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'Jersey Boys' Still Going Strong All These Years Later, This Time Off-Broadway And Despite COVID-19

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- While many shows have had cancellations during this latest COVID-19 surge, Broadway is still open for business.

Off-Broadway is back, too. And one of the shows, "Jersey Boys," is still wowing audiences, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported Monday.

It's the music that leaves audiences on their feet and cheering for more. "Jersey Boys" is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Now Off-Broadway at New World Stages, Aaron De Jesus steps into the lead as front man "Frankie" and he says it's hard stuff.

"It's arguably one of the most daunting male roles in all of musical theater because of the extreme singing you have to do playing Frankie Valli," De Jesus said. "He ages throughout the show, so it's a whole lot. But it's also really a lot of fun to do."

De Jesus has been a part of the "Jersey Boys" family for 10 years, performing various roles in companies from Las Vegas to New York City.

"There is a kind of a subtle expectation to kind of sound like Frankie and perform like him even though they don't necessarily require that we do a perfect impersonation of Frankie Valli, because no one really has that voice but him," De Jesus said.

The smash musical first opened on Broadway in November of 2005 and hit all the right notes to win four Tony Awards, including Best New Musical, and ran on Broadway for more than 11 years.

Fast forward to 2021, after a sudden shutdown, De Jesus says the past year and a half has been a challenge.

"I'm so happy. We're all so happy and over the moon to be back. But it's been a difficult time. It's been a hard time, because one of the things that theater does is it kind of helps heal our souls in a way," De Jesus said.

The actor has had the good fortune to meet Franki Valli.

"He's very, very supportive of the show, and he comes from time to time. I've probably seen him maybe half a dozen times through the years," De Jesus said.

And De Jesus has this message for theater fans:

"Please come see 'Jersey Boys.' We are here. We're ready to go. We're excited to be back," he said.

"Jersey Boys" is at New World Stages on 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues.

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