Tony Award Winner “Jersey Boys,” the story behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons opens December 17, 2019, at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. This production is directed by Des McAnuff and was written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.
If you are too young to remember the 1960’s, The Four Seasons was one of the few consistent million records sellers of the decade, even with the surge of the Beatles and other British groups. Frankie Valli sang lead and had a distinctive falsetto that set the group apart from others. Gaudio played the keyboard and wrote the music. He had some minor hits before their success. Bob Crewe was a noted record producer and songwriter. Together The Four Seasons recorded, “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and the still popular “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” just to pick a few from a long list of hit records.
“Jersey Boys” tells about their start from small nightclubs, to their eventual break-up. As with many groups, personalities eventually clashed, marriages ended and addiction crept into the quartet.
The cast includes Eric Chambliss as Gaudio, Corey Greenan as Tommy DeVito, Jon Hacker as Valli and Michael Milton as Nick Massi. Andrés Acosta, Justin Albinder, Ashley Bruce, Kenneth Quinney Francoeur, Katie Goffman, Connor Lyon, Kevin Patrick Martin, Sean McGee, Hamilton Moore, Bruno Vida, and Amy Weaver make up the rest of the ensemble.
I had the chance to interview Kevin Patrick Martin who plays Hank Majewsky, Norm Waxman, Joe Long and others and is also the Fight Captain of “Jersey Boys.”
Bio: Kevin is ecstatic to be doing a dream show! 45+ professional productions across the country at North Shore Music Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, Gulfshore Playhouse and more. Television: Food Network’s Bakers vs. Fakers. His NYC credits include: “A Chorus Line:(CSTC). Regional: “A Christmas Carol” “’10-’13” (North Shore Music Theatre), “La Cage Aux Folles” (Theatre by the Sea), “Legally Blonde” (Ocean State Theatre Company), “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (Stoneham Theatre), “Cabaret” (freeFall Theatre), “42nd Street” (Stoneham Theatre, New Bedford Festival Theatre, Broward Stage Door Theatre), “The Producers” (Theatre by the Sea, NBFT), “Evita,” “George M!” (TBTS), “Smokey Joe’s Café” (Midtown Arts Center), “Into the Woods,” “Hair” (Stephen Sondheim Center), “Forever Plaid,” “Dames at Sea,” “Lucky Stiff” (Festival 56), “Singin’ in the Rain “(BSDT). Training: Rhode Island College.
- Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
I grew up in a small town outside of Providence, Rhode Island called Cumberland. My parents still live in the same house they’ve been in for almost 40 years, which is right up the street from where my father grew up. I studied theatre at Rhode Island College and began working professionally in 2007, midway through my time in school. Since then, I have performed in over 45 productions around the country, including over 500 performances of Jersey Boys. Even though I’ve lived in NYC for close to 8 years now, I split my time between NYC and Providence, where my boyfriend lives and works as a professional ballet dancer; I get the best of both worlds!
- Can you tell us a little about your roles in “Jersey Boys” and your duties as Fight Captain?
I play over a dozen different characters in the show, ranging from a hip-hop dancer in the opening, to a variety of waiters/bartenders, to a number of named characters including Hank Majewski, Norm Waxman and Joe Long. Playing such a variety of characters means lots of costume changes. I change costumes over 20 times in the show, more than anyone else in the cast. I’ve got it down to a science now, but it was possibly the most daunting part of my track when I was first learning the show! In addition to the roles I perform onstage, I also serve as the fight captain. Whenever there is fight choreography in a show (hits, slaps, gunshots, etc.), there is a cast member assigned to oversee and maintain the choreography to keep it safe and consistent. The fight captain will work with the actors involved and stage managers to rehearse the choreography and will do the same when an understudy is stepping into a role to ensure that the choreography is consistent and executed safely for all those involved.
- What do you think made “Jersey Boys” such a great hit?
Whenever I hear this question, I think of this line that Frankie says near the end of the show: “…when everything dropped away and all there was the music. That was the best.” I think the music is really what makes “Jersey Boys” such a hit. There is much to be said for the story. It’s fascinating and engaging and gives you great insight into who these guys really were. Many people come into the show not knowing the story and are riveted by it, but I think the music is what keeps them coming back. As humans, we have such an emotional connection to music. It reminds us of people, places and memories we cherish. The music of The Four Seasons is so nostalgic and special to much of our audience and is still appreciated by those who didn’t grow up with it but have been introduced to it at some point in their life!
- What is your favorite Four Seasons’ song and why if there is a special reason?
There are so many songs in the show that I love, but I get such a thrill from performing “C’mon Marianne.” In the second act, I play Joe Long who is one of the “new” Four Seasons and get to jump out and do this awesome guitar feature with Frankie while we’re singing that song. My dad (whose name is Joe, coincidentally!) is an incredible guitar player and passed on his immense love and talent for music to me. Whenever I perform that number, I feel like I’m sharing that with him and echoing the Rockstar life that he has lived. Even in his 60s, my dad is still performing as a guitarist in a rock band back home!
Are there any roles you would like to play in another show?
I’ve been fortunate to have already performed in a number of dream-shows, but I would love the chance to play The Baker in “Into the Woods.” Aside from being a complex character in a wonderfully-written show, there is another layer to add – outside of performing, baking is a huge passion of mine. Though I’ve not had any professional training, in 2017 I was selected to appear on the Food Network show “Bakers vs. Fakers,” in which skilled amateurs (me!) and professional pastry chefs compete against each other without revealing their identities and try and fool the viewers and judges with who is who. I won’t give too much away, but I will say that the judges had a very dramatic and memorable reaction to my reveal!
“Jersey Boys” runs from December 17, 2019, to January 5, 2020, at the National Theatre located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. For tickets online. For information on “Jersey Boys” and for information on upcoming shows go to The National Theatre website. The National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. For information on “Jersey Boys” Tour go to this link.