On April 7-12, the Second National Tour of Jersey Boys will roar back in to the 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art Durham Performing Arts Center, in the American Tobacco Historic District of the Bull City, for eight high-octane performances. Originally produced in October of 2004 at the La Jolla Playhouse in California, and produced on Broadway since 2005 and on tour since 2006 by Dodger Theatricals et al., this rousing backstage musical chronicles the meteoric rise of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the mean streets of the Mafia-infested Italian-American neighborhoods of Newark, NJ, to the top of the Hit Parade and international fame. But Jersey Boys is not just another jukebox musical; it is an unflinching look at the origins of the American super-group The Four Seasons, and it is Rated R (mostly for Sopranos-like language).
One of the few American rock-and-pop bands to thrive after the mid-1960s British Invasion, led by The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the original lineup of The Four Seasons included lead singer Frankie Valli (nee Francesco Stephen Castelluccio), whose falsetto vocals were the group’s trademark; tenor and keyboard player Bob Gaudio; baritone and lead guitarist Tommy DeVito; and bass and bass guitarist Nick Massi (nee Nicholas Macioci, 1927-2000).
“They were all kind of rowdy kids,” claims Keith Hines, who plays Nick Massi in the touring version of Jersey Boys. The 29-year-old actor from Ponca City, OK, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in musical theater from Oklahoma City University in 2007 and 2009, respectively, adds, “They wanted to make something of themselves. They used music as their vessel…. They were very passionate about music; I’m very passionate about musical theater. So, in a lot of ways, we’re very similar.”
Hines first auditioned for Jersey Boys in 2009, shortly after he moved to the Big Apple. “But I was far too young [then],” he says. Plus, he admits that he didn’t have all the skills. So, in the next five years, he worked on his skills, especially dance, and landed the role of Four Seasons’ bass singer, bass guitarist, and vocal arranger Nick Massi in the 2014 auditions for the Second National Tour, which commenced on Oct. 21, 2014 in San Diego, CA.
During the rehearsal process, he notes, “We sat around a table for a whole day, if not two, with [Broadway production stage manager] Richard Hester. He explained what it was like to grow up on those streets [in Newark]…. We did a lot of digging into the origin of those guys….”
Hines says that he doesn’t feel any added pressure because he’s playing a real person, and not some playwright’s fictional creation. “Our responsibility is to capture the essence of these guys, not to be a perfect replication [of them] …,” he says. “Frankie Valli was the face of the group; Nick Massi was a background character, so there’s not as much pressure to portray him.”
Originally formed 1960 as The Four Lovers and known since 1967 as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the group scored five number-one hits: “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (both in 1962), “Walk Like a Man” (1963), “Rag Doll” (1964), and “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” (1975). As a solo artist, Frankie Valli had two more number-one hits with “My Eyes Adored You” (1975) and “Grease” (1978), even though probably his best-remembered solo recording, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (1967), peaked at number two on the pop charts. The group has since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1990) and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame (1999).
After having its world premiere on Oct. 5, 2004 at the La Jolla Playhouse, Jersey Boys made its Broadway debut, directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, on Nov. 6, 2005 at the August Wilson Theatre, where it is still playing, having racked up 3,900 performances as of April 5, 2015.
This mega-hit musical, which features music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, originally starred John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, Christian Hoff as Tommy DeVito, J. Robert Spencer as Nick Massi, and Daniel Reichard as Bob Gaudio. It received eight 2006 Tony Award® nominations and won the Tony for Best Musical and three other Tonys.
John Lloyd Young reprised his Tony-winning role as Frankie Valli in the 2014 motion-picture version of Jersey Boys, directed by Clint Eastwood. The film co-starred Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito, Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi, and Christopher Walken as Frankie’s biggest fan, local mob boss Gyp DeCarlo.
In addition to Keith Hines as Nick Massi, the Second National Tour of Jersey Boys stars Hayden Milanes as Frankie Valli, Drew Seeley as Bob Gaudio, Matthew Dailey as Tommy DeVito, Barry Anderson as Bob Gaudio’s songwriting partner and The Four Seasons’ record producer Bob Crewe, Thomas Fiscella as Gyp DeCarlo, and Jonny Wexler as Joey (i.e., the young Joe Pesci). (Before he became a big movie star — before Goodfellas (1990) and My Cousin Vinny (1992) — Pesci was a part of the Newark music scene and actually introduced Bob Gaudio to the other three members of what would become The Four Seasons.)
The tour cast also includes (in alphabetical order): Tommaso Antico as Hank Majewski, Jaycie Dotin as Lorraine, Marlana Dunn as Mary, De’lon Grant as Barry Belson, John Rochette as Norm Waxman, Leslie Rochette as Francine, and Keith White as Billy Dixon. Miguel Jarquin-Moreland is the Frankie Valli alternate Swings include fight captain and assistant dance captain Wes Hart, dance captain Bryan Hindle, Austin Owen, and Jenna Nicole Schoen.
In addition to original Broadway director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, the tour’s creative team includes associate director West Hyler, associate choreographers Danny Austin and Kelly Devine, scenic designer Klara Zieglerova, lighting designer Howell Binkley, costume designer Jess Goldstein, wig/hair designer Charles LaPointe, sound designer Steve Canyon Kennedy, projection designer Michael Clark, fight director Steve Rankin, dialect coach Stephen Gabis, production supervisor Richard Hester, music coordinator John Miller, technical supervisor Peter Fulbright/Tech Production Services, conductor Ben Hartman, production stage manager Mark Tynan, stage manager Jay Carey, and assistant stage manager Lauren Pennington. The show also features music supervision, vocal/dance arrangements and incidental music by Ron Melrose and orchestrations by Steve Orich.
Keith Hines says, “Nick Massi was dark and mysterious. He was the musical genius [of the group], and he was the guy who told the other guys what parts to sing [until Bob Gaudio joined the group]…. He was very much the ‘Ringo‘ of The Four Seasons. That’s pretty much why he ended up leaving the group.”
Hines says. “The movie was done very well. But when you see a stage play, you are in the room with the people who are telling the story, and you can feel the energy….
“People come out of their seats,” says Keith Hines. “The music takes [older] people back to the times in their lives when they were young….”
The Four Seasons’ hits were such an important part of soundtrack of the Wonder Years of Baby Boomer generation, but Keith Hines says, the Jersey Boys songbook has a universal appeal. “This is pretty much the music of everyone’s generation,” claims Hines. “It’s [still] used in commercials and movies.”
SECOND OPINION: April 10th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh preview by the 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 2nd Durham, NC Herald-Sun 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 this article); 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.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents JERSEY BOYS at 7:30 p.m. April 7-9, 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), firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 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).
Keith Hines (actor who plays Nick Massi): http://www.keith-hines.com/ (official website), http://www.keithhinesfitness.com/ (Keith Hines Fitness) and https://www.facebook.com/keithhinesjr (Facebook page).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing email@example.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)