Frankie Valli’s granddaughter Olivia Valli is a musical theater star
Between his band and his successful solo career, Frankie Valli is one of the most beloved singers of the last century — and his granddaughter Olivia Valli is following in his footsteps, cultivating a career as a singer and actress.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are known for hits like “Walk Like a Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The iconic falsetto has six children and two grandchildren, including Olivia.
Frankie’s life has been given the Broadway treatment — he and the Four Seasons are the basis for the Broadway musical Jersey Boys, which won four Tony Awards in 2005. In fact, Olivia once performed in the off-Broadway production of the show, appearing as her own grandmother.
In 2021, Olivia led the cast of the national touring production of Pretty Woman: The Musical. Since May 2023, she’s been starring as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the national touring company of Wicked, having previously understudied the role a few years prior.
“It’s time to try defying gravity full time,” she captioned a photo on Instagram of herself at 7 years old, dressed as a witch. “This one is for you little witch. If only you knew what was in store for you. Aren’t you happy it worked out the way it did?”
But who is Olivia Valli? Here’s what to know about her relationship with her grandfather, Frankie Valli, and her career on the stage.
She’s starring in Wicked
Just days after her debut, she posted a photo of herself in full costume. “Everyone deserves the chance to fly,” she wrote, quoting lyrics from the show. “Those lyrics mean so much more to me now. Everyday I walk into work with immense gratitude. Thank you for giving me the chance to fly again @wicked_musical.”
This isn’t the first time she’s been in Wicked. From 2016 to 2019, Olivia was the understudy for Elphaba on the national tour, according to Playbill.
One night, Frankie surprised her by attending a performance. Beneath a photo of her and her grandfather on the Wicked stage, she wrote: “My cheeks still hurt because I was smiling so much. So many tears of happiness happened as well. Having my grandpa come see the show was the best surprise I could ever ask for.”
She played Vivian in Pretty Woman: The Musical
When Pretty Woman: The Musical went on a national tour in 2022, Olivia played Vivian — a character made famous by Julia Roberts in the 1990 film — opposite Rent star Adam Pascal, who played Edward. It was her first major leading role, and she leaned into her roots to find her character.
“I’m going to be giving more of a Jersey flair to it,” she told DC Theater Arts in 2022. “I’m a naturally witty person, and I like to use humor to cope or get through tough situations, so that’s what I lean into.”
She portrayed her own grandmother on stage
Olivia’s big break came in 2019 when she landed a role in none other than Jersey Boys — and not just in any role. She portrayed her own grandmother, Mary Delgado, in the off-Broadway production of the show. Delgado was Frankie’s first wife.
“I am so excited to be honoring my family by playing my grandma in Jersey Boys,” Olivia posted on Instagram. “I cannot thank @jerseyboysbroadway enough for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Family IS everything.”
Her proud grandfather was stunned when he heard the news. "I was thrilled. I couldn't believe it," Frankie told PEOPLE. "But I had seen Olivia do a show while she was still in school before she became a professional, and I knew it was there. She just needed that opportunity."
She has a long musical lineage
Olivia is the daughter of Frankie’s daughter Antonia “Toni” Valli and Gerry Polci, who was once a drummer in the Four Seasons. "I first saw him when I was 15,” Toni told The New York Times in 1995. “I fell in love with him the first time I ever saw him. My father had been raving about him as a drummer — the best he had ever heard, he said.”
Her first memory is of Frankie performing
Olivia didn’t always know her grandfather was famous — but she learned very young when she saw him perform for the first time. "My first memory ever — the big memory — he was at an outdoor concert venue in Jersey. I think it was PNC [Bank Arts Center], and I was just bopping along," Olivia told PEOPLE in 2022.
"I was like, 'Wow, my grandfather, he's a really good singer. This is so cool.' Then I turn around, and I just see this wave of people because we were relatively close to the front,” she recalled. “And I was like, 'Oh, he's a really big deal. Oh my God.’ … And I turned to my mom, and I go, 'Mom, is Grandpa famous?' And she was like, 'Yes.' "
She and her grandfather have a special bond
At home with family, "he's actually a really big jokester,” Olivia told PEOPLE of her grandpa. “He loves to be goofy and loves to just make people laugh. … It was just laughing all the time and telling stories, how to make good sauce, things like that."
A love of Italian food, in particular, is something they share. "I love a lobster ravioli — sign me up! A penne vodka, a shrimp scampi," Olivia said. As for Frankie: "I like eggplant, and I like pasta and lentils, and pasta and peas. I could eat pasta every day if it were up to me."
Frankie admires her work ethic
Her famous grandfather says that he sees the same passion and dedication in Olivia that he has himself. "Her work efforts are incredible, and she's dedicated to what she is doing," he said. "And I am very much the same way."
He believes that there’s no such thing as too much performing. “If you love what you do, you never get enough of it,” Frankie told PEOPLE in 2008.
She sees performing as her family’s heritage
When the Valli family came to see Olivia understudy Elphaba in Wicked, the young actress got emotional. "It just really felt like this was the best way to honor our lineage and the fact that we do have this voice that runs through our family,” she told PEOPLE. “We love what we do so much, so this is me making a stamp in our family as well."
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Read the original article on People.