May 26, 2009

John Michael Dias’ Thoughts on Playing Frankie Valli

May 26th, 2009

John Michael Dias

From As reported last week, three actors from JERSEY BOYS Chicago (Michelle Aravena, Jared Bradshaw, and John Michael Dias) made a special appearance at the Roostertail in Detroit. The actors were in town to offer a sneak peek of the upcoming JB national tour will be playing at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit from 12/17/09 through 1/23/10.

Interestingly enough, the Roostertail was the site where the Four Seasons first promoted the song, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Released in 1967, the song soared to No. 2 on Billboard.

John Michael Dias, who plays the singer with the famous falsetto during matinees in the Chicago production, said he considers it a privilege to be the “fifth person ever cast as Frankie Valli.” He won the part after 13 auditions over two years.

He described the musical as being “like the ‘Sopranos’ with music. It has authentic Jersey language that adds flavor.” (In a book about the original group, Valli said “the Mafia was not involved in the band from a business point of view, but they were always a presence all those years we were working.”)

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sold more than 100 million records from 1962-78 and continued to be a top concert draw. Radio constantly played their classics. In 1990 the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dias, a twenty-something, 5-foot-6 “ethnic guy” (he’s Portuguese; Valli’s Italian), said his favorite “audience moment” in the musical comes after nearly 30 minutes of introduction about the pop group when the audience finally hears the first song, “Sherry.”

“My favorite moment as an actor is singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,’” he added.

After meeting Valli in person, Dias (who’s currently not slated to perform in Detroit) said he was surprised that such a successful performer, now in his 70s, was “so grounded. It’s something that I can only wish for.”

Ticket prices for the show at the Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., start at $34 and go on sale to the public September 18. Details are available on


  1. According to the ARSA Radio Survey site, which has 258 local charts nationwide showing CTMEOY, WKNR Dearborn Detroit was the FIRST station nationwide for CTMEOY to hit #1 on the chart for 6-5-67, and across the river CKLW Windsor Detroit was the second on the 6-14-67 chart.

    Congratulations to The Flint Journal and its web version mlive for getting this story out first. As I have said before, WTRX Flint broke several Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs first, including “Dawn (Go Away)” which was first played in “late December back in ’63″ on an acetate copy brought to the station by brief time 1963 program director Joey Reynolds. The song was not officially released on Philips until late January, 1964.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — May 27, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  2. John Michael Diaz is one of the fantastic individuals out of many that I’ve met from the Chicago Jersey Boys cast. I’ve seen him five or six times in the part, plus in a few special appearances.

    One the my now “top of the list” experiences was watching John Michael perform in the Frankie Valli role on April 18th, then sitting just a few rows behind as he (we) watched Frankie Valli’s live performance that night. I spoke to John Michael right after the concert — his wonderful comment: “Unbelievable — I just sang those some songs this afternoon.”

    Comment by Jim Schreier — May 28, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  3. I have been going to the old Schubert theater since I was 12 years old and have seen all but 1 or 2 performances there for the last 50 years….but
    never have I enjoyed a musical production like J.B.
    Attending the performance on Sunday, Sept. 13th, I was so lucky to be entertained by John Michael Dias..he is simply the BEST! (so glad he got to stand in that Sunday)…..John is an incredible talent. And by the way, I’ve listened to the Broadway
    recording numerous times and am convinced that the Chicago cast is 10 times better….

    Comment by Penny Ellsworth — September 24, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  4. 10/29/09

    Dear John:

    I had the pleasure of watching you in the matinee yesterday of Jersey Boys in Chicago. I took a friend there for her birthday and was so overwhelmed by the performance and your portrayal of Frankie Valli. The four of you have an awesome cohesiveness on stage that it made me feel so damn good. You have a blessed and unique talent, John and I wish only the best for you and really hope to see more of you in the future. God Bless, John! How AWESOME. Thank you is truly not enough. Congrates to the commitment to HIV-AIDS research as I was happy to contribut to the cause. Love ya, Joan

    Comment by Joan Evans — October 29, 2009 @ 8:27 am

  5. Hey John, Great show last night. My Wife and I sat 15th row -M celebrating her Christmas gift. What a great time. You all did great. You are very talented people and we are very greatful we had the chance to see you live before the show ends next week. We look forward to seeing where your talents bring you next. Truly amazing voice John – truly amazing. Keep up the great work.
    Tony & Tina DeAngelis

    Comment by Tony DeAngelis — January 3, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  6. A friend of mine casually mentioned that he would like to see Jersey Boys in Chicago, and since I had NEVER been to a production of the nature, I thought why not suprise him and take him for his birthday. We went on November 15th, take about ‘oh what an afternoon’!!!! We both absolutely loved it!!! Every word, every note, every move, every cast member!!! Can not imagine anyone else playing the part of Frankie Valli and better than you. I was so impressed by the true raw talent all of you possess, simply amazing. We have told several friends about the show and it will be in Des Moines Iowa soon and we want to go again and take friends, but we found out that sadly you will not be there. We may not go, I don’t want to spoil the fabulous memory we have from the Chicago show. God Bless and keep reaching for the stars!!

