(Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel)
Even as generations pass by, there's timeless music that has always stayed in the hearts of the fans all while finding new, younger listeners. Hitting their fame in the 1960s, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons redefined pop music with songs like "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Oh What A Night", "Walk Like A Man", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", and "Working My Way Back To You."
The story of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi is one of four blue-collar guys from the wrong part of town finding the struggles into fame and fortune, and this tale has now made it onto stage with the musical Jersey Boys.
Recently, I was able to chat with one of the cast members Drew Seeley, who plays Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys, and we talked about how he prepared for the role and his experience in the world of Disney.
How did you prepare for your role as Bob Gaudio subject matter wise?
When we got cast, we got a study session from the producers of the show and took us through all the music that the original Four Seasons would have listened to coming up, just to get us in their mindset before the show even started, like here's everybody's influences and etc. I saw the stage play. I watched the show in LA while I was rehearsing. I watched that cast do it quite a few times so I kind of got the feel of it, then I tried to forget all that and put my own spin on.
What makes this Jersey Boys musical different than the biopic?
I think this show was written for the stage. So much of it takes place in like a rock concert setting, so when you see it live, you're part of the concert. You are actually a part of the concert from on stage looking out into the audience. It flips the experience around for the people watching, whereas if you are watching on TV, you only have one frame of reference. A lot of people are not huge musical fans, but we like to say this is an episode of Sopranos with music in that there's mob ties, gambling debts, and broken marriages. For how pretty and melodic and nice their music was, these guys when through a lot of turmoil and hard times, and you see it all on the stage. Its not a sugarcoated version, you actually see what they all really went through to actually make it.
What is the overall message of the Jersey Boys? What is the true story being told?
Just the fact that these four guys, they were all blue-collar guys, none of them had a lot of the money or a lot of prospects, but its like the ultimate rags to riches story, which I think people like to see because it can happen and it did happen. Each one of the four guys played such an essential part in making it happen that if any one of them was out of the picture, the Four Seasons may not have ever broken through and been a group that we're still talking about today. It's about the journey. It's just a really good time. It's a lively exciting sing-along kind of show.
How did you originally get into doing music and theater?
Theater, my very first acting job was when I was 11, I was cast in Showboat in Toronto as one of the kids and I did that for a year, so I sort of fell in love with it then. I did theater all through high school, did all my school plays and everything. And music, about the same. As soon as a started high school, I had a rock band, did the Battle of the Bands kind of thing. I was also in chorus and choir and doing the musicals, and just started writing at that point and kind of never stopped. It's the only thing I can imagine myself doing.
I see you were a part of the whole Disney stable, even where you were Zac Efron's singing voice in High School Musical. How was that experience like?
Disney has been so good to me over the years. I got into the building if you will when I co-wrote "Get Your Head In the Game" from High School Musical, so when it came time to put High School Musical on tour, they knew I could sing the parts, and I went on a 50 date area tour around the States. Then, we did South America for a month playing soccer stadiums. It was a real trip. Since then, I written a lot of music for shows and had some acting parts on some different shows here and there. I even did the Little Mermaid on Broadway. They called me to do my first Broadway gig about five years ago. I'm a big fan of the mouse in my book.
Jersey Boys is set for a run at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit from Nov. 17 - Dec. 5. For more information, visit broadwayindetroit.com.