Stage and Comedy

Q&A with the cast of the touring production of “Jersey Boys”

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    From left: Brandon Andrus, Brad Weinstock, Jason Kappus and Colby Foytik star in the touring production of "Jersey Boys" set to kick off at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts this weekend.

If any contemporary Broadway show shows potential staying power, it’s Jersey Boys. Since its debut in 2004, the story of Frankie Valli penned by Bob Gaudio, Bob Crewe, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice has become a modern classic. In addition to earning a slew of theater awards, the show has also made the short list of Broadway’s longest-running shows. The touring production drew about 90,000 audience members when it stopped in Denver in 2008, and producers are hoping to recapture that success for the tour that landed this week. We caught up with the actors who play the four members of the Four Seasons to get their thoughts about the show’s historic success, its staying power and its unique challenges.

Brad Weinstock (Frankie Valli) –

On preparing for the role of the Four Seasons frontman:

“They’ve done it so many times, they have it down to a science. There’s what they call the ‘dramaturgy bible,’ which is a dictionary-sized binder that has every piece of research and dramaturgy you can think of, from the history of the mafia from 1100, from Belleville, New Jersey, to other musical acts of the time.”

On the demands of playing Frankie Valli and being onstage constantly:

“It’s certainly the most challenging thing that I’ve ever had to do theatrically. It’s a 24-hour lifestyle. I’m getting more and more comfortable with it as time goes on and I’m building more and more stamina, but I hydrate constantly. I have a humidifier, I have a water purifier, I sleep 10 hours a night. I live like a crazy old cat lady hypochondriac.”

Colby Foytik (Tommy Devito) –

On joining a smash success like Jersey Boys:

“That’s a great thing, to step into that. We’re pretty much guaranteed an audience. We all joke around that in terms of doing theater for a living, a show like this is pretty much the closest thing to job security. But there’s a challenge of not playing a character, but a real person. You want to show the respect to theatrical person.”

On the gritty feel and blue language of the show:

“Denver has a smart theater audience. Profanity doesn’t seem to bother them, the language that we use it in the show … When the creative team approached Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio, they took this gamble. They said, ‘We will tell our story, warts and all. We’ll make it as genuine and real as it was.’

Jason Kappus (Bob Gaudio) –

On the blue-collar element of the show:

“We were all familiar with the music, but learning more about where they came from, that’s what people don’t know. It’s what they had to go through to make this music, and you realize that these are just four guys who would just be four faces in a crowd in these New Jersey backstreets. You see all of those other characters in the show – the waitresses, the guys fixing the signs. That’s who these guys would have been their whole lives if they hadn’t found something to get them up.”

On the structure of the show:

“It’s so well written. They could have thrown these songs together like any other juke box show, and I think it would have been successful. It could have been a Mamma Mia or a Smokey Joe’s. It has become a phenomenon because Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman wrote an absolutely brilliant play that happens to have music in it. Where music happened in their real lives, that’s where music happens in the play. It’s not shoehorned in there.”

Brandon Andrus (Nick Massi) –

On the demands of performing in a touring production:

“The audience changes. Regionally and around the country, you’re going to have different tastes. Ohio loves all the Ohio jokes. It’s like that kind of a thing – when you come into a city, you never know what you’re going to get. It’s always interesting to see the relationship. We depend heavily on the relationship with the audience and how much they give back, the energy that they give us.”

On the show’s underlying theme:

“This show is about the concept of family. You had your road family and you had your real family. It was balancing that life. These guys created their own family together. That’s one of the reasons why when Tommy gets into trouble, Franki is willing to step up and take care of him, because they are family at that point, even though they aren’t blood related.”

Jersey Boys runs July 17 to Aug. 11 at the Buell Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1101 13th St., Denver. Tickets start at $20. Information: 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.

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