For most of last week, Oct. 6–11, the world famous musical “Jersey Boys” was performed at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre to the delight of its audience. The musical showcased the lives of The Four Seasons’ original members, their origin stories, and what transpired after they became famous.
The play began in a New Jersey neighborhood narrated by the band’s lead guitarist, Tommy DeVito (Matthew Dailey), who proceeded to inform the audience that the only way out of this neighborhood was to join the army, join the mob or become a star. Thus began a journey to make something of his musical trio.
With the current members frequenting the jail, DeVito decided to add Francis Castelluccio (Miguel Jarquin-Moreland) to the band as the lead singer. Eventually, the new trio realizes that they needed a better writer and are introduced to their final member, Bob Gaudio (Drew Seeley), who had already become famous with his hit “Short Shorts.”
After the band established its membership, the musical began in earnest, breaking into song at every opportunity. Of course, acquiring the four musicians was hardly the only thing to make The Four Seasons a success; for much of the start of “Jersey Boys,” the quartet bounced from one small performance to another, changing their band’s name nearly as often as their venue.
The musical was written with the intent of following the band’s eventual moniker under which they became famous. The first part was titled Spring, and as such, the band started off from nothing and made something of themselves.
Once the Four Seasons took their name from a bowling alley where they had tried for a performance, the play’s Summer portion began, heralded by some of the band’s most famous songs including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.”
After the intermission, the show continued with Fall, where DeVito’s gambling and borrowing finally caught up with the band, wreaking havoc, and generally driving the band apart. With him, Nick Massi (Keith Hines) commented that he was not getting much recognition as the band’s fourth member, and was tired of the road. Fall was, quite logically, followed by Winter, where Castelluccio, now Frankie Valli, attempts to continue the band.
Each of the musical’s songs was performed with gusto, and the audience could tell that the performers had worked hard to emulate the real band. Jarquin-Moreland even managed the unique high notes in many of Valli’s songs.
While the focus was placed entirely on the musical aspects, “Jersey Boys” was not merely an excuse to perform covers of popular ‘60s rock music; it featured humor and relationship drama as well. For instance, near the beginning of the play, Valli promises that he will become “bigger than Sinatra,” to which another quips “only if you stand on a chair.”
The historical accuracy of “Jersey Boys” is also to be commended, but also to be taken with knowledge that artistic license is a very real and rather useful tool when creating a play of any kind, so this play should be regarded solely as entertainment.
In this regard, “Jersey Boys” has, for the most part, succeeded. While any play can suffer from having dull moments, this production’s lulls are each intrinsic to the plot and are short-lived, placed artfully between some of the best songs of the performance. Overall, “Jersey Boys” proved an impressive production.