Jersey Boys begins in France during the year 2000 when “Ces Soirées-La,” French for “Oh, What a Night,” is the number one hit. Tommy Devito (Colby Foytik) then explains how the song was a hit over 30 years ago, and the show quickly jumps back to recount how he, Nick Massi (Brandon Andrus), Frankie Valli (Brad Weinstock) and Bob Guadio (Jason Kappus) became the Four Seasons. Through a series of highs and lows, the audience is taken on a journey through their rise to fame and ultimately their break-up, all set against a backdrop of their famous music.
Jersey Boys, winner of the 2005 Tony Award ® for Best Musical, is playing a three-week return engagement at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre through June 10 and closes the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta 2011-2012 series. Although it’s a different touring company (the First National Tour played the Fox Theatre in 2009 and this is the Second National Tour), the show is just as good (if not better) than it was when it wowed Atlanta in 2009.
The production quality, sets, costume design, lighting, and onstage band are all top-notch. Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s book for the musical is smartly written, making perfect use of Bob Guadio’s music and Bob Crewe’s lyrics. At times it feels that the some of the songs such as “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” and “My Eyes Adored You” were actually written for the musical and not hits of the Four Seasons. But the ultimate success of this musical relies on the four leads.
Foytik and Andrus deliver solid vocals and the right amount of charisma to play DeVito and Massi. At times, Weinstock’s voice can’t quite handle all of Valli’s notes, but he makes up for it with his charm and conviction. The notes of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” better fit Weinstock’s voice, allowing him to deliver it flawlessly. The stand out of the group is Kappus as Guadio, whose outstanding vocals and energy draws attention whenever onstage. All four are comfortable and in sync with each other onstage and their performances of “Sherry,” “Dawn (Go Away)” and “Rag Doll” are magical.
It’s easy to see why Jersey Boys has been such a successful Broadway, Las Vegas, Chicago, London and touring production: it’s a really good time. The quick-paced nature of the show doesn’t allow for disinterest. Jersey Boys is one of the few musicals out there that really is a pleaser for most adults (women and men alike) of all ages. (Due to adult situations and language, the show isn’t appropriate for children.) Whether someone grew up listening to the music of the Four Seasons or Jersey Boys is one’s first introduction to them, it’s hard to not get caught up in the music and story of these legends.
Jersey Boys runs approximately two hours and 45 minutes with one fifteen minute intermission. For tickets and more information, please visit the Fox Theatre’s website or Broadway Across America Atlanta’s website.
– A. Wesley