The hardest thing about people during the Pandemic is the fact that if they truly love what they do, then not being able to do that job, has to really hurt. In sports, at least baseball, basketball and football, the players get to perform.
However people in the arts are not afforded that luxury. One film actress told me that not being able to do her job is the equivalent to a drug addict not getting drugs. Some performers tell me that they love their profession so much that they would do it for free. That’s how much these people love their craft.
One of these artist is the terrific Broadway singer, actress Olivia Valli. This young lady has gotten rave reviews for her performances on Wicked and Jersey Boys. When not acting on stage, she can usually be caught singing at some of the different clubs in the city including 54 below. I got to talk to her over the weekend about this situation. About the fact that she has been inactive all this time. Also the uncertainty of when Broadway will open up again. When will films start to roll again.
Olivia is a young lady who’s career is just really starting to take off. The powers that be are just really starting to take notice at her rising star. Many in the industry have told me that she is the real deal. You would think that she would be home somewhat feeling sorry for herself . However, this lady seems totally secure about her craft and seems to be trying to make a positive out of a negative. She is doing what I have seen some of the great Yankees that I have worked with throughout the years do when they would be caught up in negative situations. They would concentrate on mentally spiritually and physically work to stay prepared.
This woman trains five to six days a week. The type of workout sessions that would give the average Yankee a six pack to die for. Mentally you realize that this is a very strong willed person who wants to get to the top of the mountain and then pull everyone up. I didn’t have to ask her about her true spirituality because if you know her family and the love that you see that her mom Toni and her brother Dario have for each other then you see how God has blessed them.
I was originally told about this extremely talented young lady from musical director Robby Robinson, who knows music and true talent better then anyone I know. He has one of the greatest resumes in show business especially dealing with music. He has worked with Liza Minnelli, Tom Jones and for the last forty years has been the musical director for Frankie Valli.
Three years ago I was looking for a singer actress that could play a character in my Off Broadway play Batboy. Robby asked me if I had considered Olivia because she is all that and more. I raised the same question to the Four Seasons, Frankie’s then singers in the show (Today they are The Modern Gentlemen) they also asked me if I considered Olivia. They said you better check her she is great. At that point, I got frustrated and aggressively asked Brian Brigham one of the Seasons , who the hell is Olivia? I thought this was an artist that was going with one name, you know like Cher, Bono, Charro.
As it turns out because of my long friendship with Frankie, everyone thought I knew Olivia, and the fact that she happens to be Frankie’s granddaughter. How funny is that? Well I did know Frankie’s daughter Toni, so I called her to ask her about Olivia but this was before I went into the internet to see some of Olivia’s performances. I was blown away. When I called Toni I explained the situation with my show. Toni told me that Olivia was up for a big show but we would see what happens. Well Olivia got the big show. I believe it turned out to be Wicked. My play Batboy did very well, because I had some wonderful talent that wasn’t working at the time.
Selfishly, I wish we had Olivia because she would of took us to the next level however because I love her family so much I’m glad that they have been able to see her on the big stage. In the play “Jersey Boys” she even gets to play her grandmother and I’m told that the man that I have idolized just about my whole life (Frankie Valli) cried. Tonight when I say my prayers , I will say a special prayer for all theatre and film artist so that I can selfishly see my second favorite Valli back on stage again. Olivia!