'Jersey Boys' John Lloyd Young Is Your New Favorite Theater Turned Movie Star (Sorry, Jonathan Groff)
Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of Jersey Boys comes out on Friday, June 20 and while you might know it was originally a hit Broadway musical, you probably don't know much about the film's stars. Jersey Boys stars John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli and follows the story of his music group, The Four Seasons, in the 1960s. The reason you likely don't recognize Young or his costars — well, other than Christopher Walken — is because most of them aren't film stars but rather theatre actors who performed in various stage versions of Jersey Boys. Erich Bergen and Michael Lomenda both toured with a Jersey Boys production and John Lloyd Young, specifically, has seen a lot of success from Jersey Boys, so if you see the movie and really think he nails Frankie Valli, there's a good reason why.
Young was the first person to play Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys when it opened on Broadway in 2005. He performed in the show its first two years, later reprising his role in 2012 after getting cast in the film version. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Young explained,
I did the first two years, and then after several years away, I was asked back to do it, and so I did for a few months at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013, and that's when Clint came and saw it. And I just did it again in London after we wrapped the movie. They asked me to do six weeks in London.
In 2006, for his role in the Broadway production, Young won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World awards for lead actor "becoming the only American actor in history to win all four leading actor awards for a Broadway debut." So... yeah, he's really good at playing Frankie Valli. In addition, he sings on the Grammy Award winning Jersey Boys Original Cast Album.
In 2013 Young was appointed by Barack Obama to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Young has also performed in Les Miserables at the Hollywood Bowl, in numerous plays in the New York City theater scene, and appeared on Glee and Law and Order, the latter because every single actor is required to appear on at least one episode of the franchise. It's a career requirement.
Now that you know a little more about its star, maybe you'll feel more inclined to see Jersey Boys. It hasn't gotten a ton of press, so maybe hearing that John Lloyd Young could be well on his way to an EGOT will get you in line for a ticket.