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Working his way back to you, babe

December 16, 2010
tags: ,

Published by Metro

It seems that everything Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons touch turns to gold. 

In the ’60s and ’70s the pop group produced 29 Top 40 hits, sold 175 million records and became international superstars. Now, 30-odd years later, the musical story of their lives has broken box office records in nearly ever major city in the country.

“Wherever we go, breaking records seems to be the norm, which is not normal,” says Emerson alumnus Joseph Leo Bwarie, who plays Frankie Valli in that musical, “Jersey Boys.”

The show’s success can be attributed to the Four Seasons’ Midas touch, or to their catchy sound, but also to the fact that their juicy behind-the-scenes story has only recently come to light.

Why? Back in the height of the band’s fame, celebrity culture wasn’t what it is now, says Bwarie.

“Today we’re only interested in the scandal, but back then there was definitely a separation between the celebrity and the human being,” he explains.

But the group’s secrets are out now — the hardships, relationships, even the mob connections.
Audiences need not feel guilty about invading the Four Season’s privacy. Valli and surviving members Tommy DeVito and Bob Gaudio (songwriter behind hits “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man,” among others) got to veto aspects of their lives they didn’t want on stage.

“Even so, there are still parts that are very personal and hard for Frankie to watch,” says Bwarie, who has played the Valli role for three years and met the legendary singer multiple times. “We go, ‘Oh, I had no idea that happened to him.’ But he lived it.”

Hitting the high notes

“Within the show I sing 27 songs,” says Bwarie, who had experience singing Frankie Valli-style falsetto before taking on the role. Still, “it’s a lot more high notes percentage-wise than any other show I’ve been in.”

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