With every element of a well-made musical, JERSEY BOYS might just be the best of the past decade's jukebox musical trend. As good as the music of The Four Seasons may be, without a compelling story and strong performances it wouldn't work. The tour of JERSEY BOYS at the Winspear Opera House through July 25 is the full package.
This Tony-award winning musical boasts the energy of a cover band with the facts of a documentary. The story of the men with blue-collar Jersey roots who rose to international acclaim as The Four Seasons began with three men singing under street lamps.
Tommy DeVito (Colby Foytik) firsts brings Nick Massi (Brandon Andrus) to the band, soon discovering the young Franki Castelluccio (Brad Weinstock), who later becomes Valli. From the beginning this is a story of brotherhood, of men reaching for their dreams, as well as a way out of their neighborhood.
When they search for original songs and a fourth band member, Joe Pesci – yep, the actor – finds Bob Gaudio (Jason Kappus) who writes their first hit "Sherry."
The performers playing the four eponymous men are dead-on doppelgangers, demonstrated on a large video screen during scenes in which they are on the Ed Sullivan show. And they bring a vivacity to songs like "Walk Like a Man" and "My Eyes Adored You" that can bring the audience to their feet one song and a tear of nostalgia the next.
The true story has a dramatic arc as dynamic as any well-crafted fiction. When DeVito's ties to the mob become a liability, the boys must re-group and make tough decisions. The story is told between and through the songs, without loosing its grip on an audience that cheers at every recognizable note.
Focusing on the boys while on tour, the women in this show are underdeveloped, serving primarily as plot points. And for the most part the women are forgettable, particularly the one female song "My Boyfriend's Back," which felt limp in a line-up with high-octane male vocalists.
Nearly all of the songs in JERSEY BOYS pre-date 1975, but the music spans generations. This is a must-see show for audiences young and old and if like me, you caught the 2008 tour stop at Dallas Summer Musicals, this is a must-see twice.
JERSEY BOYS is presented by the AT&T Performing Arts Center, as part of the Lexus Broadway Series now through July 25. For tickets visit attpac.org/jerseyboys or call 214-880-0202.