“Jersey Boys” – Philly Girls

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The story of the “Jersey Boys” lives close to home.

 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.

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Jersey Boys: John Lloyd Young 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

“Jersey Boys” movie website and trailer

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Jersey Boys with Clint Eastwood at the premiere

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.

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“Philly Girls” – Alberici Sisters: Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and The Golddiggers

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.

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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…

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The Dean Martin Golddiggers walk the red carpet at the 2009 Grammys: Deborah Pratt, Alberici Sisters: Linda Eichberg and Maria Lauren, Susan Buckner, Marie Halton- Peck, Peggy Gohl

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.

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FAMILY VISITS ON THE ROAD…

Darlene (Alberici) Cianci, Golddigger 1977, our younger sister: 

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Darlene Alberici – Cianci

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.

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Patti Pivarnik – Gribow

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.

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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.

 

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Book co-writer and co-narrator: Linda Alberici – Eichberg

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.”

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Tour goes to the Latin Casino in New Jersey

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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.

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ENTERTAINING IN MONTE CARLO, FRANCE…

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Book co-writer and co-narrator: (aka) Maria Lauren – Riccio

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

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What’s next for our book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS?

Maybe there is a Broadway musical, film or television show on the horizon. 🙂

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS – Book Preview

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS – Blog

Maria’s Website

Contact: YGTPower@aol.com

Maria-Lauren-MotivationYour Powerful LIFE blog is about Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.

Preparing for Mothers Day!

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My mom: Lillian Biro – Alberici (Stage name: Lee Richie)

Mothers inspire. Mothers teach. Mothers help. Moms are special and their children know why. A hug between a mother and child warms the soul. What’s special about your mom?

 My mom had her domestic ways but as you can see by her picture above, she had a glamorous side too. She was a sought-after singer around the Philadelphia area. In between singing engagements, she gave birth to nine children. Both mom (Lee Alberici) and dad (Al Alberici) raised us as vegetarians and made sure we all ate a natural diet and exercised daily. A few times a week, mom used a machine to grind and press juice from raw vegetables and created special candy made out of raw nuts and honey. On Easter, our baskets were filled with home-made delights. I loved her Coconut Cream Eggs the best!

 In the 60’s, mom appeared on American Bandstand as Lee Richie. I remember watching her singing on TV while fans cheered and danced. I was a young girl and seeing her like this was a curiosity. Was this the same mom who changed diapers and took care of us? Her performance took place before Dick Clark became the host. As I got a little older, I began watching Dick Clark charmingly host American Bandstand and I thought he was kind of cute! Little did I know I would be performing in several TV Specials for Dick Clark Productions when I became part of the Hollywood scene, myself.

 “If you want to stay young-looking, pick your parents very carefully.” ~ Dick Clark

Family has always been important to me and I was lucky to have a sister to join me in the Hollywood experience! My sister, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg and I wrote a book about our show biz journey called, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. In our book, we describe our unusual family up-bringing and our entry into the world of entertainment where the Rat Pack ruled! It’s now selling on-line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and contains over 300 pictures and lots of stories about the “Stars!” Here’s a book excerpt about watching our mom transform from “housewife” to “entertainer”:

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Alberici Sisters

Maria: Who inspired us to be entertainers? Our mom was our first inspiration. I loved hearing about the stars and their shows from my mom. I especially remember my mom going on and on about Sammy Davis Jr. and how he sang, danced and played musical instruments. My mom seemed amazed at how talented he was and how hard he worked during his performances. I knew my mom was not easily impressed by entertainers, so I made a mental note. I wanted to be an entertainer and hearing about Sammy let me know at a young age that I had to do more than just sing to gain the respect of an audience, I had to be able to wow them too.”

“When mom put on a sequined gown she looked like Cinderella. She’d be around the house and just be mom doing the housework and then she would put on what we called her ‘equipment.’ She had a waist cincher, it made your waistline about four inches smaller, like Mae West. She had elegant gowns, and these hairpieces that she sometimes put on; it was definitely a startling transformation.” ~ Beyond Our Wildest Dreams (Copyright)

Enjoy this book preview of Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.

My sister and I certainly learned glamour and practical values from our mom. Both my mom and dad taught us the value of family, hard work and a healthy lifestyle. Coming from a large family there was always lots of chores to do but this prepared us for the rigors of showbiz with the opportunity of singing and dancing on television and touring with celebrities like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Great ideas originate in the muscles.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

During April, we celebrate Earth Day! Will you recycle, plant trees, grow vegetables…? Doing some gardening is good exercise too. It’s the little things that add up like taking your own bag to the grocery store. What are you doing to keep our “Earth Home” healthy? Don’t forget to keep your “Body Home” fit and healthy too!

It’s also time to prepare for Mothers Day! Take a few moments to remember how important your mom has been in your life and share this legacy with your children.

“I love you mommy.” These words are music to a mothers ears. Growing in Love (That’s What a Women Does), is a song which starts out with those precious words. A few years ago, my daughter, Marianna Riccio and I wrote Growing in Love and did a TV performance. Here’s a video clip to get you in the Mothers Day mood.

Download the entire song, Growing in Love.

Wishing my readers and my WONDERFUL MOM much love and happiness!

A special thank you to my family for your comments about our mom. I know some of you are very private people but I appreciate reading your sentiments and stories and participating in my Mothers Day blog party!

Maria Lauren, aka: Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio 

Your Powerful LIFE blog

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Maria Lauren’s entertainment and fitness website: www.MariaLauren.com 

Contact: YGTPower@aol.com

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maria-lauren-riccio/15/295/285;

http://facebook.com/Maria.Lauren.Alberici.Riccio;

www.facebook.com/BeyondBook;                                                            

www.twitter.com/AlbericiSisters;

www.LindaEichberg.com

www.MariannaRiccio.com

Maria-Lauren-Alberici-Riccio-You-Got-The-PowerThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.