New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
It’s not often that a shooting star passes through the same place twice.
But that’s what New Castle native Natalie Gallo is going to do.
The actress will return to her roots in the second national tour of “Jersey Boys,” which will be playing Sept. 4 through 23 at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh.
Gallo, who started her professional career at a Benedum performance of “Bye Bye Birdie” at age 15 and landed on the stage again three years ago in the national tour of “Mamma Mia!”, couldn’t be more excited to return.
“Everybody in New Castle is so supportive, and I feel so lucky to have that,” she said. “I’m getting all these messages on Facebook or phone calls or texts, saying ‘Oh, my gosh, my family and I are coming to the show, we got like 12 tickets!’
“People have been so supportive my entire life. I think that’s really special coming from a small town. You know, most people hate being from a small town because everybody knows everything about each other, but I love that part of it.”
“Jersey Boys” tells the story of 1960s singing stars the Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. The show follows the group from their early days as blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks through their breakout as one of the biggest pop music sensations in America.
In the touring production, Gallo portrays Mary Delgado, Valli’s wife. Gallo describes the character as a “sassy broad” who pokes fun at Frankie and unexpectedly falls for him. The character is very different from Gallo’s bubbly personality, but she likes the challenge.
“I didn’t think I was ready to play a girl like that, so it’s really special. It’s the first time I actually felt like an actress,” she said.
Gallo is one of three women in the cast. She said she was incredibly honored to be chosen for the role in the second national tour and admitted that she didn’t think the odds of her being cast were very likely.
She became interested in the show when she saw it performed on Broadway, but noticed that most of the girls who were cast seemed to be blonde or red-headed with really light skin.
Still, she responded to an equity chorus call that she saw on a website where she finds her auditions and decided to go for fun.
“I wasn’t really sure they were looking for anybody, I just thought they were looking for replacements in the future, but that day I found out they were casting the second national tour of ‘Jersey Boys,’ ” she said.
“I didn’t even think this would be a possibility. I decided just to go for the heck of it. From then on, I think I had about five auditions after the initial call.”
She found out at the end of last August that she had been cast and began rehearsals the last week of October, pulling “double duty” as she was still performing in the Broadway company of “Mamma Mia!” — an experience she appreciated, but doesn’t want to relive.
On Dec. 9, “Jersey Boys” opened, and Gallo has been traveling the country since, enjoying the sight-seeing and slower pace that the tour offers.
“Tour almost kind of feels like a vacation from New York City in some ways. Life out here is a lot different,” Gallo said. “(In New York), there’s always a lot of pressure. I feel like everyone is always looking for the next big show or the next big thing.
“Out here, you can kind of pace yourself, and take care of yourself, and do things for you. You almost forget about that when you’re back in the hustle and bustle of things.”
As she makes her way to Pittsburgh, Gallo notes she is very excited for people from the Steel City and New Castle to see the show.
“There are tickets available, I would love to see as many people from home as I can. So make the trip, it will totally be worth it.”
“Jersey Boys” is the winner of the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award, the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia).
NATALIE GALLO: AT A GLANCE ...
•Is a Neshannock High School graduate.
•Was a New Castle Mini Star and came up through the ranks of Ludovici Dance Academy.
•Starred in many Neshannock musicals and, at age 15, was cast in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
•Went to Point Park College, where she majored in musical theater for three years.
•Landed a spot after college as a lead vocalist for Holland America Cruise Lines.
•Began work in 2007 on the national tour of “Mamma Mia!” and after two years joined the Broadway company at the Winter Garden Theatre.