by Guy Chapman
For anyone looking for a true musical journey that will provide an evening of non-stop hits, one would be hard pressed to find a better or more satisfying experience than ?The Jersey Boys?, a musical send up of the life and times of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. From their humble beginnings in New Jersey, to their meteoric rise to fame, and their eventual split careers, this is an ear-pleasing spectacle that any music lover won?t soon forget.
Having recently opened in the Paris Hotel and Casino, ?Jersey Boys? is a fine addition to the Paris? theater. Part biography and part documentary, the production is a two-hour time machine that starts with the origins of the Four Seasons (including the many and multiple names and music genres the group went through before settling on their distinctive sound), and the discovery and emergence of a teenaged Frankie Castelluccio, who would later become Frankie Valli.
What follows is a journey that starts from those early days of the 1950?s to a near present-day conclusion. The show is narrated through the eyes of each member: Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi, and Frankie Valli, as each recount their memories of the group?s struggles, successes, and disagreements. The narration seamlessly covers multiple decades in a short amount of time, and the music of the Four Seasons provides an effective transitional means to keep the story steadily moving along.
The music found in ?Jersey Boys? is a jukebox of classic tunes that will find a place for any music fan. For Four Seasons enthusiasts, this covers almost every hit they?ve done. For newcomers, what is surprising about the music is that each of these songs has likely been heard at some point if you?ve ever owned a radio. The amount of influence that the Four Seasons held with popular music becomes readily apparent when collected into a production such as this, and each piece is a pleasant surprise that will keep audience members tapping their feet. So for those who claim to be unfamiliar with the Four Seasons? one may find themselves realizing that they have actually been a fan all along.
The performances themselves are wonderful. Ranging from light-hearted moments to tension and heartache, the actors carry their performances convincingly, but when the four leads perform as the Four Seasons, their accuracy to the original group is uncanny. They stand confidently both in covering the original members? ranges and in their individual talents. The theater?s design really carries the music well, providing for an intimate in feel concert experience.
?Jersey Boys? is a fantastic trip into music history, and the recent move into the Paris has done nothing to diminish its energetic luster. Spending an evening with these ?Boys? will provide a memorable experience regardless of what generation the audience was born in. From the first musical act to the final curtain call, this will be a production that you?ll find yourself singing along to long for days to come.