Get ready for the 2012-2013 season at the Durham Performing Arts Center! One of the major events this fall will be the arrival of the national tour of the 20th-longest running Broadway musical, Jersey Boys. At a recent event, I had the chance to chat with Matt Bailey (Tommy DeVito), Alayna Gallo (Lorraine and others), and Kevin Crewell (Bob Crewe and others) from the national touring company of Jersey Boys about the show, their experiences, and their acting beginnings. They had a lot to say, including some particularly nice things about the Durham Performing Arts Center as a venue.
Before I had a chance to get the cast to myself, ABC 11’s Angela Hampton talked about her experiences with the show and asked the cast a few questions. She proclaimed that the show is “infectious,” and “so much more than the music.” Hampton asked the cast about their audition process. Each cast member went through several auditions – the real Frankie and Bob are at the final audition for every cast member. When asked to describe the show, Alayna Gallo described it as “The Sopranos meets VH1 Behind the Music.” In a special video exclusive for DPAC, book writer Marshall Brickman said that seeing the show “won’t be the worst thing you’ve ever done.” Actor Matt Bailey even went so far as to say, “I dare anybody to come to Jersey Boys and not enjoy themselves.”
BWW: Jersey Boys has been around a long time now. What can fans who have seen the show before expect when they see it for a 2nd or 3rd time?
Kevin Crewell: Well, there’s so much that goes on, I feel like if you really do want to see everything, you need a good two or three shots at it.
Alayna Gallo: My mother has seen it at least 20 times, and every single time, she’s like “Oh, Alayna, I had no idea that this, this, and that happened.” She will still see it another 20 times.
KC: That’s the indicator – mom will keep seeing it…
AG: Yeah, and everybody that says that. It’s a show that they say that they would like to see it again. So much is happening and you start seeing other little tiny details and you’re like “Oh my God, that’s amazing.”
BWW: What’s the experience like joining a show that’s already established itself as a phenomenon?
AG: Wow. Um…
KC: I love it. I mean, I loved it. It was because the work’s kind of done for you. They’ve already carved this brilliant piece of theater and art out, so…
AG: But also, I feel it was also a little nerve-wracking to meet the expectation that it’s been at for so long. And just being a part of something that’s so much larger than us is so overwhelming. But then once you get the hang of it, you’re like, “oh, this is what it’s about.” And everyone’s always great and friendly and welcoming. So…
KC: Always? Always? [laughter]
AG: [laughter] I think so!
KC: Alayna ignored me our first three days. No, I’m just kidding. (laughter) She didn’t. I mean, it’s one of those shows that all you really gotta do is jump on the train at the beginning and ride it.
AG: Oh, yeah.
KC: Some shows, you feel like you’re kinda pulling, having to do work to compensate maybe that the material’s not so great or something like that. And this, boy, all you really gotta do is kind of get out of the way because the material’s just so good.
BWW: How is playing real people different from playing characters who are pure fiction? Is the process different?
AG: Actually yes, because when I first started, I was given a book of the dramaturgy, of the history of everything, from what New Jersey was like at that time, what the working class was like at that time, what was going on in the 50s, and about the character that I primarily play, Lorraine, which is his [Frankie’s] girlfriend towards the end of the show. I mean, I have three meaty scenes, but there was all this information about this woman. They are down to the detail. It’s like this is something you can really research and see who these people were, are, and their families and their lives, so I would say that that was kind of a different process because in most shows it’s all fictional for the most part. And you want to uphold the truth, because you can’t change the truth.