Since winning the Tony Award for Best Musical, “Jersey Boys” has been one of the hottest tickets both on Broadway and now with a popular touring version that is currently playing at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.
While audiences go for the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, they also learn the compelling story behind the original boy band and are introduced, whether they realize it or not, to the self-identified bisexual man behind the scenes.
Broadway veteran Jonathan Hadley nearly steals the show as Bob Crewe, “the fifth Season.”
“As many people now, Bob Crewe was the fifth Season because of his role as lyricist, manager and producer. He really was more influential than people realize in creating their distinctive sound,” Hadley explains. “He wrote most of the lyrics for their hit songs, as well as other popular songs, like ‘Lady Marmalade’. And I just heard a new version of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You’. His influence on the industry is still around today.”
According to Hadley, who played Crewe in the Broadway production before going on the road, Crewe has admitted in his writing to being bisexual, but at the time, the band members really didn’t notice.
“The Four Seasons have said they thought he was a little bit odd, the way Liberace was ‘theatrical’,” Hadley chuckles. “It didn’t seem to be an issue for these street thugs, basically, who accept this flamboyant man who shakes them up and becomes a part of them.”
In creating the role, Hadley conversed with Crewe via email and did extensive research, while keeping the character as true as possible within the context of the script the writers gave him.
He adds, “They’ve given me enough in just the words and the way he is costumed, that the audience can make their own decisions about his sexuality.”
The 45-year-old actor considers himself lucky to be performing with such a big hit musical. The show generally stays in cities for longer durations and nearly every performance is sold out.
“This really is a guy’s show,” he observes, “unlike most musicals. Wives drag their husbands to other musicals, but it’s the men who are the first to leap to their feet. It’s a guy kind of show. These men come up after each performance and tell us how much they enjoyed it. The audiences love it, gay and straight. As an actor, it’s so fulfilling to be part of such a hit show. I feel so lucky to have the part.”
Crewe and his cast mates will be thrilling audiences in West Palm Beach for two more weeks before taking the show to Charlotte.
Kravis Center for the
Box Office: 561-832-7469