JERSEY BOYS – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Music Bob Gaudio
Lyrics by Bob Crewe
National Touring Company
Dallas Summer Musicals
Directed by Des McAnuff
Choreography by Sergio Trujillo
Music Supervision, Vocal/Dance Arrangements, and Incidental Music by Ron Melrose
Scenic Design – Klara Zieglerova
Costume Design – Jess Goldstein
Lighting Design – Howell Binkley
Sound Design – Steve Canyon Kennedy
Projection Design – Michael Clark
Wig and Hair Design – Charles G. LaPointe
Fight Director Steve Rankin
Production Supervisor – Richard Hester
Orchestrations – Steve Orich
Music Coordinator – John Miller
Music Director – Noah Turner
Associate Producer – Lauren Mitchell
Executive Producer – Dana Sherman
Alec Michael Ryan – Gyp DeCarlo, Nick DeVito, Billy Dixon, Charlie Calello (and others)
Justin Albinder – Joey, Officer Petrillo, Crewe’s PA, Accountant’s Assistant (and others)
Antonio King – French Rap Star, Hal Miller, Barry Belson, Detective One, Davis (and others)
Samantha Gershman – Mary Delgado, Angel (and others)
Eric Chambliss – Bob Gaudio
Devon Goffman – Tommy DeVito
Jon Hacker – Frankie Valli
Connor Lyon – Church Lady, Angel, Lorraine, Miss Frankie Nolan, Bob’s Party Girl (and others)
Kevin Patrick Martin – Stosh, Norman Waxman, Detective Two, Hank Majewski, Police Officer, Recording Studio Engineer, Joe Long (and others)
Sean McGee – Bob Crewe, Donnie, Accountant, Finney (and others)
Hamilton Moore – Nick Massi (Understudy performing on night reviewed-Actor listed in Program is Matt Faucher)
Amy Coelho – Frankie’s Mother, Nick’s Date, Angel, Francine (and others)
JERSEY BOYS ORCHESTRA
Music Director – Noah Turner
Associate Conductor – Anthony Brindisi
Keyboards – Anthony Brindisi, Katie Holmes, and Noah Turner
Guitar – Max Caine
Bass – Jason Christopher Langley
Drums – Brett Beiersdorfer
Music Coordinator – John Miller
Reviewed Performance: 12/29/2021
Reviewed by Chris Hauge, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
“If you’re from my neighborhood, you got three ways out: You could join the army. You could get mobbed up. Or—you could become a star.” This is said by the character of Tommy DeVito near the beginning of the musical “Jersey Boys.” And for two-and-half hours that flash by in a wink, we watch four young men, Bob Gaudio, Frankie Valli, Nick Massi, and the afore mentioned Tommy DeVito rise from the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey to become the internationally known singing sensation, The Four Seasons. We get to see the drama and romance of this journey and through it all we are propelled by wonderfully performed music and brilliant dancing. This touring company has provided us a joyous way to ring in the new year.
According to Wikipedia, Bob Gaudio, an original member of The Four Seasons, came up with the idea of adapting the group’s song catalogue to the stage in the early 2000’s. Marshall Brickman (writer/co-author of Sleeper, Annie Hall, etc.) and Rick Elice (writer of Peter and the Starcatcher and other works) were hired to create the book for the show. Opting for a biographical approach to the group’s career, the writers relied heavily upon interviews with the surviving members of The Four Seasons (Nick Massi, the group’s bass player and bass singer died December 24, 2000, of cancer). Brickman and Elice were allowed creative freedom by the group, though Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli had final approval over whether the show could go ahead.
The work premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California October 4, 2004, and ran for three months in an out-of-town tryout before moving to Broadway in late 2005. The Broadway production ran until January 15, 2017, racking up 4,642 performances and won four Tony Awards including best Musical in 2006. There have been many US and international tours over the years and the show is once again in New York in an Off-Broadway revival.
