For “Frankie Valli” in Broadway’s JERSEY BOYS:
Winner, 2006 Tony Award (Best Performance by a Leading Actor)
Winner, 2006 Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Lead Actor)
Winner, 2006 Outer Critics Circle Award (Outstanding Lead Actor)
Winner, 2006 Theatre World Award
Nominee, 2006 Drama League Award (Performer of the Year)
A note to JERSEY BOYS fans:
Thank you, as always, for your e-mail and correspondence. I apologize for not being able to answer all my e-mails right now — once we’re through with the Tonys I’ll try to catch up! Thank you for the kind words, support and encouragement during this exciting time for me and for JERSEY BOYS. Fondly, JLY
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Thanks to old friends Marie-Ann Azar Ward and Jan Washburn & family, for visiting backstage at JERSEY BOYS, recently. Marie-Ann and Jan were former colleagues of mine from my days as a radio announcer for WCFE, FM Public Radio.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Check out my new myspace page.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Lots of visitors at the stage door last night. Thanks to Aggie and friends for saying hello, thanks to college friend, Stephen and his family. And thanks to all the home-towners from Plattsburgh who came to the show last night, including the McGills! Dr. McGill was my orthodontist. Spent an extra half hour last night at the stage door visiting with everybody, and it’s always a lot of fun.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I think JERSEY BOYS found their next “Frankie.” Check out those high notes!
Monday, August 14, 2006
The JERSEY BOYS, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and I are singing the National Anthem tonight at Yankee Stadium, 7 p.m. EST.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Thank you to voice teacher, Katie Agresta, and Dr. Gwen Korovin for helping me get back into JERSEY BOYS in record time. Was so thrilling to be back amongst Christian, Daniel, Bobby and cast, tonight. What an enthusiastic audience. And I was so happy to see writers Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman there tonight, too.
Nine Tony nominees document their 2006 Tony Awards experience on Broadway.com. There are photo essays from 2006 Tony nominees Samuel Barnett, Michael Cerveris, Jim Dale, LaChanze, Beth Leavel, Stephen Lynch, Alison Pill, Pablo Schreiber and John Lloyd Young. My photo essay documents the night before Tony day through to our visit to the White House the day after the Tonys.
To see the photo essays, [click here].
Thursday, August 3, 2006
It was a nice surprise to see THE VIEW’s Joy Behar out in the audience of JERSEY BOYS last night. Though she was certainly enjoying the show, I noticed she really seemed surprised and amused to watch the audience enjoy JERSEY BOYS so much. Wonder if she’ll be talking about it on her show…
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
I’m glad to be back at JERSEY BOYS tonight, after a week away. I had struggled for a few weeks trying to sing through a lingering sinus infection; my doctor said I’d better take some rest before I hurt myself. So I had to do something that’s difficult for ANY actor: spend a week on vocal rest and miss a full 8 performances. Luckily, home-bound, I was able to answer some of the e-mails that had been accumulating for months, and I’m so thankful to all of you who showed your support. Thanks, too, to the fans who heard I was sick this week and sent notes and e-mails. I’m constantly astounded at the affection and warmth lavished upon us by all the fans of JERSEY BOYS. And regrets to the fans who went to the show this week wanting to see my performance. The catch of live theatre is that it’s live, and unfortunately (for both of us, in this case), I’m human, too… Very glad to be back tonight.
I am a member of the National Advisory Board of the William Inge Festival of Independence, Kansas. A few weeks ago, a group of Inge Festival supporters came and made a Broadway visit. Among the shows they saw was JERSEY BOYS. Thanks to Inge Festival artistic director, Peter Ellenstein for inviting me to lunch with the group at Sardi’s Restaurant. Each year, the Inge Festival honors an American playwright (I performed in past years’ ceremonies honoring Arthur Laurents and Tina Howe). Next year’s honorees are Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Thank you to Peter for this photo from lunch at Sardi’s with Mr. Harnick and former Inge Festival honoree, A.R. Gurney. Tony Award or not, I was surprised to find myself feeling a bit nervous in the presence of Mr. Harnick (who wrote FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) and Mr. Gurney (who wrote LOVE LETTERS).
It made me think about something I read in a recent film review. It discussed a young film director who had a huge success with his first film. The industry branded him an expert, an auteur. But the reviewer contends that so early in one’s career, a breakout hit can only truly demonstrate promise. The Tony in the Leading Actor category has historically gone to someone at the height or even end of an illustrious theatre career. The fact that I got mine in my first Broadway show, ever, doesn’t mean I know anything; only that I knew enough to get it right this time. So now I understand my own nervousness a little better. Pete Gurney and Sheldon Harnick have a career’s worth of work behind them, and I’ve got my career’s worth of work ahead of me. For me, this Tony isn’t a crown on a long, illustrious career; it just sets the bar for what lies ahead.
(You’d be nervous, too.)
Saturday, July 29, 2006
I took another stab at e-mail. I’m sorry — I don’t think I can keep up! I have 42 pages of unanswered e-mail from friends and fans, and I intended to answer it, but I have to stop promising. So I appreciate all the warmth and support, but I can only answer if you send me a letter. Look for my mailing address on my contact page, and I look forward to being in touch: the old fashioned way.
