PULLING in one of the broadest audiences in musical theatre history, Jersey Boys has won almost as many awards as The Four Seasons had hit records.

The Tony, Olivier and Grammy-winning show is the remarkable story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from the wrong side of the tracks. The four boys from New Jersey became one of the most successful bands in pop history and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before they turned 30.

Between 1962 and 1978 the group sold a whopping 175 million records. Starting out as the Four Lovers, they later evolved into the Four Seasons, with Frankie Valli as the lead singer, Bob Gaudio on keyboards and tenor vocals, Tommy DeVito on lead guitar and baritone vocals and Nick Massi on electric bass and bass vocals.

One of only two US bands (the other was the Beach Boys) to have major chart success at the time of the 'British Invasion' of America in the 60s, they are one of the best-selling groups of all time.

Jersey Boys opened in London at Prince Edward Theatre in 2008 and enjoyed nine years in the West End. The show is packed with more than 30 of the group's hits, including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got), Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Rag Doll.

But don't expect a cheesy homage to Frankie and the boys.

"It’s a true, gutsy story," says Lewis Griffiths, who plays Nick Massi. "The Seasons were blue collar guys who worked their way up. It works because it’s a story of hope."

Simon Bailey, who plays Tommy DeVito, adds: "It’s a fascinating story. Each guy tells it from their own viewpoint. Then there's the incredible music. We don’t pause for breath! People come back again and again and there's no ‘average’ audience member - good music is timeless whether you’re eight or 85."

Declan Egan, playing Bob Gaudio, nods in agreement. "I first played this role at 19, now I'm 26. I keep coming back - that's testimony to how great it is. I'm so proud to have been a Jersey Boy for seven years.”

For Michael Watson, returning to the role of Frankie Valli after several stints in the West End, there's another reason why Jersey Boys is special. “My partner played Lorraine in the show, that’s where we met. We've just had a beautiful baby girl,” he smiles. "This will always be one of the biggest parts of my life. The crowds are joyful because it speaks to everyone. You connect with it on many different levels.”

Adds Lewis: “It's a show that won’t just entertain, but will inspire, enlighten and educate you in a pivotal part of music history. There’s a line where I say: ‘Even after I quit the group it still had some kind of pull over me.’ You can leave Jersey Boys, but whether you’re in the cast or audience, it will always have that pull over you.”

* Jersey Boys runs at the Alhambra from May 22 to June 2. Call (01274) 432000.