While the history of the production is interesting, this touring incarnation of the show is just and out-and-out enjoyable time for the audience. Yes, we find out some background about the members of the group. We are led through the four seasons of the play (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) by each of The Four Seasons. Tommy DeVito (Devon Goffman), Bob Gaudio (Eric Chambliss), Nick Massi (Hamilton Moore), and Frankie Valli (Jon Hacker), each take a turn at telling us their version of events. We learn about run-ins with the law, and dealings with mobsters and relationships, brand new or dying that fill us in on some of the private details of the lives of public individuals we didn’t know before. But providing the real backbone to all of this are the songs, and the remarkable singing and dancing of an extremely talented group of professionals. Their energy and delight in performing captivate the audience and make for a lovely night at the theatre.
Scenic Designer Klara Zieglerova has provided an urban feel to set with the scaffolding crossing the back of the stage. The projection work of Michael Clark enhances the effect by transporting us through New Jersey and around the country (including showing us a bowling alley sign that proves to have a profound effect on the future of the group). Under the scaffolding are set pieces that are efficiently turned into nightclubs and police stations and even a black and white broadcast from the set of American Bandstand. The lighting (designed by Howell Binkley) completes the magic, giving us both isolated areas of intimacy and the full-on glitz of rock and roll show biz.
This trip takes us from the early 50’s onward and both the costumes (designed by Jess Goldstein) and the wigs and hair design (Charles G. LaPointe) credibly show the passage of time. The choreography of Sergio Trujillo dutifully recreates the stage performances of the time and imbues them with energy and vitality. The full ensemble dancing at the end was especially breathtaking
The focus of the show is, of course, The Four Seasons. Each character is given an opportunity to shine, and the actors take full advantage of those moments. But before I mention the performances of the four band members individually, I must the acknowledge the excellent work of the entire cast. Most of them playing multiple parts, juggling multiple costume changes, and moving with ease to each production numbers and they make all of this look easy and fun. I was impressed with their prominent level of talent and dedication.
Devon Goffman plays a streetwise Tommy DeVito with complete conviction. This is a man who has seen it all, done it all, and survived it all, though sometimes the worse for wear. Mr. Goffman’s charisma shines through Tommy and you can see why his friends would stay loyal to him even when he betrays them. His is a strong, solid performance.
The character of Bob Gaudio is the young one-hit wonder who joins the group and provides the creative spark that sets them on their way to fame. Eric Chambliss makes Bob likable, with an earnestness that is not undermined by his striving for success. Mr. Chambliss is the narrator for the Summer section of the play and his energy drives the action forward just as Bob Gaudio’s talent as a songwriter drives The Four Seasons further down the road to success and this is where the play really comes alive.
Bass players tend to blend into the background of some bands. Not so Nick Massi, portrayed with world-weary wisdom by Hamilton Moore. Nick Massi was the arranger for the band and helped a young Frankie Valli with his singing in the early incarnations of the group before becoming The Four Seasons. Hamilton Moore fits so well in this part and moves from wise guy mentor to a lost man just wanting to go home with skill. He is also an exceptionally talented singer, and his command of the choreography is great.
Of course, you can’t talk about The Four Seasons without talking about Frankie Castelluccio, who, because his name couldn’t fit on a marquee, changed it to Frankie Valli. Jon Hacker is phenomenal in the role. His singing is wonderful. When he gets to hit the stratospheric falsetto notes on songs such as “Sherrie” or “Walk Like a Man,” the stage lights up and the energy seems to jump to everyone onstage and then out to the audience. His dancing conveys the same power. Mr. Hacker also makes the transition from naïve youngster looking up to Tommy for guidance to the weary older entertainer facing the good and bad of life with grace believable. It was a treat watching him work.
The music was a trip, at least for my wife and me, to familiar and beloved territory. And for those unfamiliar with it, this is a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted. It is the songs, presented by a marvelous cast, which makes the story come alive and allows the audience to have a really enjoyable time. So, take a moment in the new year to experience “Jersey Boys,” and start 2022 off with a smile on your face and a song (or songs) in your heart. You’ll be glad you did.
National Touring Company
Dallas Summer Musicals – Best of Broadway
Through January 9, 2022
The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210
For tickets and more information, please visit on the Web at www.dallassummermusicals.org
Individual tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster - 1-800-745-3000