I also uncovered some e-mails from my former New York acting teacher, Eric Loeb. I have to add Eric to my list of thanks. Eric has achieved something that few teachers can attest to: two Tony-winning actors in so many years. 2005 Tony-winner Dan Fogler was also an Eric Loeb student. So is friend, Eric Millegan, who can now be seen on TV’s BONES. The mark of a great teacher is breakout students, and I am very proud to be one of Eric’s.
Friday, July 28, 2006
From today’s VARIETY: John Lloyd Young signs deal with ABC Television.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
JERSEY BOYS fan, Cathy Beckmann, sent me this picture from outside the stage door after a performance. Cathy is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Her home was more than 50% destroyed, and her trip to New York City and JERSEY BOYS helped to raise her spirits. Best wishes, to you, Cathy, and thanks for the photo.
Monday, July 24, 2006
“She says to me, ‘Francine needs a father.’ I answer, ‘How about a mother? Whyn’t you pull yourself together?!’
It’s my favorite line because the writers Marshall and Rick invented a word: ‘whyn’t.'”
John Lloyd Young talks to Jersey Boys Blog. [Click for link].
Friday, July 21, 2006
Last night Times Square’s Tony’s Di Napoli Restaurant unveiled this JERSEY BOYS portrait by Dan May for their Broadway Wall of Fame. A great deal of the cast was there to celebrate. Thank you to friends Kate Wetherhead, Jeff Croiter, Becca Ayers, and Alison and Charlie, for joining in the festivities.
Also, Christian Hoff and I got our Tony Awards back from the engraver. They arrived backstage before last night’s performance wrapped in plastic, in a black, velvet-lined box. I was able to show the Tony to friends at the party last night before bringing it home; the most frequent comment, “It’s heavy!” The most frequent question: “Where are you going to put it?” It’s home on my bookshelf with my favorite plays and the other awards I won this season.
Click for photos from [Broadway.com].
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Thank you to friend and fan, Lois, for the framed picture of the [NY Post] article on me and my father and the Tonys and for treating me to lunch, yesterday, between shows.
Looking over the blog this morning, I’m reminded of some of the highlights over this past year of JERSEY BOYS. I thought it might be fun to bring some of those back to the top of the blog for revisiting! Here are some of those highlights:
Broadway cast of JERSEY BOYS announced
Cast album recorded
Video from opening night
The New York Times Review
Fox News covers opening night
Jersey Boys’ first Today Show appearance
Sardi’s caricature unveiling
Video of Ryan, a 2-year-old fan
Wisconsin Public Radio interview
Bill Clinton visits JERSEY BOYS
Video documentary of Tony day
…and so much more to come. Thanks, as always, for all the e-mails and letters. I am still behind, but catching up a little every day, and I plan to answer all of them.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Had a wonderful vacation the weekend before last in upstate New York, where I was able to have a great visit with my immediate and extended family. It had been almost a year that I had been able to spend any time at home, so it was a rare opportunity to reconnect and reflect after the Tony Awards and this incredible year.
I returned to JERSEY BOYS on my birthday, July 4th, and was surprised after the performance at the stage door by a whole chorus of audience members singing “Happy Birthday.” Thank you to you all for the great surprise. After the Thursday evening performance, friends joined me after my performance at nearby Zanzibar for a birthday celebration. It was a great chance to catch up with some friends I haven’t really been able to see during this yearlong journey with JERSEY BOYS. Thanks to friend, Ellen Capon, for giving me a copy of the riveting Sundance Channel documentary [THE STAIRCASE]. (Thanks to JERSEY BOYS’ Erica Piccininni, Richard Hester, Deborah Hurwitz, Michael Clarkston, Joe Payne, Michael Clark and Michelle Bosch for also attending). Linda Lenzi was there and posted photos on [Broadwayworld.com].
I am overwhelmed at the sheer quantity of e-mail I’ve received from friends, family and fans before, during and after the Tonys. I made a little bit of a dent replying to things, today, but I have a lot of e-mail left to go through (about 60 pages’ worth). A heartfelt thanks to all of you, especially friends, old and new, to whom I haven’t replied just yet. I know your messages are there, and I’m looking forward to getting back to all of you.
