Get to Know the “Jersey Boys”
When “The Jersey Boys” made its Hershey premier in 2013, the show broke a box office record for Hershey Theatre. It represents the #1 attended and grossing show of all-time for a week-long engagement at Hershey Theatre. Seeing the excitement from our fans and how much the “Jersey Boys” tugged at their heart-strings, we’re pleased the show is “Working Its Way Back,” and will be playing from Tuesday, January 27 through Sunday, February 1, 2015.
“Jersey Boys”, is the Tony®, Grammy® and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the 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 sound and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30! “Jersey Boys” features the group’s hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
In preparation for the show, we wanted to arm you with some facts you may or may not know about the four gentlemen portraying the original Four Seasons. A special thanks to Matthew Dailey (Tommy DeVito), Drew Seeley (Bob Gaudio), Hayden Milanes (Frankie Valli) and Keith Hines (Nick Massi), as they were gracious enough to answer some of our burning questions.
What you may already know about the original Four Seasons
- The group was formed in 1954 by Frankie Valli and Tommy DeVito, and performed using 18 different stage names between 1956 and 1960.
- They finally settled on the “The Four Seasons” in 1960.
- The name The Four Seasons came from a bowling alley titled Four Season Bowling Alley in Union Township, NJ.
- Their first single, “Bermuda” was released in 1961.
- The group’s fifth and final No. 1 hit was “Oh What A Night.”
- Frankie Valli left the group in 1976 due to hearing loss. He sang mostly from memory as he could not hear most of the backing music. Surgery resorted most of his hearing, and in 1980 he returned to the group.
What you may not know about the "Jersey Boys"
- What is it like playing these icons?
Matthew Dailey (MD): Exciting! It's fun to know that you are portraying a living person. It's really something to take Tommy from the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nightly.
Drew Seeley (DS): It’s an honor. It’s such a great story and they all led such interesting lives. It’s also crazy when you realize that 3 of them are still alive and will probably see you portray them in the show.
Hayden Milanes (HM): It's both an honor and a huge responsibility to play Frankie Valli.
Keith Hines (KH): It's like getting a look see into what it is to live the life of a rock star. People are in these audiences cheering and screaming like we're the real guys, and sometimes it's easy to forget that we aren't. :)
- What was the hardest thing to learn about portraying Frankie, Bob, Tommy and Nick?
MD: Keeping the vocals and dancing tight with each other, all while looking into a camera and playing guitar. You have to concentrate and engage both sides of your brain to keep the artistic integrity as well as the specifics of the dancing.
HM: In a matter of two and half hours you have to portray a lifespan of 60 or so years when you’re playing these guys. This show doesn't stop for anyone, it moves at such a rapid pace you sometimes forget to breathe. Learning how to pace myself and to let go and just "be" has been the biggest learning curve for me personally.
KH: Nick is a very mysterious character. He was under-spoken and very laid back. That being said, it was difficult to figure out who this guy was. What I did find out was that his greatest passion was the music, he loved women and booze, and that everyone loved having him around. I kept those things as a foundation and went forward from there filling the gaps with my own personal characteristics.
- What is your favorite song to perform and why?
MD: “Dawn, Go Away” at the end of the 1st Act. It comes at a point in these guys career when they are at the height of their game and playing to thousands of fans. It truly feels like a rock concert!
DS: My favorite song to perform is “Cry for Me,” not just because it’s Bob Gaudio’s first stand out song, but it’s the first time you hear The Four Seasons becoming a group and touching on their signature sound.
HM: I come by this question quite often and here's the thing -- I sing just under 30 songs in the show. It's very hard for me to play favorites because ultimately, it's my job to sing each and every one of these songs as if they are all my favorites. I would say my favorite moment of the day is the two and half hour time block I get to step on that stage and create.
KH: “Walk Like a Man!” The costumes are sharp, the choreography is tight, and when we finish the audience reacts like they've just seen the second coming of "The Four Seasons." I could do it over and over.
- What was your reaction when you were told you landed the role?
MD: I was performing in Europe at the time and flew back to New York for the final callback. I found out when my plane landed back in Europe after a whirlwind 4-day trip. I was both excited and exhausted.
DS: I was thrilled! As an actor you’re always happy to get work. But you’re ecstatic when you get to work on a real quality production. Jersey Boys has it all, from the book to the music to the excitement. There’s a reason the show has been around 10 years now, and it’s so much fun stepping into that.
HM: I cried then I ate pizza.
KH: I was giddy like a school child. I've worked my entire life to get the opportunity to do this work full time. It was the pinnacle of a lifetime's worth of work. And hopefully it's only up from here!
- What is the best perk about life on the road?
MD: Getting to travel around and experience different cities that you might not have had the opportunity to visit otherwise.
DS: Actually getting paid to see all these cool cities I might not ever have gotten the chance to visit. It really feels like a series of mini vacations, because you’re with your friends and the show doesn’t feel like work, it’s a joy to do every night.
HM: Each city opens a new perspective on the material. There have been moments in this show where I never would have thought of as funny yet some cities open my eyes to hidden humor or hidden tension even.
KH: Adventure. I live for adventure and this is one adventure after another. We also happen to be traveling with a fantastic group of people. That certainly doesn't hurt!
- What is one experience you try to do in each new place you visit?
MD: I try to check out any local craft breweries in the area, and am hoping to catch a few games now that baseball season is approaching.
DS: Food. Always food. We try to find out where the locals go.
HM: Breakfast is my thing so I try to find the hottest breakfast spot in every city and just feast. Ha.
KH: Good food. We find good food. I will never skimp on good food. Also, CrossFit. Ya know, to balance out the food. Lol
- What is your favorite Hershey’s Chocolate?
MD: Cookies and Cream bar!
DS: I always like a good kiss.
HM: Anything Dark Chocolate has the key to my stomach.
KH: Mr. Goodbar.
- How do you relax when you’re on tour?
MD: Catching up with friends back home and going to the gym.
DS: Music, cross fit, movies, writing.
KH: I'm a movie lover. I kick back with these good people and take in some film. Also, CrossFit.
- What is your must-have item(s) with you when you travel?
MD: My Kindle so I can read, and my Keurig so I can enjoy a consistent cup of coffee in the morning.
HM: My iPhone/GPS, humidifier and my magic bullet.
KH: Nice clothes.
- Tell us one thing people might not know about you.
MD: I am a HUGE Elvis fan. I have read multiple biographies and even have a collection of Elvis mugs and shot glasses.
DS: Like my character, Bob, I write music in real life, and was nominated for an Emmy for it in 2006.
HM: I was Florida State Chess Champion back in the 8th grade.
KH: I am a lover of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant is the MAN.