Theatre

'Busy' is the word for Frankie Valli

Valerie Kellogg
Newsday (MCT)

Frankie Valli's still got it going on with the Four Seasons.

The Tony Award-winning "Jersey Boys" continues to wow audiences around the globe. Valli, 75, predicts it will be made into a film, although he won't say who he thinks should play him.

The onetime cast member of HBO's "The Sopranos" says he wants to do more acting, and that's not all. He's getting into the food business.

And there's more the fashion horse would like to do, he tells Newsday staff writer Valerie Kellogg.

Q. Who is your favorite young pop star?

A. It's really difficult because some of them just come and go. Christina Aguilera is probably one of my favorites, but she's not of the younger generation, either. ... There's an awful lot of rap, which is more or less considered pop. There's a lot of it that's good. But there's a lot of it that could be very trashy, and I'm not really into that.

Q. You've been singing since 1958. How do you keep your voice in shape?

A. I usually take a hot shower for 45 minutes to an hour and sing.

Q. Why does that help?

A. Your vocal cords are like a rubber band. ... The steam in the shower kind of helps to loosen them up. You do your vocal exercises and sing a few songs and know how good or how bad you're going to be that day.

Q. Why do you think "Jersey Boys" has been such a success?

A. There are untold stories that were never written about the Four Seasons when we were having success. We were afraid that if the public found out the guys had trouble in their lives, that the radio might stop playing us, and the record companies would not give us a deal.

Q. I understand you love clothes. What's your favorite piece in your wardrobe?

A. I don't have a favorite piece. I have too many favorite pieces. That's what the problem is.

Q. What kind of outfit makes you feel the best?

A. The basic is a suit, or a pair of slacks and a sport jacket. The shirt-and-the-tie thing has never really been overly appealing to me. ... Even when you see me wearing a tuxedo, in most cases it will probably be a shirt that doesn't require a tie. I have been for at least 30 years, might be longer, wearing shirts without collars, regardless of what the trend is. I feel most comfortable in an open shirt. Or I like long-sleeve T-shirts with a suit. It gives it a totally different look.

Q. Had you been watching "The Sopranos" when you were asked to be on the show?

A. I watched "The Sopranos" from the very beginning. In fact, I auditioned four years before I did some episodes. I read for a particular part. (Writer, director and producer) David Chase, who auditioned me, didn't feel I was right for that particular part but that somewhere in "The Sopranos," there might be a character for me. Finally, he came up with this Rusty Millio character, and they got me to do seven episodes. It was probably one of the most exciting periods for me.

Q. Why?

A. They worked around my schedule, which was really great. ... And the people ... were absolutely unbelievable. To mash so many great creative people together for a show certainly proves why it was as successful as it was.

Q. Are there other roles you'd like to explore?

A. If you have any for me, I'd love to audition.

Q. Is it true that you also want to start a line of sauces?

A. I can't tell you too much about it because it's in the preliminary stages at this particular point. But I am thinking very seriously of some of the recipes that I got from my mom, who was probably one of the greatest chefs of all time. Even if I had a restaurant, it would be an Italian restaurant with a lot of peasant dishes. I grew up in a very poor environment. There are so many different peasant dishes that the public isn't as aware of as it should be.

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