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Stage Rights' 'Jersey Boys' Find Harmony With Broadway Actor

Stage Rights' 'Jersey Boys' Find Harmony With Broadway Actor

 


A little piece of Broadway is coming to Greensburg.

Russell Fischer, who first starred as young Joe Pesci on Broadway in “Jersey Boys,” will star in Stage Right's upcoming rendition of the award-winning jukebox musical — this time as lead singer Frankie Valli.

The show, scheduled at the Palace Theater in Greensburg on April 26 and 27, traces the history and musical journey of the 1960s pop group, The Four Seasons. Local actors Vinnie Tresco, Anthony Massetto and Rob Jessup will play the other three members of the group.

For Fischer, a New Jersey native who last starred on the show a decade ago, returning to “Jersey Boys” is a trip down memory lane. His Broadway debut came with “Jersey Boys,” landing the role of Pesci on his 22nd birthday.

“When you've been doing a show for that long, it's ingrained in your heart and soul. My love for this series has not diminished,” Fischer said. “I grew up listening to this music because my parents insisted that we listen to the local radio station that played this music. Just having the opportunity to sing this music is so wonderful.

Christopher McAllister, artistic and educational director of Stage Right, is musical director of “Jersey Boys.” According to McAllister, the theater met Fischer through a mutual connection with executive director Anastasia Robinson.

Working with Fischer has been comfortable, McAllister said.

“With the level of talent and professionalism and the things that are in the room at Stage Right with the actors based in Greensburg and Pittsburgh, there's a heightened sense of importance, because it's a great show, but for the most part, it’s sort of business as usual,” he said.

“Russell is really great to have in the room, and it’s really cool to see him interact with everyone on the show.”

Laura Wurzell, who directs the show, describes “Jersey Boys” as “a memory game first and a musical game second.”

“You're going to get four different people's perspectives on how this whole thing happened,” she said, noting that the story follows a structure inspired by the real-life four seasons. “Someone talks about the beginning of the band, someone talks about the peak or summer of the band, and Frankie Valli ends with winter.”

Although some younger audiences may not be as familiar with the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, she expects many audience members to leave the theater with a new earworm and an appreciation for the people behind it. popular music.

“The vocals and the music, you may not find yourself humming the music and singing the songs when you leave rehearsal,” she said.

Back to history

During his six years with the Broadway company for “Jersey Boys,” Fischer served as an understudy for the role of Frankie Valli.

At one point he performed Act 1 of the show as Pesci and Act 2 as Valli. Another time, after leaving the company, he returned at short notice to replace Valli when a number of other artists were ill.

“I saw the show Tuesday night, got through all my hang-ups, and then continued the next day as Frankie at the Wednesday matinee,” he said. “My history with the series is long and deep.”

Fischer previously performed in Pittsburgh with his singing group, The Doo-Wop Project, when they collaborated with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

“It’s nice to be back in the area,” he said. “It's been really cool to collaborate with a team that builds the show from the bottom up, and we're all invested in building the show together, and it's cool to see a show from a different perspective than I'm from. also used to it.”

While working with the rest of the cast, Fischer became emotional several times, he said. When the ensemble recently made its first performance with its live musical accompaniment, it recalled all the cues and underlinings from previous performances.

“There was a moment during rehearsals where it was the first time all four of us were in the room together, and we happened to come across the scene where the Four Seasons are singing together for the first time” , did he declare. “There was this meta moment, a moment of synchronicity, where the scene met what was happening in real life.

“It’s really miraculous how it all comes back, how it all comes back.”

“Jersey Boys” will run at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Palace Theatere, 21 W. Otterman St., downtown Greensburg. Tickets range from $16 to $42, with a $10 student ticket available the day of the show at the box office. Tickets can be purchased at www.stagerightgreensburg.com/shows or by calling 724-836-8000.

Julia Maruca is a TribLive reporter covering health and the Greensburg and Hempfield areas. She joined the Trib in 2022 after working at the Butler Eagle covering southwest Butler County. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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