My First: Interview with Jon Lee, star of Jersey Boys

There’s got to be a first time for everyone, even West End stars. Here’s the low-down on the first show-biz experiences of actor and singer Jon Lee, currently starring in Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Jon Lee
Jon Lee

My First audition…
was for Oliver! My parents drove me to London, we were living in Devon at the time. I remember the queue going round the block. It was at the Lyric theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. There were so many kids there. I came away feeling really nervous as I wanted to audition for the part of Oliver! but they were only letting all the kids sing a verse of Consider Yourself that day.

My First job…
was Oliver! After about 6 more auditions and I got the part! Think I had just turned 12.

My First kiss…
was at the bottom of the playing field when I was 11 or 12. There was a little hill that went down into a ditch full of stinging nettles and brambles…. And who said romance was dead?

My First time on stage…
not including school plays, was with my local amateur dramatics group in Newton Abbot. I think it was The Boyfriend although with the amount of pancake make-up and lipstick, it could have been La Cage Aux Folles!

Jon Lee as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
Jon Lee as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

My First big break…
was Oliver! It made me realise that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I then won a scholarship to go to the Sylvia Young theatre school and everything just fell into place after that.

My First celebrity encounter…
was Jonathan Pryce who was playing Fagin at the time. I had no idea who he was so I wasn’t daunted or star struck at all. He was such a lovely man, so friendly. He always used to make me laugh on stage.

My First visit to see a West End show…
My folks took me to see Les Mis, I remember watching the show, pointing at Marius and saying to my Dad “I’m gonna play that role one day”

Jon Lee’s career spans theatre, TV, film and music, from playing lead roles in Cameron Mackintosh’s productions of Oliver! and Les Miserables, to appearing in BBC TV’s EastEnders and as a member of internationally successful pop group S Club 7. He is currently starring as Frankie Valli in the West End production of the Broadway hit show Jersey Boys.


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📷 Main photo: Interview with Jersey Boys star Jon Lee

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