As always, whenever I venture into my inbox, there are some real treasures awaiting. Thanks to JERSEY BOYS fans for sharing the following messages:
“I am 60 years old and have never written a fan letter before. When I returned to Cincinnati from New York, I visited your website. I am awaiting kidney dialysis and transplant, and occasionally that can become a bit depressing. When I read about your regimen to stay in shape for the role you play so beautifully, it inspired me to work harder to stay in as good health as possible to be ready for the days ahead. I’m watching my diet, starting to exercise more, and generally working on keeping a healthy attitude. YOU helped me see that I need to do that and to see what determination can accomplish.” — Sharon
“I am sixteen years old. I am writing to you because of your Tony Awards acceptance speech. Something happened to me when you got up on that stage and began talking to your father. I felt a crush of emotions and began to cry. My father and I have a similar relationship to what you mentioned yours to be. We are “at odds” more often than not. But despite all that, I love him so much, and he means everything to me. I am what I am because of him. You put into words what I have been feeling my whole life, but could never express. That night, you weren’t the only person thinking of your father.” — Jamie
“Your speech at the Tony Awards touched me. I am a mother with cystic fibrosis. Your speech was a beautiful reminder to me that life can and does go on in spite of tragedy, and even if I’m not here for all of it, my kids can still grow up to be healthy, happy, successful adults. Your speech was a wonderful tribute to your father, and to the power of the human spirit.” — Martha
Yesterday JERSEY BOYS and THE HISTORY BOYS were able to see each other’s shows. THE HISTORY BOYS had a special Sunday evening performance, so I was finally able to see it. Earlier in the day THE HISTORY BOYS’ Russell Tovey, Samuel Barnett, and Tony-winner Richard Griffiths all saw our JERSEY BOYS matinee. Had fun chatting with Griffiths backstage afterward (neither of us have our Tony Awards back from the engraver, yet!). Congrats to everyone of THE HISTORY BOYS on an exemplary performance. Now I understand what all the fuss is about!
Thank you to New Jersey Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, wife Anita and friends for waiting to say hello after seeing yesterday’s matinee of JERSEY BOYS.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Today I was honored by the New Jersey State Legislature. As the one JERSEY BOY who’s an actual resident of Jersey, I received a proclamation on behalf of myself, Christian Hoff, J. Robert Spencer, and Daniel Reichard, who were all at Central Park rehearsing tonight’s Broadway Under the Stars concert along with my understudy, Michael Longoria. Thank you to NJ Assemblyman, Patrick Diegnan, and friend Carol Herbert, Chair of the NJ Council on the Arts, for arranging this honor. I was able to meet NJ Governor, Jon Corzine before the proclamation, followed by lunch afterward with friend Carol Herbert and her husband Harold, and Assemblyman Diegnan’s wife, Anita. Executive Director of the Actors’ Fund of America, Joe Benincasa, was also along for the proceedings.
Yesterday morning, before our matinee, I performed at Hofstra University for WOR Radio’s Celebrate America Benefit. Thank you to WOR’s Joan Hamburg for inviting me to perform. In the green room, I ran into some other Broadway people performing in the benefit, including, Brandon Victor Dixon and Felicia P. Fields of THE COLOR PURPLE, John Tracy Egan (THE PRODUCERS), James Sampliner (THE WEDDING SINGER), Mary-Mitchell Campbell (John Doyle’s upcoming COMPANY) and Katie Clarke (A LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA). I also met the cast of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY, who, told me they mercilessly parody me in JERSEY BOYS.
And last night after the JERSEY BOYS matinee, Alison and I attended Sarah Jones’ Tony-winning turn in BRIDGE AND TUNNEL. JERSEY BOYS’ J. Robert Spencer was also there, along with a slew of THE HISTORY BOYS. Afterward, we JERSEY BOYS accompanied the HISTORY BOYS backstage to meet and take pictures with Jones, who is in a word, incredible.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Thank you to the people who have written to me in the wake of our incredible night at the 2006 Tony Awards. After my acceptance speech where I mentioned the loss of my birthmother to cystic fibrosis, I have received letters and e-mails from people who have cystic fibrosis or who love someone with the disease. Emily Schaller has cystic fibrosis, and she approached me to talk at the stage door. Emily has started the Rock CF Foundation in Detroit to raise money and awareness about CF. Please visit the Rock CF website at www.letsrockcf.org. And thank you, Emily, for sharing this with me. To learn more about cystic fibrosis and to donate to help find a cure, please visit the [Cystic Fibrosis Foundation] website.
I will be appearing tonight at 1 a.m. on the Joey Reynolds show on WOR Radio, 710 AM.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
From Today’s [New York Post]: ‘JERSEY BOY’ TONY WINNER: IT’S FOR MY DAD. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
Friday, June 16, 2006
ABC World News Tonight named me “Person of the Week” tonight.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Broadwayworld.com followed me around the day of the Tonys, before, during and afterward. Here’s a video documentary of that day.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Returned last evening from our performance at the White House. We left the JERSEY BOYS Tony Awards party at 1:30 a.m., boarded a tour bus and made our way to D.C., where we arrived at dawn. Each year, First Lady Laura Bush hosts a bi-partisan luncheon for all the Senators’ spouses. We were this year’s entertainment. J. Robert Spencer, Matthew Scott, Dominic Nolfi and I, accompanied by our conductor, Ron Melrose, and musicians Ken and Kevin Dow, Deborah Hurwitz and Joe Payne, along with three horn players from the U.S. Marine Corps, performed Four Seasons songs for our very enthusiastic audience. Also along were Heath Schwartz and Susanne Tighe from our press office, as well as JERSEY BOYS stage manager, Michael Clarkston. I was honored to be invited to sit at Laura Bush’s table. Beside me was Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon’s wife, Nancy Bass Wyden. To my great surprise, Mrs. Wyden turns out to own and operate one of my favorite New York institutions, her family’s business, the famous Strand Bookstore. Following the lunch and performance, we were given a tour of the White House. Then we re-boarded our tour bus and headed home to New York.
