In a neat bit of serendipity, Olivia Valli made her off-Broadway debut playing her own grandmother in the musical Jersey Boys. But, yes, Olivia, the granddaughter of Four Seasons singer Frankie Valli, had to audition — a lot! — for the role. “At that time, I had auditioned for Jersey Boys for six years and never got the call. But it was a dream come true to honor my grandmother every single night on stage,” Olivia exclusively tells Closer.
Olivia, 29, grew up in New Jersey in a home filled with music. “My grandfather used to sing to me. It’s one of my favorite memories of him,” she says. “He still likes to sing to me over the phone.”
When she was a youngster, Frankie, 88, liked to treat his family to trips to Disneyland and New York City. “We would go in and eat dinner at Patsy’s,” says Olivia, who remembers investigating new neighborhoods with Frankie. “He was always interested in looking for a new shop, store or restaurant.”
The iconic performer also enjoyed doting on his granddaughter. “My grandpa is actually really silly. He loves to crack jokes with me,” says Olivia. “He’s caring, protective, and he will always make time for me, no matter how busy he is.”
Olivia has always known she wanted to be a performer, too, but Frankie tried to dissuade her. “He warned me about how bad and how toxic it could be,” she admits. But when the Four Seasons frontman recognized the extent of Olivia’s talent and ambition, he became an invaluable resource. “He gave me tons of advice on how to work hard, train, and how to be a professional,” says Olivia, who adds that she’s grateful . “I love what I do.”