    Comment by Shelley Weikert — January 29, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  7. John.. I had the extreme priviledge of seeing you perform in Jersey Boys at the Civic Center in Des Moines IA. on July 8th. You my dear, are FABULOUS! I sat 3 rows from the stage and enjoyed your performance so very much. I had tears in my eyes at the end, as I loved it so. Much continued success to you sir, as your career continues to soar. God Bless You!

    Comment by Jill Higgins — July 8, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

  8. John Michael – saw you in Indy July 3, both you and Joseph were awesome as Frankie. What a tribute to the entire group you and the other performers provide; I hope to see you as Frankie again in the future.

    Comment by Sharon — July 10, 2010 @ 8:15 am

  9. John,
    Could not wait to tell friends and family how great you were in Indianapolis. After seeing Jersey Boys for the second time with you I was very impressed with your star power. Also was so great meeting you and having drinks with you after the show. The ride back to the hotel and I will see you in Louisville in a couple of weeks again. Can’t get enough of Jersey Boys and watching your great talent! I grew up with the music of the Four Seasons and you made me feel young again!

    Comment by Ed Damour — July 15, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  10. John, saw you a couple months ago in Des Moines and couldn’t imagine seeing any one else do the role now! you were amazing and thank you for the time you took to talk and take pictures. I didn’t think i would like the show as much as i did but you and the guys made me a real fan! Hope to see you in it again some day or maybe in something else! God bless you in your amazing career!

    Comment by Cheryl — August 24, 2010 @ 9:37 am

  11. Jon,first of all i have to say you have the longest eyelashes i’ve ever were wonderful in the Frankie role.i saw the show in san antonio on sept 9th.i really enjoyed it.keep up the great work you’re wonderful.thanks

    Comment by Rosa De Hoyos — September 12, 2010 @ 10:47 am

  12. Hi John…..I had the time of my life last night at the Walnut Theatre seeing the cast perform Jersey Boys! Your performance as Frankie Valli was pure GOLD as an actor and a singer. BRAVO to you for entertaining the crowd and bringing the audience to their feet for an OVATION, as a performer you know that is the highest compliment more than the whistles and loud clapping. I bought a ticket and as an artist you “SOLD” that gig with every move, expression, and vocals! You were mesmerizing so BRAVO!! What a coup to capture such a role from Chicago to Philly.

    So here’s lookin at you kid….continued best of luck with more theatrical projects cuz their is a lot of talent running rampant in your veins…”BROADWAY”…..kid…just isn’t in NY…when you perform…you are on top of the world….remember that…. JUST SO YOU KNOW!!!!

    L Janet Maxson

    Comment by L Janet Maxson — October 20, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  13. Hi John,

    Saw Jersey Boys yesterday in Philadelphia at the Forrest Theatre. All the performers were great.

    John Michael Dias acting and singing playing Frankie was FANTASTIC, FABULOUS and AMAZING. John you are incredible talented performer. Looking forward seeing you in the future on Broadway.


    Comment by Cheryl Rathbone — November 14, 2010 @ 9:02 am

  14. Awesome – I realized after the show that Mr Dias was performing in place of Bwarie. I couldnt imagine anyone better. We were thrilled with the show.

    Comment by Jay Campbell — November 14, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

  15. John, WOW. I saw Jersey Boys twice in a week. I loved it so much! I made sure you would be playing the part of Frankie before I bought tickets for the second time. You are fabulous. Thanks a million. Tanis

    Comment by Tanis Marquardt — June 17, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  16. You are fantastic John, I went to a mattinee in Milwaukee on July 21st and I enjoyed the whole story in song. Your performance was so passionete; I saw
    Frankie Valli last year at a the Milwaukee Italian festival and you played him perfectly (almost even better).I wish you much success and I am hoping to get to see more of you soon…Shirley

    Comment by Shirley Pohlkamp — July 22, 2011 @ 6:31 am

  17. Just watched The Jersey Boys at Orpheum Theatre in Omaha and enjoyed it so much I had to spread the word.There are a few weeks left and I encourage everyone to go see it-brings bad some good memories and the singing is fantastic!

    Comment by mary pollard — September 9, 2011 @ 6:46 am

  18. With John Michael Dias leaving the Tour, I was eager to see him again and maybe get to finally meet him. I had seen 4 Frankies, but John’s Frankie totally won my heart! So, for Christmas family and friends made it happen and I drove from Columbus, OH to Wash. DC. I caught the Dec. 21st matinee on a damp, rainy day. The audience included a group of wounded veterans and their families. John and the cast put on an exceptional show and later met with the veterans. I somehow was added to this wonderful group of people. I told John I loved his performances because he seems like someone who actually lived back then. His every move, expression are perfect rat pack, old school. He told me he watches a lot of old movies. (I think it’s great acting.) I knew I only had a few seconds with him, but he was attentive, patient, and handsome! He made each of us feel important-a perfect Christmas gift! Just wish I wasn’t having a bad hair day. :/

    Comment by Dianne W. — December 27, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

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