by San Veliz
Jersey Boys rocks Toronto and draws in crowds young and old to the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
Starring Jonny Wexler, who previously played Joe Pesci in past touring productions, returns as he dazzles the stage as Frankie Valli.
The story follows the life of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Each member of the Four Seasons narrates the story from different section of their lives, starting with Tommy Devito, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi and lastly, Frankie Valli. The actors who portrayed the Four Seasons have amazing vocals and their voices complimented each other perfectly, but don’t let the poor New Jersey accents fool you. If the audience was looking carefully, they would’ve noticed they weren’t playing their instruments. Mind you, in one scene they did play their instruments and played them well, however when it came to the singing, dancing and playing their instruments? Let’s just say they were no triple threat.
And who would’ve thought Joe Pesci would be the shows comic relief? Yes, Joe Pesci known for portraying tough guys made the audience laugh. Pesci is very close friends with The Four Seasons and still is to this day.
The crowd goes absolutely wild when Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You is performed. It’s the debut of Valli as an artist with the band, not just The Four Seasons.
I now understand why this show left its mark on Broadway and continues to tour around North America. It isn’t your typical rags to riches story nor is it your average extravagant musical. The set had simple lightning and a screen that would project 60s style art during certain songs. In certain scenes, the crew brought out old cameras that would project the performers onto the screen in black and white, as if we were watching American Bandstand. These were the underdogs who followed their dreams, were knocked down in different ways with people never giving them a chance, money complications, loss of love and loss of a child. If you have an audience trying their best not to sing and dance a long to a show, then you’ve done it right.
The history of the show
Jersey Boys premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in 2004, in an out of town run. The show then premiered on Broadway on October 4th, 2005 and ran for over ten years, closing in 2017 only to reopen Off-Broadway again at New World Stages a few months later. Many productions have hit almost all corners of the world, from Melbourne, Sweden and even Japan. The production in London’s West End ran for nine years.
The Grammy and Tony winning soundtrack features Oh, What a Night (December ‘63), Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and Who Loves You.
The jukebox musical follows popular band, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, from singing under streetlamps in Belleville, New Jersey, countless name changes, to travelling all over America and how they’ve written their hit singles and handling the price of fame. Gaining popularity in the 60s, 70s and 80s before and during the British Invasion.
Riding the wave of popularity of its tenth anniversary on Broadway, Jersey Boys was made into a movie. Starring John Lloyd Young, who played Frankie Vallie in the Original Broadway Cast. The movie was not as popular.
A line in the show that sticks out is when Valli says “I’ll probably be touring till I’m ninety”. Although the original members of The Four Seasons are no longer performing as a group, Frankie Valli at age 84 is still touring and performing, looks like he was right.