Former Woodroffe School student Luke Street will be learning how to “Walk Like a Man” over the next few months as he has landed the leading role in the smash hit musical Jersey Boys.
Luke, 23, will be playing Frankie Valli in the international tour of the show and will bring the music and the story of the Four Seasons to audiences around the world.
The son of former Lyme Regis town crier Phil Street and his wife Dawn, who now live in France, Luke was a regular on the local stage before leaving the town and went on to take professional training at the Performance Preparation Academy in Guilford.
After graduating, Luke found almost immediate success when he was cast alongside Imelda Staunton and Peter Davidson in the highly acclaimed West End production of Gypsy.
The multi award winning musical gave the young actor a significant start in the business and he went on to gain further acclaim for his portrayal of a troubled teenager opposite West End legend Dave Willets in the new musical Out There at the Union Theatre- a performance which earned him a Broadway World Award nomination for Best Actor in a New Musical.
For his latest stage foray, Luke will portray one of the world’s most renowned singers in the musical, which charts the discovery of Frankie Valli and the meteoric rise of the Four Seasons.
It’s a big break for the rising star, who has long been a fan of the show.
Luke said, “I’ve loved it ever since I went to see it about 5 years ago in London. It was always one of those roles that I really wanted to do, so to now have the chance to play it is unbelievable and I’m very privileged. Their life story is incredible. As they say in the show, ‘it was just four guys underneath a street lamp singing someone else’s songs’”
Luke, is well known locally for his outstanding tenor voice, but is under no illusion that in order to come close to replicating Valli’s astonishing vocal ability, he will have his work cut out.
“He’s got one of the most unusual but best voices in the world. It’s unique; it’s high falsetto, which doesn’t come naturally to a lot of male singers.”
The coveted role is extremely demanding and Luke will have lessons from a specialist vocal coach in America before he starts performances to ensure he is producing the correct sound.
“I’ve got a high voice-it naturally sits quite high-so it actually comes quite easy for me, but I’ve still had to train hard. I’ve got to do a lot of vocal sessions before the tour starts just to make sure I’m doing everything safely, because if you do it incorrectly, it can damage your voice.”
The actor had to go though a rigorous audition process before he was given the go ahead and even had to perform for some of the real Jersey Boys.
“We were filmed for Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli. I had to be seen by them to make sure they were happy for me to have the part.”
The show is presented in a documentary-style format and dramatises the formation, success and eventual break up of the band.
Seen by over 4 million people globally, Jersey Boys has achieved international acclaim, earning over 55 major awards. It features a songbook that spans the band’s entire career and Luke will be performing smash hit songs, including Big Man in Town, Sherry and Walk Like a Man as part of the show, a challenge he is sure to revel in.
“I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into a big role. Frankie Valli is someone I really look up to as a singer, so I’ve loved learning more about his life.”
Luke continues to receive an immense amount of support from his family and friends as he goes forward on his theatrical journey, with many now planning holidays to coincide with his tour dates. Parents, Dawn and Phil-both accomplished local performers in their own right- intend to see as many shows as they can and Luke said, “It’s one of my mum’s all time favourite shows.”
Luke and his fellow Jersey Boys (Jonathan Vickers, John Addison, Matt Blaker and Nick Martland) will first visit Dubai in October, before heading off to the Far East, with further international venues to be announced.