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For John Lloyd Young, playing Frankie Valli in "Jersey Boys" on Broadway has been the role of a lifetime.
By the time Clint Eastwood walked into the theater to scout him out for his film adaptation of the show, Young had already performed as Valli more than 1,300 times.
Now, he's taken the role to the big screen, playing Frankie Valli in the "Jersey Boys" movie, which opens Friday across the country.
Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks to John Lloyd Young about taking the story from the stage to the screen.
On portraying Frankie Valli on stage and screen
"I love the character, it's a really fun show to play. But when you get to know a character so well, you start to have insights that you can't show because you're confined to your script of your hit show. And when the movie happened, suddenly, I was so excited because I knew I'd be able to let some of those insights out to play in a new medium and with a little bit different script, and also, just — Clint, I knew, would let us do a lot of improv. So I could let my character breathe in a way that he hadn't been able to for those few years on Broadway."
On his rise to fame
"Things are looking pretty nice right now. But, you know, it hasn't been without struggle, and it's funny — Frankie Valli's story and that advice that he was just getting from, you know, Christopher Walken's character, is very true for someone who's in a creative field. You just have to be patient and keep working and have faith. And I just feel so, so honored and privileged, because I was a Hollywood musical fan as a kid, and I know how rare it is for someone who originates the Broadway role to get to then do it on screen. And I know, for me, you know, my generation — I never would have known anything about Robert Preston's performance in 'The Music Man' if there hadn't been a film where he played the part. I just heard how great he was on Broadway way before my time. So I'm kind of happy to know there may be some kid or teenager now who might never have had the chance to see my Broadway performance, but gets a taste for what it might have been like now, because they can see Clint Eastwood's film."
On singing and speaking in Frankie Valli's distinct voice
"I definitely worked really hard to evoke Frankie Valli, but not do a strict imitation, because I feel that a strict imitation is not as compelling to watch."
"I have an album that just came out on iTunes, it's called 'My Turn' and it's '60s R&B with my voice. The way that I actually sing is different. With Frankie, it's — Frankie's voice is clearly very unique, but also, his speaking voice is different from my own, as you can hear now. You know, I don't have a Jersey dialect. So when I approached the singing, I approached it the same way as an actor I approach a dialect, just as a singer. I approach the singing kind of like with dialect thoughts in my mind. I have to sound like this on certain things to give that Frankie Valli flavor."
This segment aired on June 20, 2014.
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