew he wanted to focus completely on being an actor.

After college, Young got a significant boost of experience from New Jersey theaters. He called his apprenticeship with Princeton’s McCarter Theater a “milestone moment” in his career, serving in the adult ensemble of A Christmas Carol, which was his first involvement with professional theater outside of college. Young also starred in Chaim Potok’s The Chosen at Millburn’s Paper Mill Playhouse. Young then understudied a part in The Drawer Boy alongside “Frasier” actor John Mahoney at Paper Mill.

Young, in his late 20’s, grew up in New York State, but currently makes his home in Jersey City. Due to the demands of singing 27 songs in high falsetto eight times a week, he has a very regimented schedule—he drinks no alcohol and doesn’t spend time hanging out with his fellow cast members. On a day where the cast performs two shows, Young wakes up, goes to the theater, warms up, hits the stage for the show, warms down, warms up again and does it all over again. Then he signs autographs and goes home.

In preparation to play legendary hitmaker Frankie Valli, Young said he actually had to retrain his voice to singe and spent four months of daily training to be able to handle the show. He also used footage of Valli’s performances to research the singer’s likeness.

Young compares Jersey Boys to playing a game of volleyball with the audience, because of the interactive nature of the performances-within-performances. He states,

“We feed off the energy of the crowd. The roof of the theater could blow off. It’s so fun as actors to play rock stars. It’s fun for the audience to watch it. It’s fun for us to watch the audience watching us. It’s the best theatrical experience.”

What’s on the horizon for John Lloyd Young? Regarding Jersey Boys, there’s good news for fans. Young states,

” I certainly want to stay with this show a long time. Someday I might get bored. But I can’t see how that could happen anytime soon.”


  1. I saw this play March 10 2006, It was by far one of the best plays I have seen.
    The cast is full of talent. A must see for
    any Frankie Valli fan.

    I can’t wait to see it again

    Comment by Trisha — March 14, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

  2. I’m so glad John Lloyd Young wants to stay with Jersey Boys. He is Frankie Valli.

    Comment by Thea — March 14, 2006 @ 6:42 pm

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