Everyone is familiar with the music of The Four Seasons, a group made up of “Jersey Boys” that skyrocketed to fame in the 1960s. Even those who think they aren’t familiar with this group probably are in one way or another; it was responsible for all kinds of hit songs, many still in play today. Songs like “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” are some of the group’s most famous hits- the kinds of songs that people everywhere know…even if they’re unsure who exactly sings them.
Any uncertainty about this group and all that it has done is completely eliminated thanks to the smash hit Broadway show Jersey Boys, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and onstage now at DPAC, under the skilled direction of Des McAnuff.
The show, which is aptly split into four sections- one for each metaphorical season of the group’s career-starts long before The Four Seasons were even the Four Seasons. It starts when the group was just a ragtag gang of boys run by the cocky, arrogant, and always-in-trouble Tommy DeVito (Matthew Dailey). When Tommy meets young Frankie (Hayden Milanes)– who will eventually become the Frankie Valli- and takes him under his wing, that’s when things really start to heat up for the group. Of course, that’s not to say it’s smooth sailing to success for the group. They go through more than their fair share of fights, name changes, breakups, and crappy gigs on their long climb to fame. The whole, fascinating story, however, is carefully and entertainingly laid out in this fast-moving, smooth, and entirely delightful musical.
And, while the story is about the group and its climb to fame, it’s also a story about friendship and brotherhood brought to life by four very distinct, very well-written, and very well-realized characters…and in a musical that’s basically a biopic, having true-to-life characters is a must.
Fortunately, the four main actors prove more than capable of handling these character roles. Milanes has the perfect voice to play Valli, as well as the perfect measure of boyish charm. Keith Hines is bitterly funny and likeable as Nick Massi, and Drew Seeley subtly portrays the seething genius of Bob Gaudio. The real standout here, however, is Matthew Dailey’s portray of Tommy. Tommy could, by some, be termed the villain of the show, but this story and the characters are so well-rounded that there really aren’t any villains here…just believable young boys with different temperaments and demons trying to deal with their new-found fame. Dailey’s version of Tommy proves a deep understanding of the script’s complexity. With a cocky swagger and a mastery of the Jersey accent, Dailey brings to life a Tommy that, in spite of his many, many flaws, is loveable…in a smarmy kind of way. He provides some of the show’s most comic and genuinely entertaining moments.
Of course, there’s no shortage of entertaining moments here. Sergio Trujillo’s bubbly and 60s-authentic choreography, Jess Goldstein’s glitzy costume design, and the smash-hit soundtrack full of classic-but-still-catchy songs all work together to ensure Jersey Boys is nothing short of a hit. This inspiring and heartwarming story will enthrall everyone, regardless of their background knowledge (or lack thereof) of the band because, at the end of the day, this isn’t a story about a band, but a story about boys who become brothers.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents JERSEY BOYS at 7:30 p.m. April 8 and 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 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).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.