Bust a move: The actors in 'Jersey Boys' have to be able to dance well, sing well and act well. This Frankie Camp was held in New York.
The Frankie Camp prepares the Jersey Boys actors for their big role ahead.
THE award-winning Broadway musical Jersey Boys, which centres on the life and music of legendary US pop singer Frankie Valli and the group The Four Seasons, has some curious – long and short – requirements when it comes to auditioning the role for its lead character.
With some irony, we can say it’s a tall order for every Frankie Valli on stage. You see the real New Jersey-raised Valli wasn’t that high up in the height department, but his multi-octave range was clearly out of this world. For the stage musical, Jersey Boys actors who take on this role are all shorter than 175cm. Plus they must all be able to sing 25 songs – most in falsetto – and “dance expertly” throughout the evening. Malaysians can witness this musical first-hand when Jersey Boys plays at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur next month.
“They need experience in musical theatre and to meet the required vocal strength to portray Frankie Valli,” says Jersey Boys company manager Jill Somers in an email interview.
Aside from the pre-requisite falsetto, “adequate triple threat skills” (singing, dancing and acting) are among the other things on the checklist. And even if the Frankie in question can do all these, there is another requirement: to be able to convincingly age 14 to 70 years without relying on the magic of make-up!
Expectations are high and there’s lots of work to be done before each show. So to help the actors hone their skills for the big role ahead, the Frankie Camp was created – now a staple for the Jersey Boys productions.
“The unique singing style of The Four Seasons, particular the role of Frankie Valli, as well as the accent and pronunciation of the ‘New Jersey’ dialect, is very specific. Frankie Camp has been developed for actors playing principal characters to receive tuition about their role, the character they play, and the movement and singing style of the Four Seasons,” adds Somers.