December 19, 2009

Rick Faugno: Perfect for a Marquee, and a Caricature at Sardi’s!

December 19th, 2009

BY JBB Special Correspondents Pamela Singer and Gary Neuberg

So you may wonder, “How does a born and bred Jersey Boy currently wowing audiences in Las Vegas playing…well, another born and bred Jersey Boy, end up in the heart of New York City being honored with a caricature at Sardi’s?” In Rick Faugno’s case, the answer is talent, hard work, perseverance, and oh yes, that all important vowel at the end of his last name. It’s a sign, or to be more specific, a remarkable likeness that was unveiled, autographed, and hung on the wall amongst a true cavalcade of theater icons on December 16th. Gary and I were thrilled to be there to help Rick celebrate this special occasion.

The stars were always in alignment for Rick’s journey back to Broadway, since this is where it all started for him. Growing up in Sparta, New Jersey as the only child of loving, supportive parents, Rick trained from an early age in singing, dancing and acting. He got his first Broadway role at age 12 in The Will Rogers Follies, followed by Conversations With My Father, and Oliver (playing the Artful Dodger opposite Davey Jones). His proud parents regaled us with stories of those early years, his mother driving him into the city for eight shows a week, while working full-time herself. It’s easy to see where Rick’s dedication and work ethic come from. Rick earned a BFA from NYU, and went on to do Fosse, Wonderful Town, Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang! and The Boy Friend (directed by Julie Andrews).

Rick first auditioned in NYC to play Frankie in the first national tour of Jersey Boys. He was hired to play Joe Pesci, but assured by the powers that be that he could one day take over the role of Frankie. According to his dad, Rick had never sung in the required falsetto up until then, but that didn’t stop Rick from pursuing his goal. After some serious training and practice, Rick became the Frankie alternate while the tour was in San Francisco. He was then offered the lead in the Las Vegas cast at its inception. A legion of fans followed him to Sin City, and the rest, as they say, is history.

A true professional, Rick did the Dec. 15th show in Las Vegas, then flew into NY the next day for the celebration at Sardi’s. He looked handsome, remarkably relaxed and as always, was warm, gracious, and genuine. His lovely fiancee, Joyce Chittick (original Mary Delgado in Vegas) was happy and proud at his side. Rick’s charming parents looked on with pride and joy as well, mingling with the crowd and echoing Rick’s warmth and down to earth nature. His Dad told us how much he enjoys reading the Jersey Boys Blog and then whispered that he often gets more information on the show there than from his own son! Also on hand to support and cheer Rick on were a host of Jersey Boys castmates, both past and present, some of whom were on break between their matinee and evening shows. What a thrill to see and speak with, among others, Erik Bates (Hank in NY and a proud new daddy), Brian McElroy (former Tommy in Chicago, now working on producing original music), Michael James Scott (former Barry Belson in Vegas now in Hair in NY), Drew Gehling (Bob Gaudio in NY), Ken Krugman (former Gyp in Vegas), as well as West Hyler, the Assistant Director of all Jersey Boys companies worldwide. With all that Jersey Boys talent in one place, we half expected to hear a chorus of “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” or have Gyp call for a sitdown.

In addition to continuous rave reviews playing Frankie in Jersey Boys, Rick developed and performed in a terrific one-man show, “Songs My Idols Sang (and Danced)” this past August and September, that further showcased his multiple talents. This show will be repeated in January at the South Point Casino in its state-of-the-art showroom. Rick is currently working on a CD of standards, some of which are from his show. He was also named Las Vegas Singer of the year 2009. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Rick perform, be sure to get to Las Vegas sometime soon.

All in all, it was a fabulous afternoon, honoring a terrific performer, who happens to be a terrific person and a true gentleman. As the event was ending, several women from across the restaurant approached Rick. They were holding Jersey Boys playbills, gushing that they had just seen the show that afternoon, loved it, and thought he was wonderful in it. Could they get his autograph and a picture, please? Smiling shyly, and ever the ubiquitous Frankie, Rick made their day and graciously obliged.

Congratulations, Rick, on this well deserved honor!!


  1. Pam and Gary, your article is absolutely wonderful! You did a great job covering the event and your pictures are really nice. Rick and Joyce looks so happy together (love her hair style!). And you’re right Pam, it is a good looking caricature. Thank you both so much for giving us a well rounded recap – Rick has indeed come a long way and I’m just so thrilled for his success. Congratulations Rick!

    Comment by Angel — December 20, 2009 @ 1:24 am

  2. What a marvelous summary and great pictures, Gary and Pam. Gary, welcome to the Special Correspondents Group–finally!!

    I’m so so happy for Rick. You are right…he is a true professional and it’s great he’s being recognized for his many accomplishments already with a still awesome future ahead.

    At my recent high school reunion, a former classmate whom I hadn’t seen in many years rushed up to me but had no interest in what I was doing. Her first words were, “Oh my, you know Rick Faugno??” She then told me her son and Rick were classmates way back when in Sparta with Rick’s mom as the teacher (and a good one, from what my friend tells me!!)

    Congratulations to Rick and Joyce. I know we’ll hear a lot from them in the years ahead!!

    Comment by Howard Tucker — December 20, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  3. What a great write-up! I felt like I was right there with Pam and Gary at Sardi’s — celebrating with Rick. Loved the pictures, too!

    Comment by Jana — December 20, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  4. How marvelous!! What an honor for Sardi’s!!!! Can’t wait to see you in June!

    Comment by Sandra — December 20, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  5. Congratulations to Rick! It is great to see him in the spotlight. I had the opportunity to see him in Vegas last year and he is wonderful. Special thanks to Pam and Gary…great article! It takes a special team of writers to keep this blog going and going and going….

    PS I love the caricature also!

    Comment by Carolyn — December 21, 2009 @ 9:26 am

  6. Pam and Gary

    Super write-up about what sounded like a great event.

    As a fellow Jersey born and raised, and Jersey Boy fan, its great to see all the success and joy from the show!

    - Brad

    Comment by Brad — December 22, 2009 @ 11:04 am

  7. Great article on a career milestone of Rick Faugno, a caricature at Sardi’s! Cor, he was in “Oliver” with Davy Jones as in Davy Jones of The Monkees?! Sweet! Happiness to Joyce Chittick and Congratulations to Rick Faugno on their engagement!

    Comment by Chiara — December 22, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  8. What a wonderful article (or should I say gift – on this Christmas morning), Pam & Gary! You answered every question I had about the event including his start in the business and the support of his family. (Sparta, NJ — hmmm, not far from our other JB/ Four Seasons Bus Tour stops) I ditto many of the comments here like…’what an honor for Sardi’s’, ‘felt like I was there,’ and ‘LOVE the caricature.’

    Like so many people, I too have had the pleasure of seeing Rick channel Frankie Valli on the Vegas stage, (but still longing to see his one man show). Rick is thoroughly talented and so personable; a huge asset for the Jersey Boys family! I’m sure I’ll see him again—hopefully on the JB stage but I’ll have many opportunities no doubt, since his is a career with endless possibilities.

    Comment by Audrey — December 25, 2009 @ 9:13 am

  9. Who knew, Pam, that your Sweet 16 party at the Capital Theatre in Passaic, rockin’ out to the originals (!), was going to lead you to this! Nice job. Congrats to Rick. And Thank you, Frankie and crew for the great music and memories.

    Comment by Lisa — December 26, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

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