Kevin Patrick Martin believes growing up in Rhode Island made him an “honorary Italian,” enough to credibly play a variety of roles over the past five years in the touring production of “Jersey Boys.”
“Hey, I’m not Jewish, but I also play loan shark Norm Waxman on the show!” said Martin laughing during a telephone interview.
The Cumberland native, who is married and lives in East Providence, will once again return to the Providence Performing Arts Center with the jukebox musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on June 2-3. He has been on the tour since 2017.
“Honestly, a big part of the reason I keep doing it is the music. It’s also a big part of why audiences stay interested and come back. We leave the theater every night,” says Martin .
This time, in addition to Waxman, he plays Hank Majewski, one of the Four Seasons, and other roles. The Rhode Island College graduate is also the tour’s fight captain, but his favorite part of the show is all about love.
“The last number – ‘Who Loves You’ – is my favorite. It’s the only real number where we break down the fourth wall, look out into the audience and see everyone having a blast,” Martin says. the only time the whole cast is on stage and we’re allowed to watch the audience.”
This song and others – the show includes all of the group’s top hits such as “Sherry Baby”, “My Eyes Adored You” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” – bring it back to hours spent listening radio station B101 when he was a child.
“Music is part of pop culture – it’s everywhere,” he explains. “Even now some of the songs are being redone on TikTok. I saw a young girl at the door to the stage one night and asked her if she knew the songs. She knew ‘Beggin’ from TikTok.”
Even though “Jersey Boys” is dubbed a musical jukebox, it’s part of a new category that tells the band’s story through its songs. In contrast, shows like “Mamma Mia!” were written to highlight Abba’s songs.
“It tells their story, something no other musical had done before and none has done as well since,” Martin says.
Valli and his band grew up on the rough streets of New Jersey, capitalizing on Valli’s unique falsetto and band harmony to land a musical contract. The rags-to-riches story was also made into a movie, but Martin says the stage version is electrifying. Fans come again and again.
“We’ve met people who have seen it over 100 times. We will recognize people. The fans are very dedicated,” says Martin.
“Jersey Boys” is on stage through June 3 at the Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St., Providence. For more information on tickets, go to ppacri.org.
If you are going to …
What: “Jersey Boys”
When: June 2-3, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street, Providence
Information: ppacri.org, (401) 421-2787