What an honor to have won the Tony Award on Sunday night. I was so happy to see co-star Christian Hoff take the prize for Featured Actor as well as Howell Binkley for lighting and the whole team for Best Musical.
I would like to acknowledge the following people, because no one can win an award without the help and support of many:
Thank you to voice teacher, Katie Agresta, who trained me for four months before JERSEY BOYS began and who has helped shepherd me through this entire experience in our weekly lessons. Thank you to JERSEY BOYS conductor, Ron Melrose, for his expertise and guidance from day one (including introducing me to Katie Agresta).
Thank you to all the JERSEY BOYS musicians, Ken Dow, Ben Kono, Joe Payne, Deborah Hurwitz, Matt Hong, Dave Spier, Steve Gibb, Steve “Hoops” Snyder and especially drummer, Kevin Dow, who is onstage almost as much as I am! Thank you to former agent, now manager, Nina Shreiber, for paying for those lessons with Katie when I couldn’t afford them, and for her tireless support and unparalleled work ethic. Thank you to lawyer, Ben Feldman, and to new agents Adam Schweitzer, Iris Grossman, Paul Martino and the rest of the ICM team, and to publicist, Charlie Siedenburg. Thank you to JERSEY BOYS co-stars, Christian Hoff, J. Robert Spencer and Daniel Reichard who make it easy to be a good actor opposite them. (Thank you to Ted Baker, for dressing the four of us for the Tonys and to Jim Haag and Jacob & Co. for the diamond accessories!)
And thank you to fellow cast members Tituss Burgess, Heather Ferguson, Steve Gouveia, Donnie Kehr, John Leone, Michael Longoria, Jennifer Naimo, Dominic Nolfi, Erica Piccinnini, Sara Schmidt, Matthew Scott, Peter Gregus and Mark Lotito for their talent and warmth onstage and off. So happy we can all share this award for Best Musical, together. Thank you to the entire crew and staff (including David, Gus and Will at the stage door )at JERSEY BOYS, especially Amy Neswald, Lee Austin and Nancy Ronan, Nick Staub, Shaun Ozminski, Ricky Yates and Davis Duffield for keeping me together on the front lines, outside (and in). (Thanks to the tech crew, but especially to Mike for keeping me lit!!) Thank you to Maria and Lorraine from housekeeping. Thank you to stage managers, Michelle Bosch, Richard Hester and Michael Clarkston for their prowess and their patience. Thank you to choreographer, Sergio Trujillo, who taught me to dance along with dance captain, Peter Gregus, who helped him. And to associate choreographer, Kelly Devine, who played good cop.
Thank you to director, Des McAnuff, and producers, the Dodgers, for taking a big risk on an unknown actor, and to casting directors Tara Rubin and Eric Woodall for finding me and introducing me to them. Further thanks to Des McAnuff for his expertise at the helm of one of the biggest hit shows of the decade. Your achievement is staggering. And thank you to Assistant Director, Holly Anne Ruggiero for imparting all the reams of notes! Thank you to orchestrator, Steve Orich; lighting designer, Howell Binkley; sound designer, Steve Canyon Kennedy (and his home team, Julie, Mike and Dave); costume designer, Jess Goldstein; and hair designer Chuck LaPointe; along with each of their individual teams, for their enthusiasm and kindness and craft.
A big thank you to the reasons we’re here: Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker Gaudio, Frankie Valli, Bob Crewe and Tommy DeVito, who, along with their families, have all been present, supportive and inspiring to all of us throughout this whole journey. And a most important thank you to JERSEY BOYS scriptwriters Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice for having the skill to give both the JERSEY BOYS actors AND audiences a reason to care about these characters and this show. Often only one of the two happens; you two made both happen at once, and all the good that’s come to us is because of that.
Thank you to my parents, my sister, my family, and all my friends, especially old friends, the Novaceks, Isaac Robert Hurwitz and Lauren Bass and Alee Ralph for always believing. Emily Wells, it’s been such a comfort and joy to have you around for these past few months of JERSEY BOYS events. And to Kate and Becca: so proud we all debuted in 2005! Thank you to Austin, for helping me find my speech. And to Alison, for her patience, belief and love.
Thank you to Patrick Parker and Mark Waldrop for letting me housesit nearby in their NYC apartment during our grueling summer rehearsals for JERSEY BOYS.
I’d like to acknowledge my cousin, Donna Salamone, who took me to Vegas to see Frankie Valli, live, when I was researching this role. I am so grateful she was able to help me, back then, and so glad she was able to be at the Tony Awards this past Sunday.
And most important of all, thank you to all the JERSEY BOYS fans, who make it so rewarding to perform in this show, and to all the voters who agreed with them enough to reward us at JERSEY BOYS for our work.
