When the smash Broadway show Jersey Boys rolls back into Houston this weekend for a limited engagement, it will bring along Connor Lyon. The Rockport native and Sam Houston State University graduate plays 16 different roles in the musical, which chronicles the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons through the eyes of the band members.
“Performing at the Hobby Center is a dream come true,” says Lyon. “My family drove hours to see national tours here when I was a child. To now be on that stage feels like a completion of the circle.”
Jersey Boys is Lyon’s first national tour, but she’s no stranger to Houston stages. Bayou City audiences here will remember her as Beth in A.D. Players’ production of Little Women, Heather in American Idiot at SRO Productions, and Janet in TUTS’ Rocky Horror Picture Show.
“Houston is and will always be the bedrock of my professional career,” she says.
Like the subject of the Tony-winning musical she's now in, Lyon’s road to performing began early. She started singing along in the car when she was 5 and began taking ballet at 6—moments she says prove that her career in the arts was inevitable. After graduating from college in 2015, Lyons took roles in the H-Town theater scene before eventually moving to New York City.
Lyon’s time at SHSU and in Houston helped prepare for the challenge of portraying more than a dozen characters in a single show. One of the roles Lyon plays is Frankie Valli’s girlfriend, Lorraine, whom she describes as “a reporter in a male-dominated world.” The character, she adds, “reminds me of my mother, who herself was a career woman who came up in the eighties when it was still a challenge.”
Lyon has channeled a similar vein for the other ensemble characters she portrays.
“I model most of them after people in my own life,” she says. “I love to see how I can make each one a bit different.”
While Jersey Boys is decidedly about the men who made up The Four Seasons, there’s still a lot happening around them onstage as they belt out hits like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night).”
“All I can say is watch the ensemble and everything happening in the background of each scene,” Lyon says. “These actors are doing some really incredible work to create the world the Four Seasons came to success in.”