When you're watching "Jersey Boys," take your eyes off the guys who play the Four Seasons for some of the time and watch the Jersey Girls:- Natalie Gallo, Kaleigh Cronin and Rachel Schur.
The talented young women who play 50 roles among them -- moving in and out of the lives of the Four Seasons as friends, lovers, fellow singers and family -- took a few folks on a tour of their lives backstage on Friday. Each of those characters wears a different outfit and many require wigs, so any visit to the Jersey girls starts with the outfits.
The girls stood within a circular wardrobe case with a few of the outfits pulled off the racks, plus shoes (how do they move in those heels?) and accessories bagged and marked for each number. Natalie, a New Castle native joyfully staying with her family while the show is in town, showed us how she gets in and out of a short, beaded lilac dress for her quickest change that she estimates at 18 seconds. What from afar might look like a purple robe that she wears as Frankie Valli's first wife, Mary, is a lovely print with aqua embroidery at the sleeves and collar. The detail on this and other outfits, including beaded, sequined white mini dresses that sparkle for all the girls, is amazing.
In the wig room, the girls are asked about wearing the looks of the 1960s. "My mother says I look just like my grandmother," said Kaleigh, a Carnegie Mellon graduate from Providence, R.I. With all the potential for things going wrong with wigs, clothing and accessories coming off and on at lightning speed, the Jersey girls said there have been no wardrobe malfunctions to speak of. Natalie and Kaleigh have been on the road for about a year while Rachel -- a Floridian who attended a pre-college program at CMU -- joined the tour more recently. There have been no pranks backstage, the girls say, then Kaleigh is reminded of a hotel room that was covered in toilet paper. "The boys," she said.
Natalie lamented that most of the people she knew at Point Park are probably gone, but she asks about Sheila McKenna, and was thrilled when I told her she's not only in charge but directing and performing (I hope you saw her in multiple roles in City Theatre's "Monster in the Hall"). She hadn't seen the expansion of the school on the Boulevard of the Allies just yet, what with eight shows a week and fitting in all the family time.
Leaving the backstage area and emerging from a Benedum elevator, Natalie was greeted by an arrangement of roses that reached toward the ceiling like a beanstalk. It was from a childhood friend and it practically brought her to tears. One of the joys of the road is coming home.