I have so many e-mails and voicemail messages from so many of you: thank you. I’ll be answering them for weeks!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Saturday, June 10, 2006
The 60th Annual Tony Awards air tomorrow night on CBS. In my early research for JERSEY BOYS, I uncovered an old press release that said, “Frankie Valli believes no one can succeed alone.” Whether I win or not, there are a lot of people to thank, and I’ll do that here on the blog early next week.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
By Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press: “The ‘Boys’ are Big Tony Contenders.” [Click here] to read the article.
Thank you to Broadway fans who voted me “Best Breakout Performer of 2006” on Broadway.com’s 7th Annual Audience Awards.
Yesterday afternoon was the 2006 Theatre World Awards Ceremony at Studio 54. Thank you to friends Charlie Siedenburg and Nina Shreiber, Alison Franck and my father for attending with me. Thank you, too, to JERSEY BOYS producer Ed Strong for being there. Ran into friends Sammy Buck, Scott Denny, Daniel Acquisto and Dan Debenport, who were all working at the event, as well as Stacy Baer, Candi Adams, Randie Levine Miller and others. It was a very touching ceremony. Twelve winners, six men and six women, were honored for their outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway debut performances. The honorees were Harry Connick, Jr. (The Pajama Game), Felicia P. Fields (The Color Purple), Maria Friedman (The Woman in White), Richard Griffiths (The History Boys), Mamie Gummer (Mr. Marmalade), Jayne Houdyshell (Well), Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), Ian McDiarmid (Faith Healer), Nellie McKay (The Threepenny Opera), David Wilmot (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Elisabeth Withers-Mendes (The Color Purple), John Lloyd Young (Jersey Boys). Each nominee was introduced by a former Theatre World Award winner. I was introduced by actor John Rubenstein who won his award for the original Broadway production of PIPPIN. The emcee was the Star-Ledger’s Peter Filichia and the other presenters included past Theatre World Award winners, Lucie Arnaz, Maxwell Caulfield, Ralph Fiennes, Harry Groener, Liza Minelli, Patricia Neal, Ken Page, and Jonathan Pryce.
Each presenter told the story of their first breakout performance and their experience of winning the Theatre World Award, then they introduced each of us and presented us with our awards. It was a warm and moving meeting of past, present and future in that room, and I am honored to have been a part of it. An overwhelming thank you to Harry Connick, Jr. for predicting in his Theatre World Award acceptance speech that I deserved to take home the Tony Award this coming Sunday. No matter what the outcome on Sunday, I’ll never forget that Connick, an idol of mine for 15 years, had the humility and grace to say that. At the end of the ceremony, all of the current winners, past winners and presenters gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” to 90-year-old Theatre World founder, John Willis.
And, of course, thank you to Theatre World for inducting me into this historic fraternity of New York theatre luminaries.
Here’s an article about the event, written by emcee, Peter Filichia. And click here for photos.
Sunday, June 4, 2006
Peter Marks writes about JERSEY BOYS and the 2006 Tony Awards in today’s Washington Post. [Click here] for the article.
I haven’t been able to check or answer my e-mail in literally two months, but I was able to look at a few messages, today. After an incredibly stressful week and the intense pressures of the Broadway awards season, what an overwhelming and happy feeling to read the following words from some fans:
“I was fortunate enough to meet you and the other “Boys” after the show in the lobby. What really made the evening complete was when I took a picture with you, got your autograph, and you asked me if I was an actress, I said yes, and you told me to stay strong. Those words stuck in my brain and really got me thinking about how much I love the performing arts, and how I want to “make it” someday. Although I’m only a 16 year old finishing her Sophomore year in high school, I know this is what I want to do with my life. Thank you so much for your encouragement.” — Jessica
“At the point in the show where you guys sing Sherry, Big Girls and Walk Like A Man, I feel like the audience is celebrating both The Four Seasons AND the four of you. But somewhere during the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” you cross over that line. When the horns come out, the audience is celebrating Frankie Valli’s highlight of his career, but by the time you finish that song the audience is celebrating the unbelievable talent that is John Lloyd Young. Like I said, there were tears. I think they were tears of pride for you and your amazing accomplishment as a performer.” — Lyn
“Saw your wonderful show this past Tuesday. You’re the best. Your performance is nothing less than phenomenal… The American Bandstand scene brought back personal memories for me. I am from Philadelphia and I am one of the “original regular dancers” on that show. I was there the day Frankie Valli made his first appearance on the show. Seeing you perform Sherry was recapturing the moment for me all over again.” — Eddie
Thank you to fans, Jessica, Lyn and Eddie, above, and to all the other fans and friends who are writing me during this busy time. When I get a chance to catch up on my e-mail, I’ll express my appreciation to you all, individually. For the time being, though, thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement, your congratulations and your best wishes for the Tonys. Broadway can be tough, but your words certainly help soften it. With sincere appreciation, JLY
“To be in a position to be in the show as long as I want is very exciting. I think I’m gonna be with it for a nice long time,
either on Broadway or the national tour, and a London production is in the works. It would be nice to open a hit show
in a foreign country in the theatre capitol of the world.”
