Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jersey Boys: An Interview

The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical, Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, has returned to Pittsburgh for its third run. The musical makes its much anticipated return to the Benedum Center though October 4th. The musical is about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the true story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide - all before they were thirty.

As on January 2015, Jersey Boys has been seen by over 22 million people. The always amazing folks at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust gave me the opportunity to speak with Matthew Dailey (Tommy Devito), Aaron De Jesus (Frankie Valli), Keith Hines (Nick Massi) and Drew Seely (Bob Gaudio) to get some further insight into the production and a bit more about their own personal experiences in theater. Dailey, Hines, and Seely have been with the touring production for about a year, with De Jesus joining more recently in the past few weeks.

The actual show took about five weeks to learn and not surprisingly, each of the men had a very particular skill set to master – whether it be the incredibly high notes or guitar playing. When rehearsing the show they first started with music, then choreography before moving on to the more technical elements. While touring from city to city can be rigorous, the men highlighted the importance of exercise and eating properly as being vital to maintain the demanding schedule. The shows plays for at least a week, sometimes two, before moving on to the next city so the actors feel like they really get to experience a city. So far, for Pittsburgh, the actors each enjoyed various parts of the city from Mt. Washington, to the South Side to the Strip District and not to worry, hitting Primanti’s is definitely on their list of things to do.

All four men discussed the importance and responsibility of brining such iconic music like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What a Night,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” to both old and new generations alike. They feel that they are definitely bridging a gap and filling a need by lending their talent to the show by helping to get people excited about attending a live theater performance, one also likened the show to a “live rock concert.” They described feeling that the audience is as much a character in the show as they are. And while energy levels vary from city to city and show to show, the actors both feed off that energy and share that its very exhilarating.

Talking with these actors made me even more excited to see the show tonight. If you are in the greater Pittsburgh area, definitely think about getting tickets to see the show!

Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. The show is a season special part of the 2015-16 PNC Broadway In Pittsburgh series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Broadway Across America.

For more information about the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, please call 412-456-6666 or visit

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own, the interview was arranged by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, who are also providing me with two tickets to the show.