With the pandemic shutting audiences out of theatres around the world, Kiwi actors working abroad packed their bags and moved home.
Luckily a tour of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys was about to start casting in New Zealand, a chance for locals to tell the story behind the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
"From being some rough Jersey Boys and becoming four of the greatest stars in American rock history," cast member Andrew Coshan says.
The jukebox musical is a roaring success overseas and has been seen by 26 million people.
But the lights are dimmed in most theatres worldwide making this Kiwi-led production one of the only shows able to play to full houses.
"The theatres have all been shut on the West End since March last year, nothing's been open," Cassandra McCowan told Newshub.
McCowan, who stars as Mary Delgado, was working as a singer on cruise ships before COVID-19 forced her home.
Many of her friends overseas are still in lockdown and can't do their jobs, she says.
"It just reminds me how very lucky we are in New Zealand to be able to perform to you know 2000 people at a time like this."
Aucklander-turned-Melburnian Andrew Coshan has a similar story. He moved back across the ditch last year as his Australian contracts got put on ice.
Being cast on home soil as Nick Massi is a dream come true and he says his parents are just as thrilled.
"The fact that they can take the ferry that's you know $4 instead of tickets that are upwards of $400 is so nice," he laughed.
The creative team told Newshub they were blown away by the talent putting their hands up to be part of the tour.
"We have all these performers who otherwise would be overseas who are now home and we get to benefit," choreographer Destiny Anderson says.
Playing in Auckland and Wellington over the next seven weeks, Jersey Boys promises to pack a punch.
"Everyone knows the music which is so cool," Tauranga-born Matt Cranleigh says.
"Even if you don't realise you know the music, you'll come in and you'll sit down and you'll be like "ah I know this music'."