John Lloyd Young discusses JERSEY BOYS with interviewer David Noh
to read this interview, [click here]
Friday, June 2, 2006
What a week, and it’s not over, yet. Tomorrow morning JERSEY BOYS appears on NBC’s Weekend TODAY. Wednesday, we also appeared on the TODAY Show for Katie Couric’s farewell. I hear that with approximately 8 million viewers it was the highest rated TODAY in TODAY Show history. We performed a version of “Bye, Bye, Baby” for Katie, with alternate farewell lyrics by JERSEY BOYS scriptwriter, Rick Elice. Then, to end the broadcast, we performed another farewell number with lyrics and arrangement by Tony-winning HAIRSPRAY composer, Marc Shaiman, along with HAIRSPRAY’s Harvey Fierstein. We had to arrive at the TODAY Show studios at 5:45 a.m., and then later we had a matinee and evening performance of JERSEY BOYS. It was certainly an exhausting day, but someday we’ll be able to tell our grandchildren about being a part of this historic event.
See video clips of our May 31, 2006 appearance on TODAY:
Thanks to Joan Hamburg for having me and JERSEY BOYS director, Des McAnuff on her WOR Radio program Thursday morning.
In the midst of these great appearances and our 8-show weeks, we’ve also been busy rehearsing for these appearances as well as for our very important upcoming appearance at the Tony Awards, the evening of Sunday, June 11th on CBS.
Last night First Lady Laura Bush attended JERSEY BOYS with daughter, Barbara. Thanks also to Greg Victor, Dr. and Mrs. Barry Kohn and Roger Alan Gindi for waiting backstage to say hello after the performance.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Today Corine Dana Cohen e-mailed me this caricature, drawn by Sam Norkin:
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Profiled today by Mark Rotella in the New Jersey section of [The New York Times].
Saturday, May 27, 2006
One of the great joys of being an actor is performing for a live audience. Sometimes it’s unlike anything else you could ever describe. At JERSEY BOYS we often get multiple standing ovations during the show, which, for us, is still breathtaking each time it happens. Tonight, though, something happened at JERSEY BOYS that’s never happened before: people in the audience began to stand at the beginning of a song, all the way through it, and as the song ended the rest of the audience jumped to its feet. As the JERSEY BOYS and I came together to sing the final song of the show, a man in the orchestra stood. Soon thereafter an audience member on the opposite side of the auditorium stood. Then whole sections began to stand. As we performed our final song together as a cast, we watched this happening. We were all so moved that many of us, including me, were fighting back tears.
The JERSEY BOYS audience often thanks us at the stage door for giving them such an incredible experience. And I am always so grateful for our warm and enthusiastic audience response. Tonight, though, I’ll never forget. So to tonight’s audience: thank you.
Friday, May 26, 2006
The New York Times’ Ben Brantley discusses John Lloyd Young and JERSEY BOYS in his overview of the season. Listen to his NPR interview:
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Click [here for a Broadway.com] interview with all four of us JERSEY BOYS.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
JERSEY BOYS, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and I will appear on Regis & Kelly on Thursday morning (May 25th).
Photos from Sunday night’s Drama Desk Awards are posted on [Broadwayworld.com].
Monday, May 22, 2006
Early a.m. and just returned from the after party for the 2006 Drama Desk Awards. They always say an actor is only as good as his material. Well, I believe that. So I should have had our book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice write my acceptance speech for the Outstanding Actor award I won tonight because I forgot to thank them. Marshall and Rick wrote one of the best roles I’ve ever played, and the book for JERSEY BOYS is, hands down, the reason the show works so beautifully. So, thank you, Marshall and Rick.
Fran Drescher, pictured with me at left, presented me with my Drama Desk Award.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Tonight are the Drama Desk Awards. JERSEY BOYS is nominated for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical (Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman), Outstanding Director of a Musical (Des McAnuff), Outstanding Choreography (Sergio Trujillo), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical (John Lloyd Young), two for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Christian Hoff and Daniel Reichard), and Outstanding Sound Design (Steve Canyon Kennedy). Good luck to everybody, tonight!
I’d always heard of the almost mythic influence Bill Clinton wields over the people around him, but his visit to JERSEY BOYS this past Wednesday was simply uncanny.
Broadwayworld.com has posted an interview with me from the morning of the Tony nominations. [Click here] to read the interview.
“The real thrill of the smash hit, ‘Jersey Boys’ lies not in the mimetic rendering of old Four Seasons songs, but in the sheen of conviction exuded by John Lloyd Young, the young actor playing Frankie Valli. His performance turns what might have been karaoke imitation numbers into personal cris de coeur, and it rips through the synthetic fabric of a by-the-numbers biomusical.”
