After months of interaction and correspondence with JERSEY BOYS fans,
I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions.
Did/do you have to do a lot of preparation to play “Frankie”?
Yes. I spent 6 months before JERSEY BOYS opened training to sing the score. Everything I did was geared toward singing this score. I have a technique for singing these songs, which works, and which keeps me going, show after show after show. It’s not a mystery, really: it’s just like running. If you run 5 miles everyday for 6 months, your body becomes accustomed to running 5 miles. You still have to expend energy and you still break a sweat, but you don’t injure yourself doing it: you’re used to it and trained to do it.
To sing a show like this, you have to be an athlete. Literally. I have to get at least 7 1/2 hours of sleep each night, I have to eat well, I do not drink alcohol or caffeine. I go through ten 32 oz. containers of Gatorade a week, and I drink lots of water. I stretch everyday, still have a weekly voice lesson (sometimes more, when I need it) with my voice teacher, and train in the pool, swimming, once a week (for breath support and upper body conditioning). I get a massage twice a week. I warm up my voice 40 minutes before each show and most importantly of all, cool down my voice with light vocal exercises for 15 -20 minutes AFTER each show. All of the above contribute to making me as resilient and strong as possible so that I can tackle singing live, lead vocals 27 songs a show, week after week after week. It’s doable, but it takes a lot of discipline. Most things that take a lot of effort are worth it, though, in the end, and this is no exception!
Does your throat hurt after singing a show?
If my throat “hurt” after singing JERSEY BOYS, I wouldn’t still be here! You can’t sing well and have it hurt at the same time. Pain means you’re doing damage. And you can’t perform night after night, week after week, if you’re injured.
Can I have an autographed photo or playbill?
Yes! Send me a letter at the theatre, and I’d be glad to send you one: JOHN LLOYD YOUNG, c/o JERSEY BOYS, August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd Street, NY, NY 10019.
In return, I only ask that you please also send a small donation to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, which benefits women battling breast cancer. Make a check out to “BC/EFA” (recommended donation $25), include it with your letter, and I’ll pass it on to them.
When’s your birthday?
Can I get your autograph at the stage door?
Yes. I emerge to sign autographs after every performance, even matinees.
How did you learn to sing like that?
I’ve been able to sing my whole life. But to sing like Frankie Valli, I listened to all of his recordings for months and months and studied with perhaps the best voice teacher for rock singers in the world, Katie Agresta, who taught such luminaries as Cyndi Lauper and Jon Bon Jovi. I continue to train with Katie weekly.
Have you met the real Four Seasons?
Yes. I’ve met Frankie, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, their producer, Bob Crewe, and though original Season, Nick Massi, is now deceased, I have met his family. Bob Gaudio had the most hands-on experience with us. He was at the theatre making sure we sounded as much like the original Seasons as possible and he produced the cast album. He was in the studio with us, directing it all, as we recorded it. The original guys are all very excited about this show and its success, and they have been supportive and encouraging to all of us.
What’s next for you after JERSEY BOYS?
I’m always eager to pioneer something new. Check back often. Any news will be posted on this website.