’Jersey Boys’ Actor Keeps It Fresh
Jersey Boys has returned the Providence Performing Arts Center through September 2, the second visit for the Tony Award-winning musical.
It is, of course, the story of The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi - a group of blue-collar boys who went on to become one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented a new sound and sold 175 million records worldwide - all before they were thirty.
"Jersey Boys" won a flood of accolades, including the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award and the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
The cast of Jersey Boys features Brandon Andrus (Nick Massi), Colby Foytik (Tommy DeVito), Jason Kappus (Bob Gaudio), and Brad Weinstock (Frankie Valli) as The Four Seasons, with Barry Anderson and Thomas Fiscella.
Still selling out
Directed by Des McAnuff, "Jersey Boys" 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. McAnuff won his second Tony for his staging, and Brickman and Elice were nominated for their libretto.
"Jersey Boys" opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway to critical acclaim on November 6, 2005. ""THE CROWD GOES WILD," reported Ben Brantley in reviewing the show in the New York Times. "I’m talking about the real, mostly middle-aged crowd at the August Wilson Theater, who seem to have forgotten what year it is or how old they are or, most important, that John Lloyd Young (Tony winner) is not Frankie Valli. And everything that has led up to that curtain call feels, for just a second, as real and vivid as the sting of your hands clapping together."
When it opened in London three years later, The London Times critic Benedict Nightingale raved: ""Oh What a Night. There were times when I felt that the performers were making even the Beatles sound somewhat lacking in musical texture." It won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2009.
It continues to do near sell-out business in New York as it approaches its 3,000 performance before the end of the year. The production also has two concurrent national tours (one is currently in Providence), which are both booked through mid-2013.
A good fit
In the production currently in town, Seattle native Jason Kappus plays Bob Gaudio, who wrote many of the group’s most beloved tunes.
The 30-year old actor has appeared on Broadway in "American Idiot," and in the National Tour of "Legally Blonde." In addition, Kappus has appeared in regional productions of "Catch Me If You Can," "West Side Story," "Hairspray" and "High School Musical."
Kappus first saw "Jersey Boys" on Broadway and fell in love with the story and characters. He relished the opportunity to help bring the show to life.
"It is such a well-written show," Kappus told EDGE. "I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of."
Playing Gaudio was "a really good fit for me", Kappus said, noting the show takes place over a period of 40 years. Although Kappus is not ready to play the "Dad role" yet, he feels he is too old to portray teenage characters.
Kappus began acting in 2004. However, his original career goal was very different: he attended Eastern Washington University as a computer science major. However, Kappus soon caught the acting bug and switched his major to musical theater.
Working on "Jersey Boys" has been a lot of fun, Kappus said. "We get to sing incredible songs. The music is amazing. It’s fun to make our own band. Every show is a little bit different because of the energy that we get from the audience, particularly being on tour it’s very interesting because we get a whole different set of reactions in Providence than we do in Dallas, Texas, so that keeps it fresh for us as well."
Kappus’ parents have been very supportive of his entertainment career.
"I got a lot of inspiration from them," Kappus said. "They’re very proud."
Tickets for Jersey Boys begin at $28 and are available at the PPAC Box Office, located at 220 Weybosset Street in downtown Providence; online at www.ppacri.org; and by phone at (401) 421-ARTS (2787). VIP Ticket Packages are also available for all performances. All ticket prices include a $3 per ticket restoration charge.