He was just 11 years old when his parents sent him off to a sports-focused overnight camp that little Brad Weinstock didn’t particularly like.
“I’m sure they had good intentions, but I was never very good at sports. But one day, the camp decided to put on The Wizard of Oz, and a counselor suggested I try out for a role. I did. They told me I had a pretty good voice, and gave me the part of the Tin Man,” said Weinstock.
It was a decision that would ultimately change his life.
“The very next summer, my parents sent me to a performing arts camp, and ever since then, I realized I wanted to be a performer,” said Weinstock, who’s appearing as the one and only Frankie Valli in the multi award-winning show, Jersey Boys, on stage at the Forrest Theatre through Jan. 14.
Jersey Boys is the story of Valli and The Four Seasons. It’s the tale of a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks who became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time.
They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds, and sold 175 million records worldwide — all before they were 30. They were true performers in every sense of the word.
An energetic and powerful musical biography of the Four Seasons — the rise, the tough times, personal clashes and the ultimate triumph of a group of friends whose music became symbolic of a generation — the show features such songs as December 1963 (Oh, What A Night), Working My Way Back to You, Who Loves You, Sherry and many others.
And of course, said Weinstock, “Once the music starts for Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, even before anyone starts to sing, the applause is deafening and many audience members are up on their feet.”
Weinstock, 27, has appeared in the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys and comes directly from that production to this second national tour.
“In Vegas I understudied in the Frankie role, but now to have a chance to do it all the way and every single night is a totally different feeling. I first saw the show when I was a junior in college. To do it now, for me, is like a dream come true,” Weinstock said.
Previously, Weinstock appeared in the national tour of Wicked, the original Chicago cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and several regional favorites including Sweeney Todd and Shenandoah.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Weinstock noted that even though it was his parents’ generation who grew up with this music, today, fans of all ages relate to Valli, The Four Seasons and most definitely the music.
“I didn’t have a hard time relating to Valli, which is something you really have to do in order to get into the role,” Weinstock explained. “The story is really about Frankie’s love for his family and the family he traveled with. And in order to stay sane in a national tour such as this, you have to be able to do the same thing or you’d go crazy on the road. You need that love in order to perform — from your actual family to the non-conventional family you travel and work with.”
A Jersey boy himself, Weinstock said playing so close to home is wonderful.
“It’s almost like the high school reunion I never had,” he said.
Recently, he added, a whole busload of people from his hometown came to see the show.
“Sometimes,” he added, “performing for friends and family — like your close friends, your high school drama teacher and your parents — makes doing the show even more exciting. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be especially ‘on’ or good that night. But, in truth, I love each and every night I get to do this show.” ••
For show times and ticket information, call 1-800-447-7400.