Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | 3:47 p.m.
The musical "Jersey Boys" had a celebratory opening at the Palazzo in Las Vegas over the weekend. But the joy of a successful launch -- which coincided with singer Frankie Valli's 74th birthday -- was dimmed by the loss of a cast member.
John Altieri, who played the role of Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe for 15 months in the national touring company of "Jersey Boys," died May 4 of complications from pneumonia. Altieri moved to Las Vegas to begin rehearsals and fell ill shortly after they had begun.
Altieri's costar Erich Bergen, who plays Bob Gaudio in the Las Vegas production, wrote about his friend on the "Jersey Boys" blog. And actor Eric Gutman, who toured with Altieri in "Jersey Boys," shares some memories on his blog. And here's a video tribute to Altieri.
"The opening weekend for Jersey Boys in Las Vegas was wondrous for us all," said "Jersey Boys" producer Michael David in a statement. "That said, it was also bittersweet. On the day after our opening performance a beloved cast member passed away. It has left us stunned. Beloved within the 'Jersey Boys' family, he will be sorely missed by all."
John Salvatore, who was Altieri's understudy in the role, stepped in and has played every dress rehearsal and performance. Salvatore will continue in the role of Bob Crewes.