June 13, 2009

Melbourne Jersey Boys Getting Ready for the Big Opening!

June 13th, 2009

Jersey Boys Melbourne
Melbourne Jersey Boys from left: Glaston Toft (Nick Massi), Bobby Fox (Frankie Valli), Stephen Mahy (Bob Gaudio) and Scott Johnson (Tommy DeVito). Photo: Simon Schluter

Melissa Kent of The Age has an in-depth feature on JERSEY BOYS in Melbourne, with thoughts from production supervisor Richard Hester and the actors who will be playing The Four Seasons when the show opens next month at the Princess Theatre.

Although big boys don’t cry, they do rehearse a lot, especially when a musical is as demanding as Jersey Boys, writes Melissa Kent.

Dubbed the “singing Sopranos”, Jersey Boys transcends the so-called “jukebox musical” tag by melding the storytelling power of theatre with the nostalgia-tinted hype of a 1960s pop concert.

“This isn’t a story of success, it’s a story of sacrifice,” says Irish performer Bobby Fox, a former Riverdance star whose natural falsetto and dapper good looks won him the part of Valli.

“It’s the story of the price you have to pay to reach your goals and that’s what gives the show so much depth. It could almost exist without the songs purely as a piece of theatre.”

The man in charge of bringing the tale of four wiseguys to Australia is Richard Hester, the show’s American production supervisor. It’s a demanding job – Hester has overseen every incarnation of the show since its try-out run in La Jolla, California, in 2004.

Hester and his creative team have been based in Melbourne since February, ensuring the minute details of the show – everything from Fox’s falsetto to the Four Seasons’ New Jersey drawl – are exactly right.

Difficult? Fuh-gedda-boud-it.

“We didn’t really know what to expect in Australia,” Hester admits. “None of us knew Australia, and what we were looking for is a very specific Jersey Boys style. The people in the show are stylistically close to the Sopranos or a Martin Scorsese movie and we didn’t know if we were going to find that here. But it soon became clear that there is something similar in the spirit of Australians to that of America, you know, in that it’s a young country full of people exploring who they are and trying to find themselves.”

A particular chemistry between the four leads was crucial, says Hester, who auditioned hundreds of hopefuls across Australia last year.

The final cut has Scott Johnson as badboy Tommy DeVito, Stephen Mahy as the band’s boy genius songwriter Bob Gaudio, Glaston Toft as unassuming bass player Nick Massi – the Ringo of the group – and Fox as Frankie Castelluccio, aka Frankie Valli.

Read this fantastic full feature on TheAge.com.au.

1 Comment »

  1. When I saw the thumbnail I thought this story was about the Chicago cast… John Michael Dias and Bobby Fox have the same eyebrows. ;)

    Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi!

    Comment by Leanna — June 15, 2009 @ 12:03 am

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