I love musicals, on stage, television or movies! High on my list of musicals is the Tony award winner, “Jersey Boys” directed for the big screen by Clint Eastwood.
It was fun to go back in time to this big slice of hit songs provided by the iconic pop group, The Four Seasons and Frankie Valli.
In the movie, the members of The Four Seasons are portrayed by the Broadway stars including John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for his role as Valli. Most of the cast members are made up of actors that are up-and-coming, except for Christopher Walken, who plays the role of mobster Angelo DeCarlo, known for funding the rise of Valli and Sinatra too.
If you are a fan of this era, the music or the Broadway musical, the movie “Jersey Boys” is a must-see!
“Everybody remembers it how they need to.” – Jersey Boys, movie tagline
The Four Seasons got their start in New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia where I grew-up with my family of eight sisters and brothers. Our Philly neighborhood also had our own singing group of cute guys that sang outside the corner drug store. My sister Linda and I looked forward to listening to their harmonies on our way home from school. Of course, there was singing at our home too.
Not unlike the Jersey Boys’ neighborhood, the neighborhood where my sister and I grew-up had an unspoken protocol: Be loyal to your roots, especially your family, support each other, never forgetting those who believed in you.
Those sentiments are weaved within the pages of our book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. During the 70’s, my sister Linda and I shared an exciting journey entertaining with celebrity legends as part of the groovy troop of girl singers and dancers called, The Golddiggers. How did it all begin for us? Was showbiz all that it was cracked up to be? Oh the stories! You’ll also read the views of others that were there with us, thanks to our book producer Billy Ingram, who transcribed dozens of interviews to give the fabric of our story texture and color.
The narrators, Linda Eichberg and myself, Alberici Sisters, arranged each characters’ documentary into a context that is sequentially historical and orchestrated each episode in what we hoped to be a stimulating celebration of a bygone time.
For me, it all starts and ends with the family. Regardless of whether I was touring with the biggest stars in show business such as Frank Sinatra himself, entertaining in front of the television cameras, performing in Las Vegas or traveling to exotic places, family was a powerful influence.
* Enjoy these excerpts from BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS that are taken out of context so you can taste a few samples of this delicious era.
TIMES IN THE GOLDDIGGERS…
Maria and Linda:
As a group, we grew from wide-eyed girls to womanhood, from go-go boots to evening gowns. We changed our look and our sound but not our hearts. These wonderful ladies with whom we traveled for so many years are now our lifelong friends.
Oh, the adventures we had together! Our life has been a whirlwind of surprises with many challenges, ups and downs, but my sister and I still kept plugging along and held on to each other and our family values. Yes, there was danger as well but our faith carried us through it all.
FAMILY VISITS ON THE ROAD…
Darlene (Alberici) Cianci, Golddigger 1977, our younger sister:
Keeping the family connected was very important to our dad. He wouldn’t let too much time pass without paying Linda and Maria a surprise visit.
Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow, Golddigger 1973 -1985: When the sisters’ family came to see us, I was always amazed how those young, gorgeous, sexy, powerhouse performers on stage could immediately after a show become nurturing caretakers, bouncing their younger siblings on their knees and changing diapers.
THE 1977 FRANK SINATRA & DEAN MARTIN TOUR…
Chuck Anderson, guitarist: One night I asked a guy I worked with, Who do you work for?
He said, “I work for the mob.”
I said, “You’re a conductor and work for the mob?”
He says, “Yes.”
And I said, “Well, how do you find working for the mafia?”
He says, “They leave me alone, they’re very nice, they’re very polite, they expect me to be on time, they expect me to be sober, do my job, and they pay me very well.”
So it gave me a very different view of our television and film idea of the mafia guys. South Philly was the Angelo Bruno family and all the different crime families were in Philadelphia and in New York. But it never affected the music. It’s not really that much of a surprise, Vegas was founded by Bugsy Siegel. The mafia was kind of a big, organized corporation. It wasn’t the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.
Linda: Dean didn’t take himself quite as seriously as Frank did. He was a simpler guy. He talked to us about his golf game, working out, TV—especially his favorite westerns— and his family. That was enough for him. He didn’t go around with a ‘kingdom’ surrounding him like Frank did. For the most part, The Golddiggers were his entourage now.
Dean was never like the boss, he was like a part of our family. He never gave off a vibe of pressure; he was the most gracious, cool guy, really. He had this little act that would pump him up before the show. He wanted to see each girl before he went on. Oh, and if you were late or you missed him, you would hear about it, in a funny way. He used to kid around with us, “Where were you? I missed you.”
Tour goes to the Latin Casino in New Jersey
Maria: My family, including my uncles, aunts and my grandmas, dressed in their finest evening attire to see us at the Latin Casino. They never stopped talking about how they were treated like kings and queens at our show. Frank Sinatra insisted on taking care of the comps for this engagement, he had our family regally escorted to a long table right up in front, smack in the middle. I heard that Frank told the waiters and waitresses not to take any tips from their table or they would be fired. He would take care of the gratuity. At least that’s what the servers told my relatives. They never forgot that old school courtesy. It was the Italian way…respect from great men. They could hardly believe it.
ENTERTAINING IN MONTE CARLO, FRANCE…
Maria: Our group got along so well. I think the love we had for one another overflowed to whoever was around us. As the invited guests of Sheiks and Princes, some of us went on a tour of the Royal Palace equipped with Palace guards more colorful than the pictures in my childhood storybook of Cinderella. As I walked through the interior of the Palace it seemed hard to believe that Princess Grace Kelly was brought up not far from where Linda and I grew up in Philadelphia.
I began to reminisce back to my Miss Pennsylvania days when Grace Kelly’s brother Jack took me on a tour of Philly’s in-spots frequented by the Main-Line elite. As I looked around me, I began to ache for a little reality. I was missing my family back home to be honest.
I hope you enjoyed these snippets from our book. It was a sense of family and our deep faith that brought clarity to my sister and I as we adventured “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.” Even today, we are grateful for the blessings that guide us to a balanced life as moms, fitness professionals and entertainers.
Without a doubt, the music and times of “Jersey Boys” and Frankie Valli has made a mark in showbiz history. Coincidently, it was good to see Frankie Valli attending Sunday service at our church with his family. Ah yes, faith, family, friends and love is the glue that keep life together.
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain
Live your truth,
Maria Lauren, (aka) Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio
Your Powerful LIFE blog
What’s next for our book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS?
Maybe there is a Broadway musical, film or television show on the horizon. 🙂
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