Ben Brantley discussing JERSEY BOYS in today’s New York Times
Friday, May 19, 2006
Yesterday was the New Dramatists Annual Gala Luncheon. This year Chita Rivera was the honoree. New Dramatists’ Artistic Director Todd London said some beautiful words to honor Chita Rivera, as did her close friend, composer, Fred Ebb. New Dramatist, and eloquent, poetic playwright Dominic Taylor was honored with an award that will send him on a trip to Antarctica! He and I chatted with mutual friend playwright Deb Baley Brevoort and realized all three of us had the common connection of having attended Brown University. Congrats to Dominic on his upcoming adventure. There were performances by Daphne Rubin Vega and a magnetic Ben Vereen. Had fun meeting my neighbors from around the block from THE COLOR PURPLE, fellow Tony nominees, LaChanze, Brandon Victor Dixon, Brenda Russell and Allee Willis.
Also chatted with fellow Brown alum and Tony nominee, Kate Burton, friend Laura Flanagan, friend and playwright Julia Jordan (who was there with her new baby boy!), as well as buddy Dr. Barry Kohn, Marian Seldes, Joe Stein, Susan Birkenhead, Sheldon Harnick, Joyce Randolph, Jamie DeRoy, Michael Cerveris, Ron and Lynn Cohen and others. It was a very fun event, honoring a very accomplished woman. I was proud to be there and excited to be in such great company.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
A glimpse into yesterday’s eventful day…
morning… noon… night…
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Thank you to all the friends, family and fans who have called or e-mailed to congratulate me on my Tony nomination. It truly means so much to me to have heard from all of you. Keep watching the blog for updates on all the exciting events leading up to the big day, June 11th!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Another great day for JERSEY BOYS. The 2006 Tony Awards nominations were announced this morning, and JERSEY BOYS received 8:
Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice), Best Performance by a Leading Actor (John Lloyd Young), Best Performance by a Featured Actor (Christian Hoff), Best Direction (Des McAnuff), Best Orchestrations (Steve Orich), Best Scenic Design (Klara Zieglerova), Best Lighting Design (Howell Binkley). Congratulations to everybody at JERSEY BOYS and to all the other nominees.
The Tony Awards will be held on Sunday, June 11th at Radio City Music Hall and will be broadcast on CBS.
Last night I performed “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” at a benefit for Safe Space. And later, the entire cast of JERSEY BOYS closed out the performances at the Annual Gala Benefit for Manhattan Theater Club at the New York Hilton Ballroom.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Congratulations to the whole JERSEY BOYS family on our 2006 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Broadway Musical as well as to JERSEY BOYS lighting designer, Howell Binkley, for his award for Outstanding Lighting Design. And thank you very much to the Outer Critics Circle for recognizing me with the Outstanding Lead Actor award. A warm thank you to my fellow JERSEY BOYS, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer for being such strong, dedicated and capable teammates. Congratulations, too, to all the other Outer Critics Circle Award winners from shows this season, on and off-Broadway. An awards ceremony will be held Thursday, May 25th at New York’s famous Sardi’s Restaurant.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Thanks to the Theatre World Awards for choosing me as one of their 2006 recipients. Six male and six female recipients are chosen each year, honored for a breakout performance in a major New York debut. An invitation-only awards ceremony will take place on June 6th at New York’s STUDIO 54. Congratulations to all the winners. Here’s the complete list: Harry Connick, Jr. (The Pajama Game), Felicia P. Fields (The Color Purple), Maria Friedman (The Woman in White), Richard Griffiths (The History Boys), Mamie Gummer (Mr. Marmalade), Jayne Houdyshell (Well), Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), Ian McDiarmid (Faith Healer), Nellie McKay (The Threepenny Opera), David Wilmot (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Elisabeth Withers-Mendes (The Color Purple), John Lloyd Young (Jersey Boys). www.theatreworldawards.org
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Thanks to JERSEY BOYS fans Ariana and her mom, Joan, winners of the third lunch I auctioned for [Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS] and The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative. We enjoyed lunch at the theatre district’s Rino Trattoria, near the August Wilson Theatre, where JERSEY BOYS plays. Ariana and her mom brought along family friend, Clay, also known as Mrs. Charlie Calello! (music arranger Calello was a long-time member of the Four Seasons) I’ll post photos when I have them.
Tonight was Broadwayworld.com’s third anniversary party at Tony’s DiNapoli Restaurant. Had fun visiting with Alison Franck, JERSEY BOYS’ Daniel Reichard and Christian Hoff, Jamie McGonnigal, Ben Toth, Isaac Robert Hurwitz, Ryan Davis, Jeff Marx, Richard Ridge, Michael Cerveris, Matt Cavenaugh, Julie Garnier, Broadwayworld.com’s Robert Diamond, Craig Brockman, Linda Lenzi, Ben Strothman, Walter McBride and others. [Click for photos].
Last night, attended the opening night party of Broadway’s TARZAN, after our performance of JERSEY BOYS, along with J. Robert Spencer, Christian Hoff and Daniel Reichard. Here are photos from [Broadway.com] from TARZAN’s opening night and party, including one where we JERSEY BOYS truly “go ape!”
Monday, May 8, 2006
Today was a busy “day off” for JERSEY BOYS. The four of us performed at The New York Pops Gala at Carnegie Hall. We also performed at [The Actors’ Fund of America]‘s Annual Gala honoring Jujamcyn Theatres President, Rocco Landesman, at Cipriani.
