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Oh What a Night ....

June 27, 2008 - Phyllis Sigal
The 2006 Tony winner for Best Musical, "Jersey Boys," is coming to Pittsburgh Jan. 7 through Feb. 1, 2009, and a couple of the cast members made a stop there earlier this week for a meet-and-greet.

Zachary Prince and Jamie Karen stopped by at The Cabaret at Theater Square Monday evening. The touring show is presently at Playhouse Square in Cleveland through July 20.

The rags-to-riches story of Frankie Valli and his singing cohorts has been quite a hit, so much so that along with the Broadway production, there is a U.S. touring show as well as shows in Las Vegas, Chicago and London. A show will open in Melbourne, Australia, in March of 2009.

There is even a Frankie Camp, Prince explained, where actors learn the ropes of sounding like, moving like and looking like Frankie Valli. Prince plays the role of Frankie Valli on Tuesday and Sunday evenings. He shares the role with another actor because of the demands of the role, he explained, both physically and vocally. He sings 27 songs throughout the show.

At Frankie Camp, the actors learn a vocal technique that was developed especially for the role, Prince explained.

Prince, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, and got his equity card from Pittsburgh CLO, is excited to perform back in Pittsburgh. He grew up in California and noted that his best friend's mom's name was Sherry, and she loved the oldies stations. On the way to soccer practice, they would sing the Four Seasons' hit song, "Sherry," whenever it came on the radio. "Who knew I'd be doing this for a living," he said.

Also talking about the show was Jamie Karen. Her main role is that of Mary, Frankie's first wife. She's a "tough Jersey girl," Karen noted. She actually plays 11 different characters. In fact, three women in the cast have a total of 52 roles! Talk about demanding!

Both cast members have met Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio. In fact, both of them are part of the audition process, with a say in the casting. Having the role of Valli, Prince said is "overwhelming. He's a real person who is still around — it's a crazy honor," he said. "They're such good people. ... They still care so much about the music."

About the Production:

"Jersey Boys" is the winner of four 2006 Tony Awards Including Best Musical. Other Tony Awards include Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical. Drama Desk Awards for 2006 include Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Outstanding Sound Design. Outer Critics Circle Awards for 2006 include Outstanding Broadway Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Outstanding Lighting Design. "Jersey Boys" also received the 2006 Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical.

The Story:

"Jersey Boys" is the story of how four boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi – The Four Seasons – wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30. "Jersey Boys" features their hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” among others.


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