MMT Quick Review of ‘Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons’

Jersey Boys

What’s new MMT Family?  So, last Thursday at Philadelphia’s Forrest Theatre I got to check out the opening night performance of the hit stage musical Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, and I can sum up the show in one word – PHENOMENAL!  Not surprising, considering the musical broke Forrest Theatre box office records SEVEN TIMES in its première engagement during its 2006 national tour, held after the show’s four 2006 Tony Award wins including Best Musical.

Produced by the hit songwriting/production team of Bob Gaudio (original Four Season vocalist) and Bob Crewe, with a book written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, Jersey Boys is based on material from interviews with surviving Four Seasons members Gaudio, Frankie Valli and Tommy DeVito.  Nick Massi, the fourth original member and bassist of the group, died on Christmas Eve in December 2000 from cancer.

The musical highlights the 1960’s band’s “rags to riches” story through its formation, success and eventual break-up. The production is structured as four “seasons”, each narrated by a different member of the band giving his own perspective on their history.  Book writer Brickman noted that each member had his own perspective on what happened during their tenure as a group, and the contradictions in their stories were written into the show.  The musical features such sing-along Four Season hits as “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Sherry”, “Walk Like A Man”, “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and it was fun watching the older persons in the audience, who appeared to be in some very cool “I remember when” spaces.  The final number, featuring the song “Who Loves You?,” is performed by the full company and the Forrest Theatre literally turned into a full-fledged concert venue!  Although the story goes through the ups and some tumultuous downs of the group, the audience truly leaves the theater in feel good mode.

The entire cast is remarkable, but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed Nick Cosgrove, who played Valli and sang a beautiful cover of “Moody’s Mood For Love” that had me swooning!  The story moves quickly, as does the stage/design changes, but doesn’t miss a beat and successfully keeps the audience at attention, as if they are watching the actual group members in real-time.

Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons will run at The Forrest Theatre through January 5, 2014. It should be noted that both the Frankie Valli and Nick Massi characters are played by multiple actors depending on the performance date.  Nick Cosgrove can be seen in the lead during evening performances through December 20.  For additional information and tickets click here.  The Broadway production of Jersey Boys is also still playing at the August Wilson Theatre in New York and you can get additional show and ticket information about that production here.

Okay family, you know the drill!  Stop back and leave a thought or two if you go check out the musical! 🙂

Until next thought, Thomasena


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