Photos from the Actors’ Fund Gala, including the one to the left, are available at [Broadwayworld.com].
Thank you to the two busloads of friends, fans and family who all came from Schuyler, New York and other western New York towns this past weekend to see JERSEY BOYS!
Friday, May 5, 2006
What a great day for JERSEY BOYS. The Drama League Awards honored JERSEY BOYS with the award for Distinguished Production of a Musical. The play award went to THE HISTORY BOYS, play revival went to AWAKE AND SING, and musical revival went to SWEENEY TODD. Theatre veteran Christine Ebersole won the performance honor for GREY GARDENS. (Incidentally, Ebersole was in two of my all-time favorite films, TOOTSIE and AMADEUS). Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer and I were there along with director, Des McAnuff, producers Michael David and Lauren Mitchell, and writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.
Congrats to all involved with JERSEY BOYS and to the rest of the winners.
Photos are available at [Broadwayworld.com].
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Thanks to Plattsburgh High School’s Joy Demarse and company for attending JERSEY BOYS, today. Joy brought a student bus group of fifty from Plattsburgh, New York, where I graduated high school. Joy directed me as “Jack” in BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS back when I was a P.H.S. student.
Earlier in the morning, we had a photo shoot outside JERSEY BOYS’ theatre with our friend and original Four Season, songwriter and producer Bob Gaudio. Here’s a candid from our shoot:
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Happy birthday, today, to dear friend and mentor, Theo Bikel, and tomorrow, May 3rd, to a new important friend and mentor, Frankie Valli.
Charlie Siedenburg was along with me, today, as I was doing some work for the [Actors’ Fund of America] at the Channel 13 WNET studios. On our way out, we ran into theatre legend, Zoe Caldwell. After introducing myself to Caldwell, she complimented JERSEY BOYS. She called it “criminally good.” Looks like JERSEY BOYS has the Zoe Caldwell seal of approval (she certainly has mine)! Afterward we had lunch with my good friend, stage manager and director Emily Wells.
Had fun later in the day picking up my Drama Desk Awards nomination certificate at a cocktail reception for the 2006 Drama Desk Awards nominees. Congratulations to my friend, Leslie Kritzer, who picked up a nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL. Cavorted with fellow JERSEY BOYS nominees Daniel Reichard and bookwriter Marshall Brickman, as well as SWEENEY’s Alex Gemignani, THE WEDDING SINGER’s Stephen Lynch and lead producer Margo Lion, some of the HISTORY BOYS, friend Rich Topol who’s honored with the ensemble cast of AWAKE AND SING and met fellow lead actor nominee Harry Connick, Jr. (of THE PAJAMA GAME). Enjoyed visiting, too, with Paper Mill Playhouse’s Angelo Del Rossi. Leslie Kritzer and I both had early triumphs onstage at Paper Mill, so it was especially nice to be able to visit with Del Rossi on this prestigious occasion for the two of us Paper Mill alumni.
Monday, May 1, 2006
Had the second of five auctioned lunches with a JERSEY BOYS fan last week. This one was with Gene Singer, CPA and Lieutenant with the NYC Auxiliary Police. Visited with his wife, Pat, over the phone. Gene and Pat are die-hard JERSEY BOYS fans, having seen the show five times already! We enjoyed our lunch at the theatre district’s Puleo’s Restaurant, who graciously donated our meal to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative.
With the first real week of spring weather upon us, I allowed myself for the first time since JERSEY BOYS opened to venture out after the show both Thursday and Saturday and Sunday nights with friends including Christian Hoff, Becca Ayers, Scott Denny, Valerie Phillips, Alison Franck and Sammy Buck to the theatre district’s Bar Centrale. Ran into friends Roy Miller (producer of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE) and Heather Hawkins, ran into SWEENEY’s Michael Cerveris, as well as Jamie McGonnigal and Laura Benanti, fresh from THE WEDDING SINGER’s opening night party.
Outside, visited with FESTEN’s Ali McGraw whom I thanked for the very kind backstage note she sent our cast after she saw JERSEY BOYS. The lesson: there’s a lot going on out there, which I’ve been missing for months, rushing home every night to rest for the next day of JERSEY BOYS! (And: Happy Birthday to JERSEY BOYS stage manager, Michael Clarkston, who had a party Saturday night at 10th Avenue’s 44 1/2.)
We were all overjoyed to meet original Four Seasons member, Joe Long, Friday night at JERSEY BOYS. Joe came backstage afterward to meet JERSEY BOYS’ “Joe Long,” Steve Gouveia, and the rest of the cast.
Tonight is the gala opening of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, which I am excited to attend with Alison Franck. Congrats, in advance, to friend, Producer Roy Miller on his show’s opening night. I reported here on the blog years ago (!) how much I enjoyed the abbreviated presentation of the show I saw at the National Alliance of Musical Theatre in its earlier stages, and now, lo and behold, here it is opening on Broadway. Congrats, Roy (and see you tonight!)