Jersey Boys gets encore season in Brisbane
SIX years since it last played in Queensland and eight years since it won the Helpmann Award for Best Musical, Jersey Boys is returning to the stage.
The hit show tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, four guys from 'the wrong side of the tracks' who went on to become one of the most successful bands in pop music history.
I catch up with the Australian production's four stars on the first day of their rehearsals in Sydney, where the show will open in September before coming to Brisbane in the New Year.
Their harmonies sound as good as I remember them sounding in the show. That may be because three of them are returning to the musical after starring in the original Australian tour, which ran for four years.
Ipswich native Glaston Toft reprises his role as Nick Massi, Bernard Angel stars as charismatic lead singer Frankie and Cameron MacDonald plays Tommy DeVito.
Even with thousands of nights on stage, they're excited to return to such a timeless story.
"I've done the show 1500 times. It's a testament to the show that you'd come back and do it again. I'm so excited we're back," MacDonald says.
"I always think of Jersey Boys fondly. It's there in my brain as such an awesome show. It just comes flooding back to you, and it's better than you remember."
Angel graduates to the vocally demanding role of Frankie after playing Joe Pesci, traditionally the understudy role to Frankie, in the original production.
"Joey actually does do a lot of falsetto in the show. You never see it but he's in the background," he says.
"Rehearsals will just be about building that (vocal) stamina up.
"When we start singing and dancing, that will be the next level. Getting on top of the breathing will be the next challenge."
Thomas McGuane is a new addition to the cast as Bob Gaudio.
"I feel like I'm in shallow water to start off with," he says. "Listening to it is making me excited and that pushes me to keep learning. I'm learn as much as I can. I'm excited to figure out my opinion of the show and how I feel within it and fit within it as well."
Broadway's 12th longest-running musical, Jersey Boys is just as enduring as the songs it celebrates, such as Can't Take My Eyes Off You, Big Girls Don't Cry, Sherry and Bye Bye Baby.
"A lot of people do know the songs but they don't know they know them," Toft says.
"A lot of my original memories of some of the music is through cinema. I knew Walk Like a Man from that Robert Downey Jr film Heart and Soul."
MacDonald adds: "Before you do the show you don't realise how they're played everywhere. As soon as you become familiar with the whole catalogue you'll be doing your grocery shopping and Sherry will be playing over the loudspeaker. You become aware of how omnipresent these dudes are."
Jersey Boys returns to QPAC's Lyric Theatre in January, 2019. Tickets go on sale tomorrow from 9am.