Mafia loan sharks, gambling, drugs, and rock’n’roll – Jersey Boys isn’t your typical jukebox musical
It’s rare that a musical looks past the clean-cut boyband exterior and delves into the somewhat shady lifestyles of these musicians. The Four Seasons may look put together when they performed, but the fans didn’t get to see what actually went on behind the scenes.
Unlike some jukebox musicals, you get the real-life story of the Four Seasons, as well as their best hits. Also, you get the story from four points of view. The feud of clashing egos is expected in a band, but it’s how they work through it that keeps the story going.
The story isn’t all bright and sunny, but quite the opposite. The darkness and peril that affected the band all begins with the band’s founding member Tommy De Vito, who’s debt spirals out of control.
Corey Greenan resists the urge to play Tommy just as the baddie. He adds charm and humor to the headstrong man, which helps the audience see why the other band members didn’t just put up with him, but also liked him as a friend.
Eric Chambliss plays the shy band member Bob Gaudio (who prefers to stay backstage and write music) and quickly becomes a favorite with the audience. He shines with superb vocals and stage presence during the mega-hit “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night!)”.
With his Elvis like appearance, Michael Milton is completely loveable as Nick Massi. Even though he may not say much during the show, he has some hilarious lines that are delivered perfectly.
Jon Hacker plays the voice, Frankie Valli. It’s lovely to see Hacker go from a young, innocent 16-year-old who loves to sing, develop into a man who takes responsibility far better than his elders. His vocal ability is something that seems impossible, yet he doesn’t make any mistakes when in his high heavenly voice.
The show highlights the highs and lows of the Four Seasons’ career, both in the band and personal, family life. A heartbreaking moment for Frank Valli and his daughter was delivered with emotion and empathy. Aided by Howell Binkley’s lightening design, the moment is angelic and beautiful.
The book, written by Rick Elice and Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman, is written with humor that comes quick and fast – blink and you missed the joke.
Rather than just skimming through the lives of The Four Seasons and being a concert, “Jersey Boys” takes you on an adventure of drama, despair, happy times, and love of music.
When a show leaves you “Beggin’” for more, then you know it’s a good one. I could not take my eyes off the stage, and I was in pure bliss.