The critically acclaimed musical Jersey Boys is set to move from stage to screen when it is released in UK cinemas later this month. The true life story of the popular America singing group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons charts their journey from the gritty streets of New Jersey to top of the music charts, all set to a selection of their greatest hit songs in true jukebox musical style. The highly anticipated film adaption is directed by Clint Eastwood and, unusually, it is the stage performers who have taken the starring roles.
Most stage-to-screen films tend to favour casting the big-name Hollywood actors, but with a few exceptions such as Cristopher Walken in the supporting role of mobster Gyp DeCarlo and Vincent Piazzo as band member Tommy DeVito, most of the main cast slots have gone to theatre performers who have been involved in one of the several stage productions of Jersey Boys. It’s gratifying to see those in the industry recognised in such a wonderful way, as any theatregoer who has witnessed a musical theatre actor bring a role to life on the stage knows just how talented they are. The West End production of Jersey Boys is no exception.
With the film version about to hit the big screen, interest in the stage musical is likely to soar just as it did with Les Miserables. Anyone who is inspired by the film to go and see it on stage at the Piccadilly Theatre will surely not be disappointed as the current company of the show are a truly sublime bunch of performers. Michael Watson, Edd Post, Jon Boydon and Matt Nalton lead the cast, which also happens to include an original cast member who has recently returned to the show – and now makes his In Profile debut as this week’s featured ensemble member.
Graham Vick is an acclaimed stage performer who has earned an international reputation of excellence through his work on the stage. The Canadian-born actor was classically trained in his home country and he made his earliest professional appearances in such productions as Die Fledermans, The Merry Widow and Nabucco, before making the move into the musical theatre genre. His Canadian musical theatre roles include playing Frankie and Sparky in two productions of Forever Plaid (Toronto and Brockville), Ritchie Valens in Buddy and Sonny LaTierri in Grease, in addition to originating the role of Donny Dolce in Second City Toronto’s production of Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding.
Since leaving his native Canada and coming here, he has proven himself to be a valuable addition to the UK theatre scene. He has performed on numerous UK tours and been involved in productions both in and out of the West End.
One of his first appearances in the West End saw him take on an ensemble role in the hit ABBA musical Mamma Mia!. He performed in the company at the Prince of Wales Theatre where he also covered the principal roles of Sam and Bill. While still part of the show, he took a little time to appear in a semi-staged production of the light operetta The Maid of the Mountains. Presented at the Finborough Theatre, he played the role of Baldasarre in the show which had a limited run of just a few performances in December 2006.
He has performed on many West End stages in various musical productions there. He was in the cast of the brand new musical The Far Pavilions, which was based on the original novel by M. M. Kaye. The world premiere of the musical was staged at the Shaftesbury Theatre and was relatively well received by critics. In a cast which starred such names as Hadley Fraser, Dianne Pilkington, Jez Unwin, Caroline Keif, Clare Foster and Simon Gleeson, he was 1st cover to the leading role of Harkness in the show, played by original Les Miserables cast member David Burt (Enjolras).
His other West End credits include ensemble roles in such popular shows as Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, where he understudied the role of Bernadette in the Palace Theatre’s previous award-winning musical. Most recently, he appeared in the West End transfer of Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre where he played Concierge/Florist/Head Writer in the ensemble and was 1st cover to the role of Horace.
In addition to his West End roles, he has performed in a season of Rep theatre in Scotland where he portrayed such roles as Freddie Fellowes in Noises Off, Carl in Bus Stop, Sir Robert Chiltern in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband and Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate. He also played a season at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s Southbank in 2009. During that time, he was involved in a production of Romeo and Juliet where he performed in the chorus and also played Abraham and The Apothecary, and appeared in a Frank McGuiness adaption of Euripede’s Helen.
He has also been part of several UK tours. He played the role of Bone in the UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind and covered the role of Keith in Spend Spend Spend. He also travelled with the Reduced Shakespeare Company for their touring production of All the Great Books, playing Coach and Professor in the show.
Now he can currently be found at the Piccadilly Theatre in acclaimed West End musical Jersey Boys. This is his second appearance in the show, having previously performed as a member of the original London cast when it first opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2008. Six years later and it’s the same show just a different stage, since it recently moved to make way for the revival of Miss Saigon. He appears on stage as mobster Gyp DeCarlo (among others), the role which is portrayed in the upcoming film by Hollywood actor Christopher Walken.
Graham Vick has accrued an extensive list of theatre credits during the course of his career. His impressive vocals, his stage presence and complete commitment to his roles have made him a name to remember and one which will hopefully be heard in the West End for many more years to come.
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 14th June 2014