Jersey Boys Director McAnuff Describes Journey Into Valli of Decision

Tony Awards   Jersey Boys Director McAnuff Describes Journey Into Valli of Decision
Finding someone who can sing in the dramatic falsetto style of Four Seasons front man Frankie Valli would seem like a tall order. Finding someone who can sing that way eight times a week would seem nigh impossible. But, as Tony Award-nominated Jersey Boys director Des McAnuff relates, the search for the right man wasn't as difficult as it might have been.

Des McAnuff
Des McAnuff Photo by Aubrey Reuben

"When we first started the project," said McAnuff at a recent gathering for Tony nominees, "there was concern initially as we structured the songs and put everything together, of how much of a load we should put on the character of Frankie Valli. We broke it up a little bit, but he still sings 25 songs or whatever over the course of the night. "We had a wonderful actor in California named David Noroña, who got a remarkable amount of attention. He stayed in California for personal reasons; his family's there and he's got a strong television career. And people said, 'How are you going to do this without him?'"

The first name that occurred to him was that of John Lloyd Young, who had been runner-up for the Valli role. "So now Young steps up and he's getting the accolades."

McAnuff's not worried should more Vallis be needed in the future. (A national tour is planned.) "We have two young guys in the company who understudy the role. The audience stills leaps to their feet when they're on. So, it's not a cinch to cast the part, but they're out there."

The director said that a London production of Jersey Boys is also a distinct possibility. "We've talked about it. It's not within the immediate future, but I'd hope within a couple of years that's something that will happen."

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