Miles Jacoby’s job in “Jersey Boys” sounds intimidating: He plays living legend Bob Gaudio, a member of the Four Seasons, and the songwriter behind the band’s many hits.
“It’s a responsibility,” says Jacoby. “Every night I have to remind myself that this guy is real. This is not just some story and some character, but someone’s life. He and Frankie and these guys put it all out there.”
The Frankie in question is Frankie Valli, and “Jersey Boys” tells the story of the band’s progression from blue-collar kids to pop superstars in the ’60s and ’70s, revealing all the hardship that came with such success — the money problems, the love affairs and the battles between members.
Jacoby got to meet Gaudio in-person before filling his shoes on stage. The hall-of-famer gave some advice.
“He said ‘Approach these songs as a songwriter. Don’t perform them from the outside in, because you wrote them. They’re more personal to you,’” recalls Jacoby.
Gaudio wrote almost all of the group’s famous songs, including “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” One of Jacoby’s favorite moments in the musical occurs when The Four Seasons perform those “big three.”
“The play has been going on for almost 40 minutes before we sing a Four Seasons song and we can hear people just chomping at the bit,” he says. “We explode these songs out there and it’s one of the most energetic, exciting moments I’ve ever had on stage.”
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Jacoby, a Wellesley native, grew up watching shows at Boston’s Colonial Theatre — the same stage where he’ll perform “Jersey Boys.”
“It doesn’t feel real,” he says. “I still can’t believe I get to come play my hometown and at the theater that made me fall in love with musical theater.”
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