As Frankie Valli once said, “Family is everything!” Olivia Valli, granddaughter of legendary Four Seasons lead singer Frankie Valli, has now stepped into the role based on her true grandmother, Mary Mandel in “Jersey Boys.” The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning musical Jersey Boys is currently playing off-Broadway at New York City’s New World Stages at 340 West 50th Street. This is believed to be the first time that an actor or actress has ever been cast as their own relative in a Broadway or off-Broadway musical before.
“I love honoring my family eight times a week doing what I love,” said Olivia Valli. “I’m absolutely honored to joining such an incredible cast. Everyone is so wonderful and insanely talented. To know I am performing on stage with them is really something special.”
The name Frankie Valli is often associated with his unique voice, which propelled him to stardom, as well as the huge Broadway hit “Jersey Boys” that was based on his life. He may be a member of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and a living legend, but to Olivia, he is grandpa.
Olivia grew up in Caldwell, New Jersey and graduated from Montclair State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre. Music and performing clearly runs in the family’s blood.
As Olivia progressed through the early stages of her career, she has always been close to her grandfather, she regrets that even at his age, his busy schedule prevents them from seeing each other as often as they would like, but when they do get together, music provides an unbreakable bond, often singing duets together.
In playing Mary Delgado (the name of Olivia’s grandmother in the play), she is establishing a first in the show-tune world. Her previous theater credits include the national tour of “Wicked” and Olivia recently completed two solo shows at Feinsteins/54 Below in New York City. Other credits include The Three Penny Opera and Wendy’s Shadow.
Olivia’s grandfather was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio. One of his early favorite singers was “Texas” Jean Valli, from whom he adopted his stage name.
Known for his unique falsetto voice, Valli scored 29 Top 40 hits with The Four Seasons and nine Top 40 hits as a solo artist. As a member of The Four Seasons, Valli’s number-one hits included “Sherry” (1962), “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (1962), “Walk Like a Man” (1963), “Rag Doll” (1964) and “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” (1975). As a solo artist, Valli scored number-one hits with the songs “My Eyes Adored You” (1974) and “Grease” (1978).
In 2005, the musical Jersey Boys opened on Broadway. The musical garnered six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. After its tremendous success, it now has touring companies around the world and it is estimated that over 25 million people have seen its performances. Described as one of the finest talents to ever emerge from Montclair University’s Musical Theatre program, Olivia hopes to make it to Broadway one day and bring her own talents to the forefront, as this Jersey Girl joins the Jersey Boys.