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BWW Interviews: Jon Lee Of JERSEY BOYS!

Jody Vodden

"It is such a great role, I saw the show and I loved it. I knew I just wanted to be in it!" Jon Lee is bubbling with excitement. Alternating with Ryan Molloy, Lee begins his starring role as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys next month. 

Remembered by many teens and twentysomethings as part of pop band S Club 7, Jon starred in four television series, a film and won two Brit awards and Record of The Year as part of the band, with record sales spanning over 13 million!

With a long list of achievements behind him as well as his singing career, you may think that Jon Lee is no longer affected by nerves, but this is not the case. "Sometimes I think what am I doing, why am I doing this to myself?" he admits, revealing that he still gets nervous before a performance. Stepping into the limelight at the age of 12 as the lead in Oliver! at the London Palladium, after training at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, it was evident that he was a natural performer. It seems the West End is growing into a new home for Jon since playing Marius in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre and more recently at the Queen's.

Since your roles as the lead in Oliver!, Marius in Les Misérables and now as Frankie Valli, do you think the West End is where you want to remain?

This is what I have always wanted to do, musical theatre was my first love and now I'm on my third West End show. I do really love doing it, I love the lifestyle, there's just something amazing about walking into a theatre, you walk out there and you get a buzz - I'm really lucky.

I bet it's pretty hectic - how does it compare to the other roles you have played?

This role is for a year and because I am alternating with Ryan Molloy it means it doesn't take up all of my time. I have the time to perform at the Savoy twice a month as well. When I was in Les Mis I was doing eight shows a week and it took up all of my time. Right now I have the best of both worlds, but I am still doing what I love.

As your Jersey Boys debut draws closer how are you feeling?

My first night is the 18th March, which isn't too far away now! It has come around so quick - I found out I had landed the part in November and now its February and I still have so much to do! I'm just fortunate enough to get the chance, I feel it is the best West End show of the time; it may not be my era but I was surprised at just how many songs I knew.

Is it daunting to have the lead role as Frankie?

It is going to be great. I think I am kind of getting used to the idea now, but it never gets any easier, my nerves never go.

What about Frankie as a character? As the Jersey Boys were known for being on the wrong side of the tracks until their rise to stardom as one of the most successful bands in pop music, how did you get a feel for the role?

Our backgrounds are so different, but I went to New York and got a real feel for it. People forget that the Jersey Boys are real people, Frankie is still performing today - all he really cares about is performing. He is an intense, dark character, and so driven. But this is, I guess, to his detriment in the show as everything in his life comes second to his career.

You're alternating the role with award-winning Ryan Molloy, how does that work out?

We work out a schedule every eight weeks and it changes all the time, sometimes I do more shows a week and then sometimes he does. I'm absolutely made-up with how things are going so far - I'm looking forward to getting started.

To check what dates Jon Lee is performing as Frankie Valli, check his website, www.jonleeofficial.com.

 




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