February 22, 2009

Joseph Leo Bwarie’s Reflections on Playing Frankie Valli

February 22nd, 2009

Joseph Leo Bwarie
Photo by: Joan Marcus

Two interesting interviews from the multi-talented Joseph Leo Bwarie, who plays Frankie Valli in the JERSEY BOYS national tour!

In DemocratandChronicle.com, Stuart Low states that before Joseph Leo Bwarie could play the role of rocker Frankie Valli, he went to Frankie Camp.

Bwarie will portray the Four Seasons’ short, high-voiced front man in JERSEY BOYS, a musical getting its Rochester premiere Wednesday. It follows the 1960s doo-wop group from its grimy roots in blue-collar New Jersey to turbulent stardom.

Valli’s piercing falsetto voice may seem tough to mimic. But when Bwarie tried out for the part in 2007, he found plenty of competition.

He and nine rivals locked vocal cords at Frankie Camp: a pre-audition boot camp where they learned the Four Seasons’ high-octane performance style. Only one contender could win, but the producers needed to build a pool of talent. There are now six Jersey Boys troupes touring North America, and a seventh ready to strut in Melbourne, Australia.

“It was daunting to spend seven days together with people I was up against,” says Bwarie, 30, a 5-foot-6-inch Los Angeles actor who towers an inch over the real Valli. “We were a bunch of short, dark-haired guys in a New York City rehearsal space. … I was thrilled to be chosen, though it has been a whirlwind ever since.”

With JERSEY BOYS heading to Boston’s Shubert Theatre in July for a 10-week run, Iris Fanger of PatriotLedger.com spoke with Bwarie about playing the living legend, Frankie Valli.

Bwarie stated that Valli is a “nice man, soft-spoken, with good hair who makes a mean spaghetti and gravy. The fame did not go to his head and create some Lindsay Lohan type.”

He added, “Strangers, men, grab me on the street and hug me. Blue-collar, salt-of-the-earth Americans, that’s who these guys were. They had to drag themselves up into the spotlight.”


  1. I loved Joseph Leo Bwarie in Jersey Boys. I have season tickets and saw the show a week ago. I loved it so much I bought tickets again to see it. It was even better the second time around. He portrays Frankie Valli to a tee and that voice is unbelievable. The show was phenomenal!!

    Comment by Suzanne — March 7, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

  2. Just saw the Jersey Boys in Des Moines….great show. The music and story were phenomenal. I would gladly go again. This is music history on stage.

    Comment by Mark — July 10, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment