January – April 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Actors' Fund's Joe Benincasa, Paul Rudd,  Karen Mason, John Lloyd Young photo: Broadwayworld.com

The Actors’ Fund’s Joe Benincasa, Paul Rudd,
Karen Mason, John Lloyd Young
photo: Broadwayworld.com

Last night I attended The Actors’ Fund of America’s and Philips Electronics’ presentation of “Simplicity–A Look at the Future.” The event took place at Pier 94 in Manhattan and was hosted by Actors’ Fund Board Member, Bebe Neuwirth. “Simplicity–A Look at the Future” was, as described by Phillips, “an interactive environment showcasing an extraordinary collection of future products, services and solutions. All of the products were arranged and grouped in ‘pods’ throughout the room.” Click here for photos from [Broadwayworld.com].

Today was day two of the 20th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition. Julia Roberts, Harry Connick, Jr. and Ana Gasteyer presented the winners and runners up. The winning bonnet was made by the Broadway company of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. THE COLOR PURPLE won for best skit.

Total contributions to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Actors’ Fund and Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative among all the participating shows, Broadway, Off-Broadway and on National Tours was over THREE MILLION DOLLARS!

In total, JERSEY BOYS fans and audiences alone contributed $116,224.74 of that three million dollars.

The Jersey Boys presenting at Easter Bonnet photo: Broadwayworld.com

The Jersey Boys presenting at Easter Bonnet
photo: Broadwayworld.com

And through this website, alone, between the auctioned lunches with me and your individual donations, you helped to contribute $12,292.95! Thank you.

Congratulations to friends composer/lyricist, husband/wife team Larry O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin on the announcement of their Broadway show, LEGALLY BLONDE, for April of 2007.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Today and tomorrow the Broadway community comes together at the New Amsterdam Theatre (home of Broadway’s THE LION KING) for the 20th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition. Tickets are available to the public — visit this link. Each Broadway show that participates has created a skit that showcases their themed Easter bonnet. A panel of judges choose the best bonnet, and on Tuesday, a winner is announced. There are also awards for those shows who have raised the most for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, which benefits women battling breast cancer. I’ll let you know how JERSEY BOYS fared in that element of the competition. The four of us JERSEY BOYS, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and I will be presenters at the event along with Kelli O’Hara, Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark and others.

I am overwhelmed and honored to be nominated for a 2006 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for “Frankie Valli” in JERSEY BOYS. Congratulations to fellow nominee, Tony-winner Michael Cerveris, with whom I’ve become friendly at events this season and who was classy enough to invite my mother backstage to give her a tour after she saw his show. Congratulations, as well, to JERSEY BOYS lead producer, Michael David, and all the cast, crew and creative team, (and especially fellow Seasons Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer) on the show’s nomination for Outstanding Broadway Musical. Other JERSEY BOYS nominees include Christian Hoff (Featured Actor), Des McAnuff (Director), Sergio Trujillo (Choreography) and Howell Binkley (Lighting Design).

The Outer Critics Circle is the organization of writers and commentators covering NY theatre for out-of-town newspapers, national publications and other media beyond Broadway. It is celebrating its 56th season of awards for excellence in the field of theater. The award winners will be announced on Monday, May 15th and the annual awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 25th (4pm) at the legendary Sardi’s Restaurant.

Congratulations, too, to JERSEY BOYS music director and conductor, Ron Melrose, on his wedding, Saturday, to Alexandra Carlson. JERSEY BOYS’ Christan Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and I were ushers Saturday morning at Ron and Alexandra’s beautiful ceremony at the Universalist Church at Central Park. Original music for the ceremony was composed and performed by Jenny Giering.

Thank you to New Jersey State Council on the Arts chair, Carol Ann Herbert and husband, Harold, for visiting with me between Saturday’s JERSEY BOYS performances and introducing me to New Jersey Assemblyman, Patrick J. Diegnan and wife, Anita.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Through just after Easter, the Broadway community raises funds for [Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS] and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative which benefits women battling breast cancer. JERSEY BOYS’ fundraising at the August Wilson Theatre ended today. Thank you to audience members Bob and Agnes who won an auction from the stage to have dinner with us JERSEY BOYS after the matinee performance (the auction ended at $1,300). Altogether, between collections at the theatre as well as numerous items auctioned off on Ebay, you helped JERSEY BOYS raise over $110,000 for these causes.

One of the items up for auction on Ebay was lunch with JERSEY BOYS’ “Frankie Valli,” John Lloyd Young! Four lunches brought in a total of $5,735.95 — thank you!

The following fans sent me individual donations for BC/EFA at the theatre:

Charles Alexander, Jimmie and Pat Anderson (in memory of Tommy Wiseman), Donna Aufiero, Carol Ruth Axelrod, Rich and Marlene Ayers, Patricia A. Ball, Kathy Bartsche, Catherine Beckmann, Veronica Bruscini, Leeann Bruzek, David A. Cace, Dan Caradoni, Dorian Chui, Cindy Ceen (in memory of Rex C. Woodard), Evan Cohen DDS, Virginia Coroniti, Harry Day, Kristen DellaRocca, Rich Delloff, Michele DelSordo, Jerry & Andrea Demuth, Mia DiRaimo, Karen Doskow, Damaris Dugan, Betty Eaton, Brenda Edgington, John H. Emmet, Bob Foster, Pat Fowler, Fran Gatto, Gina Gleeson-Bentz, Irwin & Phyllis Goodfriend, Lois Halpern, Kathryn Hanson, Linda Hayashi, Mary Jo & Margie Hillman, Sally Hines, Frank Ingrasciotta, Georgine Kaczmarek, Nick Kaster, Elinor A. Koehl, Tracy A. Kuntz (TCM), Erin Kuntzelman, Kayla Kuzbel, Danielle Lalehzar, Sue Lasbury, Karen Longest, Victor Mancuso, Lillian Mangum, Sheila McNulty-Bobholz, John Meglino and family, Anastasia Meyers, Jonnie Miller, Linda & Christopher Montague, Nicole Nardizzi, Carol Onuma, Rebecca Pisano, Bill Pritchett, Coleen Raccuglia, Hilary Ranucci, Jean Reese, Barry Rogan, Robert Romano, Frank Rovello, Shannon Rymsza, Fr. David Sambor, Shannon Scanio, Sid Seidenberger, Jim & Sara Sevey, Elisa Halpern Sheftic, Joan & Jerry Shevlin, Doreen Shulman, Holly Sieger-McElroy, Bonnie Simms, Pamela Singer, Susie & Dale Skarl, Marilyn Smith, Bobbi Soroka, Kathy Spinner, Lisa Spodak, Ben Stiefel, Sandy & Dave Stortz, Nancy Taylor, Gayle Kamen Weinstein, Robin Wilkinson, Thea Wudyka, Mary Wychowski, Rev. Mike Yarbrough, Frank York (who donated proceeds from his business), Barbara Young, Amanda Zeller

A big thank you to all of you, who, together, through this website, helped me to surpass my personal goal of $5,000!

Between the auctioned lunches with me and your individual donations through my website, you contributed $12,292.95 to BC/EFA! Congratulations!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday to JERSEY BOYS’ “Tommy DeVito,” Christian Hoff!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Today the Drama League announced their 2006 award nominations. The Drama League Awards are New York’s oldest theatre awards, pre-dating the Tony Awards by 12 years. This year’s awards ceremony takes place on May 5th. JERSEY BOYS is nominated for Distinguished Production of a Musical. Christian Hoff and I are nominated among approximately 70 other performers for the Distinguished Performance Award, all of whom will sit on the dais at the ceremony. One performer from among the 70 will be named Performer of the Year. The four of us JERSEY BOYS were already announced as honorary co-chairs of the event. Congratulations to Rick Elice, Marshall Brickman, Des McAnuff, Bob Gaudio, Frankie Valli and all the creative team, cast and crew for our nomination for Distinguished Production of a Musical!

From today’s New York Daily News: “Chess Chick Heads Best of City”
John Lloyd Young one of several New Yorkers chosen for Reader’s Digest 100 Best of America:

L. Doctorow (literary light). John Lloyd Young, who plays Frankie Valli on Broadway (alter ego). Barry Landau (collector). Steinway & Sons in Queens (company tour). Disney’s “Tarzan” on Broadway (swinging single). Olivia the Pig, created by author-illustrator Ian Falconer (pig art). –BY OWEN MORITZ, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
April 19, 2006

[click for article]

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Congratulations to friend Joe Calarco, whose production of URINETOWN at D.C.’s Signature Theatre just won 8 Helen Hayes Awards, including Best Director (Joe Calarco) and Best Musical.

Yesterday, April 17th, I participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Actors’ Fund of America’s Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, NJ. Presiding over the ceremony were Actors’ Fund President, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Actors’ Fund Executive Director, Joe Benincasa. James Earl Jones, whose father is a resident of the home, recited Shakespeare in honor of the Bard’s 442nd birthday! The Actors’ Home is a retirement home run by the Actors’ Fund, and named for Lillian Booth, a major benefactor. The facility and grounds are beautiful and the atmosphere inside and out is joyous. Met Actors’ Home resident Barbara Belle Newman, who wrote the song “A Sunday Kind of Love,” which is featured in the beginning of JERSEY BOYS. Barbara’s a big fan of the JERSEY BOYS CD!

Groundbreaking at the Lillian Booth Actors' Home

Groundbreaking at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home

I was privileged to visit with some other luminaries attending the event including Joyce Randolph (“Trixie” from TV’s THE HONEYMOONERS), Actors’ Home namesake and benefactor Lillian Booth, Celeste Holm and husband Frank Basile, THE SOPRANOS’ Dominic Chianese, Abby Schroeder with husband and Actors’ Home resident, songwriter Aaron Schroeder, who wrote such songs as Elvis’s “It’s Now or Never;” even actor, Bill Britten (remember him as TV’s Bozo the Clown?). All in all, it was a beautiful afternoon, a meaningful ceremony and a great chance to witness and explore, firsthand, one of the many essential social services the Actors’ Fund supports. Thank you to Home administrator, Jordan Strohl, for the tour. Some of the friendly staff at the Actors’ Home promised to send me pictures, which I’ll post when they come.

To learn more about the Actors’ Fund (and to contribute) please visit www.actorsfund.org.

“Young never did talk with Frankie Valli before the show started, but he did pay him a visit. He saw Mr. Valli perform live at the Flamingo in Las Vegas one night (unbeknownst to Mr. Valli). At the time, Young had just been offered the role and didn’t want to jinx his first Broadway job. So he just watched him on stage and took notes on napkins, gathering more information for his character.”
John Lloyd Young discusses [JERSEY BOYS] with New Jersey’s Upstage Magazine.

[Click here] to read the article.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Video from April 6th’s Drama Desk Panel with John Lloyd Young, Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara, Jonathan Pryce and choreographers Sergio Trujillo, Casey Nicholaw and Kathleen Marshall is viewable now online: Richard Ridge’s Broadway Beat.

Also, here’s an [article] about my first lunch to benefit BC/EFA with auction winner, JERSEY BOYS fan Kara Angelastro. Thank you to Kara for her generous donation to BC/EFA and for Tony’s DiNapoli Restaurant for donating the lunch.

JLY's first BC/EFA lunch with auction winner, Kara Angelastro. Donated by New York's Tony's DiNapoli Restaurant Click for an article from Broadwayworld.com

JLY’s first BC/EFA lunch with auction winner, Kara Angelastro. Donated by New York’s Tony’s DiNapoli Restaurant
Click for an article from Broadwayworld.com

Friday, April 14, 2006

Here’s some interesting history on the sound of the Four Seasons and some behind-the-scenes info on how JERSEY BOYS re-creates that sound:

The signature sound of the Four Seasons, originally called “The Four Seasons, featuring the sound of Frankie Valli” was created by having Valli record his vocal part twice and then running them back together. If you listen to the original recording of “Sherry” you will hear TWO Frankie Vallis! This technique was called “doubling,” and the Four Seasons were one of its earliest pioneers, using it on some of their most famous songs.

When we recorded the JERSEY BOYS cast album, we were able to do exactly the same thing in the studio. If you listen to the JERSEY BOYS CD carefully you’ll hear TWO John Lloyd Youngs on some of the signature up-tempo Seasons songs (for instance, track #5, “Sherry”). Other vocal parts are doubled, as well, just as in any choral arrangement.

To recreate that sound live, onstage, JERSEY BOYS uses live offstage or onstage singers just like in the chorus of any other musical, (except a doubler sings in unison with the lead vocal line, not in harmony). Doubling is a way to layer support under a sound, not a replacement for it, which is why you’d hear it if I made a vocal mistake: there’s no place to hide. You can always hear me singing every single note every time I open my mouth; the doubling is there to help recreate that full studio Seasons sound, NEVER to replace my voice or sing for me. Doubling is not used on any of my ballads or solo numbers during the show; it’s only those signature four-part harmonies (which, in reality, can have as many as ten voices onstage and off supporting each of the four vocal parts). It happens in parts of the show where I’m not one of the singers: look for other characters onstage singing in the early scenes of JERSEY BOYS where the “Variety Trio” is performing — those are doublers.

It’s very rewarding to know the authentic signature Four Seasons recording studio sound we all remember is being recreated live every single night onstage at JERSEY BOYS.

On to other news:

Today is the first of the three lunches-with-a-fan I’ve auctioned so far to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative. Hoboken resident, Kara Angelastro won the auction with a bid of $1,625. (Thank you, Kara.) We meet, today, at Tony’s DiNapoli Restaurant in New York City. Kara writes:

“I am always thrilled to help out a good cause especially because seeing Jersey Boys provided such a positive experience for my family! We took my mom to see Jersey Boys for Christmas while she was going through a rough time, not only could she identify with the play since we all grew up in Jersey but it brought us all closer together and gave us something to talk about! So helping a cause John Lloyd Young supports is the least I can do to say thank you!”

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Just for JERSEY BOYS fans: [Check out] the new Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)!

Monday, April 10, 2006

“Proud Jersey girl” and JERSEY BOYS fan, Christie, writes that as a nervous, expecting mother, when she was carrying son Niccolas she’d sing him “Let’s Hang On.” Now Niccolas “is growing fast and learning new things everyday. The new challenge is learning to walk. The song my husband sings to Niccolas is ‘Walk Like A Man.'”
Christie sent this photo of Niccolas in his “Walk Like a Man” JERSEY BOYS onesie.



I wouldn’t normally push JERSEY BOYS merchandise, but I know the young moms, aunts, grandmas, etc. who read this blog might be dying to know where to get the onesie Niccolas is wearing. (For girls, they also have a “Big Girls Don’t Cry” version.) I looked online, and, unfortunately, it looks like the only place to get them right now is at the August Wilson Theatre, where JERSEY BOYS is playing. For those of you unable to easily make it to our theatre in NYC, I’m going to pressure our stage managers to list some for auction on Ebay, where we are selling things to benefit Broadway Cares.

Our Broadway Cares fundraising has been going very well. Thank you to the individual fans, above, who have contributed over $3,000 to the cause so far. Broadway Cares also benefits the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, which assists in the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer survivor, Kathy Lassen, visited JERSEY BOYS, and she told me about her t-shirt line for breast cancer survivors, their families and friends.

Tonight the other JERSEY BOYS and I will perform at the Dramatists Guild’s Annual Benefit, at New York’s Millenium Hotel, hosted by playwright, John Guare, saluting the playwrights, composers and lyricists who created this season’s most exciting musical moments. The benefit will raise money for the Dramatists Guild Fund. Also appearing at the benefit: Meryl Streep and daughter, Mamie Gummer (introduced by playwright Christopher Durang), in a tribute to late playwright Wendy Wasserstein, the casts of THE COLOR PURPLE, RING OF FIRE, GREY GARDENS, and SWEENEY TODD, and James Earl Jones and Courtney B. Vance will perform a scene to honor late playwright, August Wilson. Kathleen Marshall directs the benefit, and the JERSEY BOYS will be introduced by our writers, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

As JERSEY BOYS’ Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative spring fundraising comes to a close, the producers have given permission for us to auction off a walk-on role in a JERSEY BOYS performance on Ebay to a fan who wants to be a Broadway star for a day!

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Today’s Drama Desk Luncheon panel at Sardi’s was a lot of fun. Jonathan Pryce of Broadway’s DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS also joined the panel. Broadway Beat’s Richard Ridge was an excellent moderator, well-prepared with great questions. Click [here] for photos by Ben Strothman of Broadwayworld.com.

Thanks to college buddy and L.A. writer, Austin Winsberg, for visiting JERSEY BOYS last night!

Drama Desk Luncheon Panel (l-r): Casey Nicholaw, Kathleen Marshall, Sutton Foster, Richard Ridge, Kelli O'Hara, Sergio Trujillo, John Lloyd Young, Jonathan Pryce photo: Broadwayworld.com

Drama Desk Luncheon Panel
(l-r): Casey Nicholaw, Kathleen Marshall, Sutton Foster, Richard Ridge, Kelli O’Hara, Sergio Trujillo, John Lloyd Young, Jonathan Pryce
photo: Broadwayworld.com

Last week JERSEY BOYS was visited by Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas and the real Hal Miller (portrayed by Tituss Burgess in the show). For photos from Broadway.com, click [here].

Monday, April 3, 2006

Kelli O’Hara from THE PAJAMA GAME has been added to the Drama Desk Luncheon Panel on Dancing on Broadway previously announced here on the blog. O’Hara and PAJAMA GAME choreographer, Kathleen Marshall, will join me and JERSEY BOYS choreographer, Sergio Trujillo, as well as Sutton Foster and her choreographer for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Casey Nicholaw. Panel is moderated by Broadway Beat’s Richard Ridge, is open to the public, and happens at Sardi’s restaurant, this Thursday morning 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., April 6th. Click here for a Broadway.com article about the event.

JERSEY BOYS fan and actor Frank Ingrasciotta writes:

“Aside from my work as an actor, I am a strong advocate of keeping and increasing arts programs in NY schools. I’ve witnessed miracles with kids when the arts have been used as a teaching tool in the curriculum. I’ve seen it increase test scores and give kids an avenue for positive self-expression.”

This Thursday Frank will be recognized with Westchester Arts Council’s Arts Award for his outstanding achievement as a performing artist and arts educator in Westchester County. Past honorees have been Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and Renata Scotto. Senator Hillary Clinton will be there as a presenter. Click here for an article about the event. Congratulations, Frank, and thank you!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Tonight was an eventful night at JERSEY BOYS. Christian Hoff announced from the stage that he and wife, Melissa, are expecting. Then, to top it all off, JERSEY BOYS’ Erica Piccininni experienced her own life-changing event: her boyfriend Andrew emerged from the wings in a tuxedo, got down on one knee and proposed to her in front of the cheering crowd. (She said yes.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Got the following message from a fan:

Dear Mr. Young,

My name is Trisha Reich and I recently saw Jersey Boys with my sister and my mom. Seeing this play was a stepping stone for us. For about 10 years we have made it a point to see at least one play a year, we missed the year of 2005, because our family was hit with a tragic event. My sister’s 19 year old son was a marine serving in Iraq, when every military family’s worst nightmare happened. Jan. 1 2005, 3 marines knocked on my sister’s door to advise them that their son LCPL Brian P. Parrello was killed in action. To make a long story short Brian is our home town hero (West Milford, NJ). Brian and a fellow Marine CPL Fol were known to their unit as the “Jersey Boys.” My sister and Brian would go once a year to see a play, just the two of them. JERSEY BOYS was the first play she has gone to since Brian’s death. When you sang “Fallen Angel” the 3 of us were crying. We felt it was like a sign from Brian, letting us know that our Jersey Boy was O.K. I wish I could thank you all personally for making this night so special to us. The JERSEY BOYS cast is full of talent that will not go unnoticed.

Thank you again,
Trisha Reich

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Saw Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of THE PAJAMA GAME. Loved Kelli O’Hara in LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, and she does a complete turnaround from that role, here, playing a hard-nosed union leader. She and Harry Connick, Jr. have great chemistry, and Megan Lawrence nearly steals the show in Act II. I’d say see it, but it’s already sold out!

Photos from yesterday’s opening of JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS are posted on [Broadwayworld.com]. Had fun hanging out with lots of buddies including Nina Shreiber, Joe Drymala, Ryan Davis, Trisha Jeffrey, Cindi Rush, Kevin DelAguila, Alison Franck, John Buzzetti, Eric Woodall, Thom Clay, BREL director Gordon Greenberg, BREL producer Dan Whitten, Stacy Levine, BREL lighting designer Jeff Croiter and others. Pictured with me at left is friend Kate Wetherhead of Off-Broadway’s current SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL, playing the Lucille Lortel Theatre.

Kate Wetherhead and John Lloyd Young at the JACQUES BREL opening night party photo: Broadwayworld.com

Kate Wetherhead and John Lloyd Young at the
JACQUES BREL opening night party
photo: Broadwayworld.com

The BREL cast, Natascia Diaz, Robert Cuccioli, Rodney Hicks, Gay Marshall and Eric Svejcar were excellent and the Zipper Theatre was a perfect mood-setting space for this nostalgic show.

Monday, March 27, 2006

My friend Iris Bahr is starring in the new Larry the Cable Guy movie, LARRY THE CABLE GUY: HEALTH INSPECTOR.
Tonight I’m attending the opening night of JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS, directed by buddy, Gordon Greenberg at NYC’s Zipper Theatre.

Thanks to all who have sent in their donations to BC/EFA (see above). I will begin to list everybody who donates here on the blog!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

“The first 12 minutes [of the movie TOOTSIE] are excruciating and humiliating and
somehow — maybe it’s because I’m Catholic — it appealed to me.”

John Lloyd Young on discovering he wanted to be an actor

Listen to [this interview] with Wisconsin Public Radio’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge”

Sunday, March 19, 2006
This weekend a Fox TV special featuring JERSEY BOYS aired in the New York metropolitan area.

An abridged version of one of the best new musicals out there, SARAH, PLAIN & TALL, just began previews downtown at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Don’t forget to bring your Kleenex. This show is touching, warm, well-acted, funny and unbelievably good. Directed by Joe Calarco and written by the award-winning writing team, Larry O’Keefe, Nell Benjamin and Julia Jordan, SARAH, PLAIN & TALL stars Becca Ayers, Heather Ayers, Gene Biscontini, Kenneth Boys, Herndon Lackey and Kate Wetherhead.

Friday, March 17, 2006
“Foster, Marshall, Nicholaw, Trujillo, Young Set for Drama Desk Panel” Thursday, April 6th. Open to the public.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Photos from the red carpet at Monday’s premiere of the remastered LIZA WITH A Z are posted online at [Broadwayworld.com].
The Bob Fosse-directed 1972 television special, about to be rebroadcast exclusively on SHOWTIME (April 1st), is now available on DVD. Seeing the show for the first time, ever, and on the big screen at the Ziegfeld Theatre was a lot of fun. The star-studded audience reacted as though it were a live performance. Liza Minnelli’s 60th birthday was the day before. Alan Cumming presented her with a cake and the audience sang her “Happy Birthday.” Afterward, the screening was followed by a lavish reception at NYC’s SUPPER CLUB.

Photos from last week’s bash at Madame Tussauds for DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS are now online at Broadway.com.

Monday, March 13, 2006
Last night I accompanied Paper Mill Playhouse casting director Alison Franck to the opening of the Playhouse’s CARNIVAL, directed by Erica Schmidt. A cast led by Elena Shaddow as “Lili” was excellent in this dark and visually-arresting production. Had fun visiting with Paper Mill buddies at the party afterward at Martini’s in downtown Millburn, N.J. Photos by Linda Lenzi from the opening night party are posted on [Broadwayworld.com]. Thanks, Linda!

Will run into Linda again tonight at Showtime and BC/EFA’s gala premiere of “LIZA WITH A ‘Z'” at New York’s famous Ziegfeld Theatre.

CARNIVAL opening night party:  Charlie Pollack (CARNIVAL's

CARNIVAL opening night party:
Charlie Pollack (CARNIVAL’s “Paul”),
Will Chase, John Lloyd Young
photo: Broadwayworld.com

“If you have the confidence that you need in order to succeed as an actor, you know when you’re waiting tables or ushering in a theater that it is just for now, and not forever, and you’re just waiting for the role to come along that is going to break you out of that.”

Above is from a [recent interview] I did with Jersey’s Exit Weekly Magazine.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Some of JERSEY BOYS’ youngest fans:

2-year-old Miranda, below, likes to listen to the JERSEY BOYS cast album.



Above, Ryan and Christopher proudly wear the t-shirts I sent them as a thank you for the great video their dad sent of 2-year-old Ryan singing along to our JERSEY BOYS Today Show TV appearance.

Ryan and Christopher

Ryan and Christopher

Thursday, March 9, 2006
Tonight Broadway’s DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS celebrated the addition of its new cast members Rachel York and Jonathan Pryce. Stopped by the party at Times Square’s Madame Tussauds after our performance tonight of JERSEY BOYS. Thanks to Broadway.com’s Bruce Glikas for the photos with the wax Jennifer Lopez and Tony Bennett. Can’t wait to see them. (3/15/06: photos now on [Broadway.com])

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Photos from Monday’s NOTHING LIKE A DAME concert (written about, below) have been posted on [Broadwayworld.com].

Tuesday, March 7, 2006
There’s a video interview online with Broadway Beat’s Richard Ridge from my February 23rd Sardi’s caricature unveiling:

Last night the girls from JERSEY BOYS, Heather Ferguson, Jennifer Naimo, Erica Piccinnini and Sara Schmidt appeared in Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ annual Nothing Like a Dame concert on the stage of Broadway’s Imperial Theatre. The girls appeared along with other stars of the New York stage, including Cynthia Nixon, Bebe Neuwirth, Tyne Daly and others.

The JERSEY BOYS and I made a surprise appearance at the end of the event to present a check for $300,000 to the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, one of the main beneficiaries of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Had a lot of fun backstage talking with buddy, Leslie Kritzer, who was in the evening’s opening performance singing “River Deep, Mountain High.”

Friday, March 3, 2006
“Downtown theater can be grueling. Just ask John Lloyd Young, who, not so very long ago, found himself onstage with a gaping head wound from a self-inflicted gunshot in the unforgiving heat of summer.”
Click to read [this article] from offoffonline.com.

Thank you to friend David Ellenstein for attending JERSEY BOYS last night. David is the artistic director of San Diego’s North Coast Repertory Theatre in California, and he directed me in one of my favorite roles to date: “Danny Saunders” in THE CHOSEN, opposite Theodore Bikel. After the show, David, Alison Franck and I had a bite to eat at Sardi’s and then went to over to the Leisure Time Bowling Alley at Port Authority to watch the newly-formed JERSEY BOYS bowling team. JERSEY BOYS stage manager, Richard Hester, got two strikes in a row and chased each strike down with a full pitcher of beer. Good morning, Richard!

I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials on TV for A LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA. I love this show. Have run into its new stars Katie Clarke and Aaron Lazar around town, and I’d love to see them in it. I wonder if it’s possible outside of my JERSEY BOYS schedule to see it again. Of all the Broadway shows that opened last season, PIAZZA is probably my favorite. If you haven’t seen this show, go.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Daniel Reichard, Christian Hoff, James Gandolfini, John Lloyd Young and J. Robert Spencer

Daniel Reichard, Christian Hoff, James Gandolfini,
John Lloyd Young and J. Robert Spencer

Just found photos online from a visit earlier in February from THE SOPRANOS’ James Gandolfini.
Click here for more photos from [Broadway.com].

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

JERSEY BOYS fan, John, writes:

“My wife and I are big fans, loved the show, and saved to our Tivo your performance on the Today Show a while back. Since then, our 2 year old son, Ryan, has become obsessed with both the cast album, the performances from the TV broadcast, and the original Four Seasons recordings themselves. He “performs” (song and dance) regularly along to your music for my wife and I, his little brother, and any guests we have at our home. My sister-in-law recently edited a video of him singing and dancing in front of our TV while watching the Today Show and I just thought it would bring a smile to your face.”

Ryan, JERSEY BOYS' next

Ryan, JERSEY BOYS’ next “Frankie”

And here’s another message I received from fan Evan Gadda, in Reno, Nevada:

“Dear Mr. Young,
I am a handicapped musical theatre major at the University of Nevada Reno. Even though I am confined to a wheel chair I still manage to direct four shows, and I have done twenty two roles. When I hear you sing Frankie Valli you take me back to when I was a kid again, and you make the pain of my disability disappear. I don’t think you performers know what you do for a person like me. When I hear you sing, it gives me a means of escape from this chair and it makes me feel normal.
Warm Regards,
Evan Gadda
Reno, Nevada”

Monday, February 27, 2006

Elle, a JERSEY BOYS fan, has created a new JERSEY BOYS fansite: Big Men in Town.

Tonight I was a co-host of the annual gala for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, click here for the NYMF website. Congratulations to friend Isaac Robert Hurwitz, one of the festival’s founders.

John Lloyd Young as a co-host at NYMTF 2006

John Lloyd Young as a co-host at NYMTF 2006

John Lloyd Young and Karen Ziemba photo: Linda Lenzi

John Lloyd Young and Karen Ziemba
photo: Linda Lenzi

JERSEY BOYS’ Tituss Burgess also appeared at the gala to sing the closing number.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Friend Daniel Acquisto sent a picture of him, Sammy Buck and me at Sardi’s last Thursday:


Friday, February 24, 2006

Yesterday afternoon was the unveiling of my caricature at Sardi’s. Thank you to Mom, Dad and everyone who attended, including some friends and colleagues from the very earliest days of my New York theatre career. Among them: Cheryl Mintz, who stage managed my first-ever professional production out of college at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, Vera Novacek who let me sleep on her couch when I first moved to New York, Alee Ralph who gave me my first theatre internship and college buddy Maggie Edelman who introduced me to him, and director Gary John LaRosa who gave me my Equity card. Thanks again to everyone who attended, and SPECIAL THANKS to Sardi’s for an unforgettable honor.

The photos here are from Broadwayworld.com’s coverage of the event.
And here are [more photos] from Broadway.com.

As I walked into that fourth floor room where the unveiling was held, I passed the caricatures of Lillian Gish and Helen Hayes, two actors who had celebrated, durable, long and illustrious lives and careers. Receiving a Sardi’s caricature this early on thrusts an immediate obligation on me to live up to the careers of the other luminaries portrayed on those walls, a challenge I’m happy to assume…

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Arrived home late Monday night from an out-of-town funeral, just in time for our important Letterman appearance, yesterday. The David Letterman show was a blast. Had a rehearsal with the cast at the LATE SHOW studios at the Ed Sullivan Theatre at around 4 p.m. and then went back to the August Wilson Theatre to get into costumes and mics and go back to the studio where the show tapes everyday at 5:30 p.m. JERSEY BOYS’ Jen Naimo is a big Matthew Fox fan, and she and many in the cast were excited to see him backstage. The performance was a lot of fun, in front of a live audience (just like at home at the August Wilson), except in this case, Letterman keeps his studio at a balmy 48 degrees! It was like singing outside in the cold. Tough. I was wearing my scarf and winter coat right before being called out onstage… Minutes after our performance there, we we were back at our theatre, nice and warm, changing into Act I costumes for our 7 pm show. Most exciting of all, we were all able to get home in time to watch our Letterman appearance on TV with the rest of the country. Check back within the next few days for photos, video or both.

Tomorrow New York’s Sardi’s Restaurant in the theatre district will add me to their famed collection of caricatures. The caricature will be unveiled in a brief ceremony and reception at the restaurant. Some select family, friends, JERSEY BOYS cast and crew and business acquaintances will be there to celebrate. Of course, I’ll share a photo of the caricature when I have one.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

by AP/Richard Drew

Be sure to catch the cast of JERSEY BOYS on David Letterman tonight [on CBS].

[An article by Mark Kennedy] of the Associated Press is making its rounds in national newspapers this week.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The cast of JERSEY BOYS will appear on CBS/TV’s THE DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW, Tuesday, February 21st, 2006.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I recently experienced a death in the family, and thank you to Charlie Siedenburg for reminding me of the following passage from Chaim Potok’s novel, THE CHOSEN, (I did the dramatic adaptation of THE CHOSEN at Paper Mill Playhouse in 2004).

In THE CHOSEN, the Orthodox Jewish father of Reuven Malter tells his son that, whatever his specific choices of faith and career, he must choose life:

“Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life…. I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives the span, he is something.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The JERSEY BOYS Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and I performed at the Drama League’s 21st Annual Spring Gala benefit concert in a program also including JERSEY BOYS’ Tituss Burgess and performers Michael Cerveris, Kelli O’Hara, Aaron Lazar, Rachel York, Harry Connick Jr., Liz Callaway, Julia Murney, Mary Testa, Marian Seldes, Richard Easton, Katie Clarke, Tina Fabrique, Liz McCartney, Clark Thorell, Roz Ryan and others. The performance was directed by friend Joe Calarco with music direction by JERSEY BOYS’ Ron Melrose.
Thank you to Patti Lupone and Alex Gemignani (of Broadway’s SWEENEY TODD) and Carolann Page for stopping backstage after JERSEY BOYS, today, to congratulate the cast. Thanks, too, to friends Joey Liao and Isaac Robert Hurwitz who saw the show tonight.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thank you to Bruce Willis and daughters Rumer, Scout, Tallullah and friends for coming backstage tonight after JERSEY BOYS to say hello to the cast.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

A couple years ago, I was [interviewed] for Actorslife.com, an online resource for actors. ActorsLife.com’s Joanna Parson conducted a post-JERSEY BOYS follow-up interview with me, which can be read [here].

Monday, February 6, 2006

Back from vacation and ready to jump into JERSEY BOYS again. It was a welcome break after ten months of daily training, rehearsals, previews, opening and the holidays.

Saw some Chicago theatre: Frank Galati’s “after the quake” and Richard Greenberg’s THE WELL-APPOINTED ROOM at Steppenwolf; Mary Zimmerman’s PERICLES at the Goodman; and a one-act play at the Lookingglass Theatre. THE WELL-APPOINTED ROOM was my favorite. It’s a searing and riveting world-premiere of the newest Greenberg play, two separate one-act plays set in the same apartment before and after September 11th, 2001, with top-notch direction by Terry Kinney and funny, nuanced performances by actors Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Josh Charles and Kate Arrington. Two plays by Greenberg will bow on Broadway this year, THREE DAYS OF RAIN, starring Julia Roberts, and THE HOUSE IN TOWN at Lincoln Center. I hope THE WELL-APPOINTED ROOM gets a New York production, too. It’s a fantastic, frustrating play, and for this New Yorker, its 9/11 themes resonated greatly. Here’s a review of the Chicago production: Chicago Sun-Times.

Also visited the Art Institute of Chicago and browsed the collection’s treasures. Favorites among them: Monet’s stacks of wheat, Chagall’s windows, the extensive collection of Joseph Cornell shadow boxes and Breton’s “The Song of the Lark.”

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hello to Jenna! Jenna sent me a message saying she will be 10 in April and she loves the JERSEY BOYS CD. Click here to listen to some of the album online.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Saw Broadway’s HAIRSPRAY for the first time, ever, last night. The show plays across the street from JERSEY BOYS, and I went over to see their Sunday evening performance after my own Sunday matinee. The show is infectious. Understudies Michelle Dowdy and Blake Hammond were on in the roles of Tracy and Edna Turnblad, respectively, and they both were excellent. Kudos to buddies Becky Gulsvig and Rashad Naylor, who were also great (honestly, everyone was). And now I’m a new fan of Tracy Miller, who is hilarious every moment she’s onstage as Penny Pingleton. Great job, guys.

And congrats again to HAIRSPRAY producer Margo Lion. I shudder to admit that this was the first time I ever saw the show: but during all those years as a starving actor, it was hard up till now to afford a ticket to a hit Broadway show…

The real-life family of original Four Seasons member Tommy DeVito sent pictures from their JERSEY BOYS visit on Saturday, January 22nd. Actor Christian Hoff (below, left) plays Tommy DeVito in the show.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thanks to friend Marty for lunch, yesterday!

Last Sunday was JERSEY BOYS’ Actors Fund benefit performance (pictured at right is the cast assembled beforehand). An enthusiastic audience filled the sold-out August Wilson Theatre that night. For information about the Actors Fund, visit www.actorsfund.org.

Monday, January 16, 2006

From a young JERSEY BOYS fan, Lauren:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Better late than never: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade photos.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Got a nice backstage delivery, today: thank you to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban for the white orchid.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Harold M. Shapiro, President of Meretz USA, invited me to attend their celebration of Theodore Bikel, tonight. Perrformers Bruce Adler, David Bromberg, Tovah Feldshuh and Debbie Friedman all paid tribute to the ever-energetic and jovial octogenarian actor, folk musician and political activist. Theo looks great, sang great, accompanied by Tamara Brooks, and, as always, gave a searingly moving and inspiring closing speech.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Happy New Year! What a way to end the JERSEY BOYS holiday schedule with an appearance on NBC’s Today Show this past Friday. I rose at 4:15 a.m. to start warming up for all of the live, early morning singing we were about to do. The entire cast assembled at NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center at 6:00 a.m., and we got into costume and rehearsed for our numerous segments throughout the program. First off was outdoors to sing Katie Couric a surprise “Happy Birthday” (in a great doo-wop arrangement by JERSEY BOYS music director, Ron Melrose). We appeared again about four times during the program to perform some musical numbers, and Katie Couric interviewed the four of us Jersey Boys along with Frankie Valli, who joined us live via satellite from Los Angeles.
Click here for [photos]