Press-Republican

Friday

June 20, 2014

Valli Boy

PLATTSBURGH — “I’m shrinking, I’m shrinking,” was John Lloyd Young’s theatrical-debut line in Plattsburgh Summer Theater at age 7.

He portrayed the littlest Shrinking Witch in the “Wizard of Oz” directed by SUNY Plattsburgh's Dr. Charles Kline in August 1982.

Now, having already conquered Broadway, Young stars as Frankie Valli in “Jersey Boys,” a Warner Brothers Pictures release, directed by Clint Eastwood and opening Friday in theaters nationwide.

 

EARLY START

“John, actually, has always been singing since he was 2 years old,” said Gail Abrams-Young, his stepmother and the daughter of the late Dr. Irving and Adelaide Abrams of Plattsburgh.

“He just had a knack, and he just had a natural talent. My mother noticed that he had a natural liking for singing.

Abrams-Young plans to the see movie here in Plattsburgh and hopes the North Country will turn out to see “Jersey Boys” for an almost-native son.

 

BEST ACTOR

In the original Broadway production of “Jersey Boys,” Young starred as Valli of Four Seasons fame.

His electrifying portrayal earned him 2006 Best Actor honors from the Tony Awards, Drama Desk Awards and Outer Critics Circle Award. The same year, he was honored for Outstanding Broadway Debut from the Theatre World Awards.

 

LOCAL ROOTS

Young was born in California on the Fourth of July, 1975  to Col. Karl Bruce Young and Rosemarie Cianciola.

His birth mother died of cystic fibrosis when he was 2 years old, and he doesn't remember her.

"I do remember, though, when it was just my father and me, before he met the woman who would become the mother who raised me, before my younger sister, Gillian," Young said in his Tony acceptance speech.

"It was just the two of us, and he was my whole world. He was an officer in the Air Force, and I always wanted to be an actor, and that put us at odds at certain points.

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