Talking with Frankie Valli from 'Jersey Boys'
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Jersey Boys Who The Landmark Theatre/Famous Artists  Where 362 S. Salina St., Syracuse When Oct. 9-28 Tickets $30-128 Article by Josh Austin

He might not be the real Frankie Valli, but he sure does sound like him.

From his falsetto to his Italian good looks, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine the real Valli on stage—not to mention the rest of The Four Seasons.

“This role is kind of the mother load,” said Brad Weinstock. “I get to play the lead of a show of this kind of caliber. This role is the mother load.”

Weinstock will play the legendary Valli in Jersey Boys when the musical’s second national tour comes to The Landmark Theater Tuesday, Oct. 9.

The show was the 2006 Tony award winner for Best Musical. Since then, it’s still enjoying a run on Broadway, as well as spawning numerous national tours and international companies.

For the 28-year-old Weinstock, being a “Jersey boy” isn’t a far cry from what he’s used to. Raised in Saddle, N.J., Weinstock said he relates to Valli’s Jersey roots.

“It gives us a kind of basis of connection. These guys were pretty rough and tumble. I did not have that kind of upbringing,” he said. “Jersey gets a bad rap, but there are very beautiful parts.”

Weinstock said that a lot of well-known musical talent originates in Jersey, such as Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.

Even though Weinstock did not have the “rough and tumble” upbringing that Valli did, he still had a tough journey to make it as Valli’s Broadway doppelganger: Frankie Camp.

Frankie Camp is a three-day workshop where 10 “Frankies” sing, dance and act, said Weinstock.

“It’s funny. People picture of a bunch of Italian looking boys,” said the actor. “We’re big clones of ourselves, being in the same room with 10 guys who are all doing what you’re doing.” Weinstock said that the camp ascertains who the directors and producers think might have what it takes to encompass the “trifecta of skills that you need to be Frankie.”

“This is the most demanding and challenging role I have ever done,” said Weinstock. “Physically and vocally.”

If anyone knows anything about Valli and The Four Seasons, they’ll remember the singer’s incredibly high falsetto voice on difficult songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Who Loves You.”

Although Weinstock is a high tenor, he rests his voice every chance he gets.

“I feel like I live like a crazy, old cat woman. I sleep more than I ever slept in my life,” he said. “I’m constantly hydrating.” And, he noted that water humidifiers are usually all around him.

Weinstock does vocal warm-ups soon after he wakes up and warm downs after each performance.

Though Weinstock said playing Valli is his dream role, he only got interested in performing when he went to a summer camp. The camp was putting on Wizard of Oz, and he landed the role of Tin-Man. During college at Northwestern University, he got involved in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Chip in the original Chicago cast.

“I was in the right place at the right time for Spelling Bee,” he said. “It was one of those magical years. It never got old.”

Weinstock has accrued a nice résumé of professional gigs since those earlier days. He played Boq in the first national tour of Wicked and performed at Rochester’s Geva Theatre as Toby in Sweeney Todd.Yet, he still has roles that he said he would like to cross off of his bucket list, including a part in Sondheim’s Assassins as well as John Adams in 1776.

“My long-term goal would be to originate a role in a Broadway show. A part that hasn’t been written yet,” he said.

However, Weinstock is more than content as Valli.

“I tend to be popular with the people of my mother’s generation,” he said. “I’ll be in a restaurant and someone will come over and kiss me on the cheek."

“But, I’m not Justin Beiber, so I can go out without sunglasses,” he laughed.

Jersey Boys is playing at The Landmark Theatre from Oct. 9 through Oct. 28. For more information visit www.landmarktheatre.org/.