ICONIC FOUR SEASONS FOUNDER FRANKIE VALLI REFLECTS ON 10 YEARS OF JERSEY BOYS AND THE JOURNEY TO GET IT MADE, ON THE BIG INTERVIEW AIRING TUES., MAY 19, AT 8pE
Dan Rather sits down with the iconic voice behind the legendary American pop group The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, in an all-new episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW, premiering Tuesday, May 19, at 8pE. During the candid hour-long discussion, the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer reflects on the 10th Anniversary of the Broadway sensation JERSEY BOYS, and the hectic journey to bring the incredible story to the stage.
For Valli, the choice to bring The Four Seasons’ story to Broadway was an easy one to make. And one that he knew would be a hit from the start, saying, “[The success of JERSEY BOYS] never really surprised me… before JERSEY BOYS, I had had from NBC and CBS offers to do the Movie of the Week, and I looked at these offers. We decided not to do a Movie of the Week, [but] my partner and I discussed it, and we said, ‘Maybe there’s legs here to do a play.’”
Setting the wheels into motion, Valli initially reached out to promoter John Scher, who he knew to be a fan of the group’s music, recalling, “John Scher, who was a big promoter, had a play on Broadway that was called Victor/Victoria, and I found out that he was a big fan. So, I said to my partner, ‘Well, how ‘bout if I call [him], and see if maybe he’s interested?’ He took the call right away… I said, ‘I was wondering, since you’re in the play business now, if you would be interested in doing a story about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons for Broadway.’ We had lunch, and we discussed it a little bit, and he said to me, ‘What do you think is so terrific about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons?’ I said, ‘It’s a different kind of a story. It’s a story about four guys who grew up like a lot of other people, but had a lot more problems.’ A few weeks later, we signed a deal with John Scher, had it for three or four years, and couldn’t get a director and writers together to do it.”
When things fell through with Scher, Vallie began looking for other options—ultimately settling with the Dodgers production company. It was here that he began to see how special this project was, explaining, “We did it as a showcase in La Jolla for six weeks. It went in for six weeks, and it stayed for about four months. It was sold out every night. I went down to La Jolla to see it with [fellow Four Seasons member] Bob Gaudio… we sat there, and I looked at him. I said, ‘Is this happening?’ I mean, the standing ovations were just one right after the other. I said, ‘We’re not even a West Coast group… what will happen when this goes to Broadway?’ Well, to make a long story short, it did all this time in La Jolla successfully, and at the end of our stay, we couldn’t get a theater [in New York] for one year, and I thought it was over. Originally, the Shuberts were supposed to take it, [but] they took something else, instead. Then, we did finally get a theater, and hell broke loose.”
To see more of this insightful episode, be sure to tune into THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, May 19 at 8pE, only on AXS TV.
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