As he breaks into spontaneous song down the telephone, belting out the words to the 70’s smash single 'December, 1963', it’s pretty clear that George Solomon is as passionate about the hits of The Four Seasons as the iconic band was back in their heyday.
George is one of the stars of and the creative genius behind the hit show Oh What A Night! – a musical tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons - which is currently touring the country.
What started out as four guys performing the much-loved hits from 'Sherry' to 'Big Girls Don’t Cry' in Vegas, has grown into a worldwide phenomenon - something that the independent Motown producer attributes to the sheer brilliance of the music.
"They’re the best songs in the world," he says. "I think everybody, no matter how young or old, knows of these great songs, and people who thought they knew them all discover that there’s more hits than they remembered."He adds: "We started getting offers from all over the world, so we had to sort of clone ourselves."
Hot on the heels of the award-winning musical Jersey Boys in NZ, George says the point of difference between Oh What a Night! and its contemporary, is that it’s more about the music because it doesn’t tell a story.
"There’s a lot of comedy and fun and it’s a very family friendly show," he says. "And because were not limited to the time constraints of telling the whole story we can perform more of the songs.
"We actually support Jersey Boys in our show because we love it and there’s always been a mutual admiration for each other."People who’re huge fans of Jersey Boys come up to us and say 'Wow, we really loved this!' and people who haven’t seen Jersey Boys say 'This is terrific, now we’ve got to go get tickets to Jersey Boys'!"
While he’s collaborated with the likes of Diana Ross, Bill Cosby, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder and Liza Minnelli throughout an accomplished career which began at the age of 15, the veteran star says Oh What a Night! is possibly the best all-around feel good show he’s been involved with.
George, who will be joined on stage in NZ by Chris Anderson, Thomas Bevan and Josh Woodie, says it’s the interaction with the audience that keeps performing the show after four years fresh and exciting.
"That’s the great thing about live theatre," he says. "There’s always something spontaneous that happens which makes it really fun for us every night.
"It's great when people leave the theatre dancing up the aisles, you know they've had a great time."
When asked which of the 30 odd hits performed each night gets the biggest response, George is quick to answer.
"It has to be 'Grease'," he says. "It’s the most popular because it spans so many generations, even the kids in the audience can sing along. I have a great time when I sing 'Grease' because I get to jump around and play with the ladies in the audience!"
Oh What a Night! is performing at 10 venues throughout New ZealandThu 23 August Auckland Bruce Mason Centre Ticketmaster 0800 111 999
Fri 24 August Rotorua Civic Theatre Ticketmaster 0800 111 999
Sat 25 August Hamilton Founders Theatre Ticketek 0800 842 538
Sun 26 August Manukau Genesis Theatre Ticket Direct 0800 224 224
Tue 28 August Napier Municipal Theatre Ticketek 0800 842 538
Wed 29 August Wanganui Royal Opera House Opera House 06 349 0511
Thu 30 August P. North Regent on Broadway Ticket Direct 06 357 9740
Sat 1 September Wellington Opera House Ticketek 04 384 3840
Mon 3 September Invercargill Civic Theatre Ticket Direct 03 211 1692
Tues 4 September Christchurch Aurora Centre Ticketek 03 377 8899For more information visit the show's website