Some people have scrap books or photo albums as a time stamp for their memories, but not Bob Gaudio. He gets to watch part of his life played out in the large-scale musical production “Jersey Boys.”
“To see the show in Vegas in a fantastic theater is really a big thrill. As the show states we’ve had our ups and downs so this is a big up,” said Gaudio.
The Tony-award winning show has played in various locations and celebrated its second anniversary in Vegas on April 24, 2010 at the Palazzo. For Gaudio, seeing the show is both a flashback and a thrill.
“It’s a surreal experience to say the least, and sometimes I feel like my life is flashing before me. It would be a smart thing to have an ambulance outside just in case or to travel with an EMT or something,” said Gaudio.
He started his music career when he was just 15 and co-wrote his first hit “Who Wears Short Shorts.” Soon afterwards he met up with Valli and became one of the founding members of the Four Seasons. His song “Sherry” was the first of many hits including “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll” and “Who Loves You.”
People who watch the show may be surprised to find how many hits songs are the result of Gaudio’s ability as a songwriter. Aside from the Four Seasons he also worked with many other famous names in music including Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson and Barry Manilow. In 1995 he was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Yet, with all this under his belt he says that there’s no magic ingredient for creating hit music other than just being yourself and doing what you like.
“When we were making records… We just did what we felt good about, what turned us on. Fortunately 40, 50 years later here it’s still turning people on. I can’t tell you I’m playing [those songs] every night but it’s nice to know someone’s listening,” said Gaudio.
And people are listening – just ask Australian Peter Saide who performs as Gaudio in the Vegas production of “Jersey Boys.” Before this he performed internationally but had yet to make his U.S. debut until now.
“In Australia when I was growing up all of this music was there, and it’s just amazing to me to be playing someone who was integral in the creation of a new style of music at that time. Bob created what we now know as a power ballad or a torch song. He created that with ‘Can’t take my Eyes Off You.’ He did all of these things and for someone who was not enormously well known in the public before this show he achieved, has achieved and continues to achieve so much, and it’s endlessly interesting to me to be learning about this guy,” said Saide.
Not only did Saide have to learn about Gaudio for his role but has also had to learn to speak like him, a skill he credits to an amazing dialect coach, Stephen Gabis.
“He sat with me and took my acceptable but kind of poor Jersey accent and turned it into a genuine Jersey accent so no one can tell the difference when I’m on stage. So far we’ve managed to fool everyone,” said Saide.
Saide credits the success of “Jersey Boys” to the music and the integrity and passion that the creators had for the story when they were putting the show together.
“It’s amazing that that same drive that you see between Frankie and Bob during their time with the Four Seasons continues on today and helped create the musical ‘Jersey Boys.’ It’s life imitating art, it’s art imitating itself,” said Saide.