Frankie Valli and Musical Star Granddaughter Olivia on Their Shared Love of Performing — and Pasta

Four Seasons singer Frankie Valli tells PEOPLE about watching his granddaughter Olivia, who currently stars in the national tour of Pretty Woman, take the musical theater world by storm oliviafvalli Verified It’s a gift when our jobs can bring us together. I’m grateful for every moment with you. 💕 225w
Photo: oliviafvalli/Instagram

Olivia Valli is following in some very famous footsteps.

The actress is the granddaughter of music legend Frankie Valli, who will be in the audience Friday night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to see Olivia's star turn as Vivian Ward in the national tour of Pretty Woman: The Musical.

For most of her life, Olivia was the one in the crowd when she would see Frankie perform with the Four Seasons. But, to her, he was just her grandpa who happened to sing.

"My first memory ever — the big memory — he was at an outdoor concert venue in Jersey. I think it was PNC [Bank Arts Center], and I was just bopping along," Olivia, now 29, tells PEOPLE via Zoom alongside Frankie.

"I was like, 'Wow, my grandfather, he's a really good singer. This is so cool.' Then I turn around, and I just see this wave of people because we were relatively close to the front. And I was like, 'Oh, he's a really big deal. Oh my God.'

"And I turned to my mom, and I go, 'Mom, is Grandpa famous?' And she was like, 'Yes.' "

Olivia & her grandfather Frankie

Olivia's mother is Antonia Valli, the daughter of Frankie and his first wife, Mary Delgado. In a magical twist of fate, Olivia played her grandmother in 2019 in the Off-Broadway production of Jersey Boys.

When she called her grandfather to break the news that she'd be joining the musical about his life and career, "I was thrilled. I couldn't believe it," Frankie, 88, tells PEOPLE. "But I had seen Olivia do a show while she was still in school before she became a professional, and I knew it was there. She just needed that opportunity."

Like her grandfather, Olivia is from New Jersey. She attended Montclair State University; shortly after graduation, she was cast in the national tour of Wicked and understudied the role of Elphaba.

"Seeing her in Wicked for the first time, I remember that I got a little emotional," says Frankie, adding that it will "probably happen again" when he sees Olivia play Vivian Ward, the role made famous on film by Julia Roberts.

When her grandfather was in the audience at Wicked, "I had to fight back tears," Olivia says. "It just really felt like this was the best way to honor our lineage and the fact that we do have this voice that runs through our family… We love what we do so much, so this is me making a stamp in our family as well."

Frankie sees a bit of himself in his granddaughter, and it's evident he couldn't be prouder. "Her work efforts are incredible, and she's dedicated to what she is doing," he explains. "And I am very much the same way."

The two also have a shared love of Italian food. "I love a lobster ravioli — sign me up! A penne vodka, a shrimp scampi," says Olivia, while Frankie adds: "I like eggplant, and I like pasta and lentils, and pasta and peas. I could eat pasta every day if it were up to me."

"Pretty Woman" national tour.
Matthew Murphy

The "My Eyes Adored You" singer is still performing. After seeing Olivia in Pretty Woman, Frankie will depart for Europe, where he will play various cities in the U.K. including the Royal Albert Hall.

Though they'll be performing on opposite ends of the world, Olivia says they often "call each other and talk about stories about the road," adding that they're "super close."

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"He's actually a really big jokester. He loves to be goofy and loves to just make people laugh… It was just laughing all the time and telling stories, how to make good sauce, things like that," says Olivia, who is excited to have her family and boyfriend in the house when Pretty Woman celebrates its Los Angeles premiere Friday.

When asked what she and Frankie will do after the show, Olivia says, "We're going to cry a lot. We're going to celebrate and just cry — and eat food."

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