Too Good To Be True? Gotta Love Jersey Boys
Photo by Joan Marcus
The audience-goes-crazy moments are cleverly written into the book of Jersey Boys, the long-running hit Broadway musical on view at the Winspear for three more weekends. Frankie Valli and his three pals, known as The Four Seasons, start out singing on street corners in New Jersey and work their way up in the music biz of the 1960s. They don't hit it big until Frankie meets pop composer whiz kid Bob Gaudio, who writes the tune "Sherry" and launches the group onto the charts.
"Sherry" isn't sung until halfway through the first act of Jersey Boys, but it comes at exactly the right moment. The guys playing the Four Seasons - Brad Weinstock as Frankie (except at some matinees, where Frankie's played by Hayden Milanes), Jason Kappus as Bob Gaudio, Brandon Andrus as Nick Massi and Colby Foytik as Tommy DeVito - finally launch into that four-part harmony, led by Frankie's high falsetto. "Sher-REEEEEEE, Sherry babeeeeeee!"
And the crowd goes wild.
Sure, it's an older crowd that loves these songs. But even if you've never waxed nostalgic for gooey pop melodies like "Big Girls Don't Cry" or "Walk Like a Man," the show, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, will MAKE you love them. It's all there in the script: the build-up, the anticipation, the pay-off. By the time the guys finally sing "Sherry" and the other songs, you'll be dying to hear them. You'll go wild, too.
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Jersey Boys breaks up its story into four chapters, each narrated by one of the "Seasons." These were blue-collar mooks who ran with low-level hoodlums. Tommy DeVito revolves in and out of prison for stupid stuff, including burglary and tax evasion. Frankie and the others wise up and latch onto the brilliance of good-kid Gaudio and their other mentor, lyricist Bob Crewe (played with adorable sass by Barry Anderson), and stay pretty much on the straight and narrow.
The rags-to-riches-back-to-rags-to-riches-again plotline meshes with the catchy songs about puppy love and teenage yearnings. "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Rag Doll," "Working My Way Back to You" - you don't know how many Four Seasons songs you know until they start pumping them out with those bumpy beats and bouncy harmonies and you realize, yep, you know them all.
Jersey Boys is the best jukebox show ever. If you saw it when it came to Fair Park in 2008, see it again for the better acoustics and arguably tighter cast at the Winspear. Be sure to "Stay-ay-ay just a little bit longer" at the curtain call to hear the "faux Seasons" do a knockout version of "Who Loves You?"
Jersey Boys continues through July 15 at the Winspear Opera House. Call 214-880-0202.
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