By Michael Nichols and Lydia Baxter
Blending smooth vocal harmonies with powerful solos, FST’s Summer Cabaret, Who Loves You: Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli and Beyond, celebrates one of the most successful acts in music history. A feel-good show from beginning to end, Who Loves You takes the memorable songs of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and performs them in a new, captivating way.
“Who Loves You is more than just a tribute,” says FST Associate Artist Catherine Randazzo. “It offers the listener a chance to enjoy the songs they know and love and hear the influence doo-wop had on Frankie Valli and his music.” Randazzo is excited to see how Who Loves You interprets The Four Seasons’ top hits, like “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Workin’ My Way Back to You,” and “Rag Doll.”
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons sold more than 100 million records over the course of their nearly 40-year music career. They are the longest-lived and most acclaimed white doo-wop group, and are the only American band—besides The Beach Boys—that maintained major music chart success before, during, and after the British Invasion. In 1964 alone, the group released six songs that made the Top 20 on the charts.
How did they weather Beatlemania and the changing musical landscape? For one thing, they had something that no other group had: Frankie Valli’s legendary falsetto voice. When you listen to Valli hit those high notes in songs like “Sherry” or “Walk Like a Man,” it’s easy to hear why he is still able to sell out concert halls today.
The cast of Who Loves You has nothing but praise for Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of them and the entire genre of doo-wop,” shared Peter Romagna, who sings baritone in Who Loves You. “I have my parents to thank for that. Frankie was featured quite a bit in the music that played around my house.”
Romagna will be joined onstage by four other FST newcomers—Mick Bleyer, Tom Costello, Charlie Levy, and Michael Maricondi.
Like Romagna, first tenor Levy also has his parents to thank for his love of The Four Seasons. Almost everyone in his family is a musician, so he was introduced to an “expansive and eclectic” musical library from an early age. Costello, the show’s Music Director, absolutely loves “My Eyes Adored You,” and is excited by the challenge of honoring Frankie’s voice without imitating it. Michael Maricondi jokes that because of Who Loves You and his talented fellow cast members, he’s been able to cross “Sing your parents’ favorite music live with incredible singers” off his bucket list.
In addition to hits by The Four Seasons like “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” and “Dawn,” Who Loves You also features music by some of the top artists of the ‘50s and ‘60s, like Bobby Darin, The Mamas and The Papas, and The Foundations.
“You’re able to hear how all these different musicians influenced each other,” shared Randazzo. “When you hear the tight harmonies in songs like The Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations,’ you can’t help but be reminded of the signature style of the The Four Seasons.”
Who Loves You: Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli and Beyond played from September 3 - October 19, 2019 in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret.