Pop star turned musical theatre performer Jon Lee is to take on the role of Frankie Valli in hit musical Jersey Boys from 15 March, alternating the part with current incumbent Ryan Molloy.
Lee achieved chart-topping fame as part of pop outfit S Club 7 in the late 1990s, having begun performing as a teenager, playing the title role in Oliver at the London Palladium when he was 13. After S Club 7 disbanded, Lee returned to musical theatre, appearing in West End productions of Les Misérables and Fame. He most recently starred alongside Julie Atherton in Tomorrow Morning at the tiny Landor theatre in South London, and performed as part of the Les Mis 25th birthday concert at the O2 Arena.
Commenting on his casting in Jersey Boys, Lee said, “I’m so excited to be playing the role of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, it’s been a goal of mine since the show opened. Ryan is exceptional in the show and I feel lucky to be working with him and truly blessed to be performing some of The Four Seasons biggest hits. I can’t wait!”
Jersey Boys, which opened at the Prince Edward theatre in 2008 following a Broadway run, tells the rags-to-riches story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the chart-topping American quartet who rose to stardom in the 1960s with a string of hits featuring Valli’s distinctive vocals, including Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, Bye Bye Baby and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.
Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s musical won Best New Musical at the 2009 Laurence Olivier Awards, with Molloy receiving a nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for originating the role of Valli.
Molloy will continue into his fourth year of playing Valli, but will now alternate performances with Lee.
Also joining the cast are Matthew Wycliffe, Wayne Smith, Rachael Wooding, Carl Au, Lauren Hall, Jo Servi, Chris Gardner and Jake Samuels.