Frankie Valli played the 02 arena in London a few weeks ago, no mean feat for someone in their 80s, but it was an extraordinary event for more than one reason.

It saw the lead singer of the Four Seasons, and the subject of award-winning musical Jersey Boys, finally get to meet the man who has been playing him on stage for so long – Dayle Hodge.

Invited backstage, Dayle said: “It’s been on my tick list for a while now to meet Frankie, because I know so much about him and his story, and I act that out on stage every week, and yet I had never met him.

“So it was quite surreal when it actually happened.”

How did it go? “Well Frankie had just done a two-hour show so he was tired, but we chatted for a while and talked about Jersey Boys. It was lovely to finally meet him.”

Did it change how Dayle played the part afterwards, having met the man in question?

“No because we were given so much information about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in regards to the show, that I know everything I need to know to play the part,” Dayle says.

So what is it about Frankie he loves to much?

“I’ve been wanting to play Frankie Valli since I went to see Jersey Boys in London nine years ago.

“He is the reason I’m doing this. I was at the Prince Edward Theatre in the third row, and I turned to my friend and said ‘I want to play that part some day,” the 28 year-old remembers.

“So this is my dream part.”

Having worked his way up the ranks, in numerous musicals such as Les Misérables, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Scrooge, Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast, Dayle finally landed the understudy role in Jersey Boys and after 18 months of hard graft was given the lead – Frankie Valli himself. He’s been playing him ever since, both on tour and in the West End.

So why does Dayle love Jersey Boys so much? “It’s such an amazing story. Frankie was born in New Jersey and thought he’d be stuck there forever. One of the only ways out was to become a star, and that’s what he managed. He was quite a lost soul until he joined the band and as a result is riddled with self doubt all of his life.

“He gets his big moment at the beginning of the second half when he sings ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ and realises he has finally made it. But he still takes a long time to believe in himself which means the audience is with him all the way, having gone on the journey with him.”

“And the music is so brilliant. So it is amazing to perform and the show has eclipsed all expectations.”

It certainly has. Jersey Boys first opened in London in 2008 and was the winner of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical. Jersey Boys is also the winner of 57 major awards and been seen by 25 million people.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons became one of the most successful bands in pop history, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they turned 30. The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got), Bye Bye Baby, Working My Way Back to You, Fallen Angel, Rag Doll and Who Loves You.

So does Dayle still love it after all this time? “I’ve wanted to be on stage from an early age. There is nothing like the buzz you get from live theatre and watching the audience’s reaction, so yes – being on stage playing the leader of the band for a few hours every night is still my dream role.”

Not particularly festive though? “Actually Jersey Boys is perfect at this time of year because it has such a great feelgood factor about it and is so uplifting that everyone leaves singing and elated. What could be better over Christmas?”

JERSEY BOYS is at Oxford’s New Theatre until January 6. 0844 871 3020 or