Tuesday’s opening-night performance of the Second National Tour of Jersey Boys at the Durham Performing Arts Center kept the audience clapping, toe tapping, and laughing throughout the entire show. As soon as DPAC patrons took their seats, they were met with a stark, deep gray, industrial-looking set that the spectacular performance would soon fill with energy, color, and light. The simple stage was complemented by the use of a multimedia backdrop on which different graphics were displayed throughout the show to highlight the emotion or theme of a particular song, or simply to denote which venue the Jersey boys were playing at that evening.
The Jersey boys themselves were cast phenomenally to resemble the original foursome, and each delivered a terrific and unique performance. Tommy DeVito’s (Matthew Dailey) narration captivated the audience from the very start with his perfectly portrayed nonchalant, bad boy attitude. Nick Massi (Keith Hines) also was spot on in his portrayal of the oblivious, almost oaf-like bassist. Massi’s deadpan lines throughout were a constant source of laughter; and in more than one instance, he eased tension with his comic relief.
Frankie Valli (Hayden Milanes) did a wonderful job transitioning from a young and naïve Frankie Casteluccio, to the more experienced and hardened Franki Valli by the production’s final scene. Bob Gaudio (Drew Seeley), who eventually took over narrating later in the show, was completely convincing as a good, wholesome and eager young man who was clearly not from the Jersey neighborhood.
This foursome of actors in the current tour of Jersey Boys interacted with incredible authenticity, whether they were onstage performing or having a heated argument. All four men were amazing singers; and when they performed together in the play, their harmonies, perfectly in-sync dance moves, and overall group chemistry combined to create an explosive performance of the classic hit songs. Through several numbers, audience members clapped along; and throughout the entire show, their toes never stopped tapping.
Several people cried out with enthusiastic “woo!’s” when the band struck up their favorite songs, particularly in “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like A Man.” The band sounded very tight; and the production had no pit orchestra, but rather just various instruments playing either on or offstage, depending on the scene.
Songs, interspersed between moments of sadness and drama throughout the play, paralleled the real life Jersey boys, who on the surface were an awesome and popular musical group, but below the surface had many problems. The show mixed heavy, sad material with high-energy songs; and for every sad moment, there was a moment of comic relief waiting right around the corner.
One of the most amazing moments in the entire production was when Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons were performing; and the audience experienced the illusion of being backstage at the show, looking out past the blindingly bright lights into a sea of flashing cameras, as the men’s silhouettes sang and danced with their backs turned, just as in the musical’s signature logo.
Overall, the amazingly talented cast delivered energetic performances of The Four Seasons’ classic songs, as well as incredible and authentic acting performances to match, which combined to make for a spectacular show that would be worth seeing over and over again.
SECOND OPINION: April 8th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh review by Jeffrey Karasarides: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Reviews-JERSEY-BOYS-National-Tour-at-Durham-Performing-Arts-Center-20150408, April 7th preview by BWW News Desk: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/JERSEY-BOYS-National-Tour-to-Return-to-DPAC-in-April-2015-20150406, and April 1st interview with Matthew Dailey, conducted by Jeffrey Karasarides: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Interviews-Matthew-Dailey-of-JERSEY-BOYS-National-Tour-20150401; April 8th Durham, NC Herald-Sun review by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x531820301/REVIEW-Jersey-Boys-musical-has-it-all and April 2nd preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/x642201772/JERSEY-BOYS-Star-Drew-Seeley-familiar-to-Disney-fans and (Note: You must subscribe to read these articles); April 8th Raleigh, NC Triangle Arts and Entertainment review by Susie Potter: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/04/smash-hit-jersey-boys-is-a-delightful-story-thats-as-much-about-friendship-as-it-is-about-fame/; April 7th Raleigh, NC WNCN interview with cast members conducted by Valonda Calloway and Alex Butler for “My Carolina Today”: http://www.wncn.com/story/28740904/jersey-boys-at-dpac; and March 16th New York, NY BroadwayWorld.com interview with Keith Hines, conducted by Kathy Strain: http://www.broadwayworld.com/national-tours/article/BWW-Interviews-JERSEY-BOYS-Keith-Hines-Talks-Getting-the-Role-of-Nick-Massi-20150316. (Note: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the April 7th Triangle Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/04/oh-what-a-night-jersey-boys-is-back-at-dpac/.)
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents JERSEY BOYS at 7:30 p.m. April 9, 8 p.m. April 10, 2 and 8 p.m. April 11, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. April 12 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $46.54-$132.01 (including fees). Click here for DPAC Special Offers.
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), email@example.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/where-to-buy.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1551009.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.
SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/jersey-boys-1< and https://www.facebook.com/events/781141815253621/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour/video.html.
TOUR: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour/index.html. TOUR CAST: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour/tour2.html.
TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour/creative.html.
DPAC NEWS RELEASE: http://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/jersey-boys-returns-to-dpac.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 8 p.m. Friday, April 10th, performance.
CONTENT ADVISORY: DPAC notes that this musical contains “Adult themes and strong language” and is “Not recommended for children.”
AGE RESTRICTION: On its website, DPAC writes, “All guests require a ticket, regardless of age. Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted to the theater. Children must be able to sit quietly in their own seat without disturbing other guests. As a further courtesy to our guests, DPAC recommends one parent or chaperone for every one child in attendance.”
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (rock and pop group, 1960-present): http://www.frankievallifourseasons.com/ (official website), http://gilgweb.com/initial.html (official unofficial website), http://rockhall.com/inductees/the-four-seasons (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum), http://www.vocalgroup.org/inductees/the_four_seasons.html (Vocal Group Hall of Fame), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Seasons_%28band%29 (Wikipedia).
Jersey Boys (2004 La Jolla Playhouse, 2005 Broadway, and 2008 West End musical): http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/ (official website), http://jerseyboysblog.com/ (Jersey Boys Blog), http://ibdb.com/production.php?id=394781 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Boys (Wikipedia).
Study Guide: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/studyguide/StudyGuide.pdf (official website).
Teacher’s Guide: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/studyguide/TeachersGuide.pdf (official website).
Marshall Brickman (book): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=394782 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Brickman (Wikipedia).
Rick Elice (book): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=394783 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Elice (Wikipedia).
Bob Gaudio (music): http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibits/C141 (Songwriters Hall of Fame), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=394784 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Gaudio (Wikipedia).
Bob Crewe (lyrics, 1930-2014): http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibits/C142?exhibitId=142 (Songwriters Hall of Fame), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=394785 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Crewe (Wikipedia).
Des McAnuff (director): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=15599 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Des_McAnuff (Wikipedia).
Sergio Trujillo (choreographer): http://sergiotrujillo.biz/ (official website), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=62708 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergio_Trujillo (Wikipedia).
Jersey Boys (2014 film): http://www.jerseyboysmovie.com/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1742044/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Boys_%28film%29 (Wikipedia).
Sarah Rose McQuillan is a full-time student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studies public relations and political science. She has loved the performing and visual arts since childhood and keeps this love alive by writing reviews for Triangle Arts and Entertainment and the Daily Tar Heel. Sarah is a native of upstate New York, and enjoys reading, yoga, coffee, and her dog.