The audience surrendered their hearts to Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito on the opening night of “Jersey Boys” and left the Fox Theater with a spring in their steps, a big smile on their faces, and The Four Seasons’ songs forever embedded in their mind.
The affection the audience has for this smash-hit musical was evident early on, as people applauded songs after only a couple of notes, stood up after “Sherry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and cheered loudly for many other mega-pop hits of the 1960s and 1970s.
It was quite the love fest. No doubt the packed house was filled with fans returning for yet another tour of the 2006 Tony winner for Best Musical. It is still going strong on the road and on Broadway, in London and Las Vegas. I’ve seen it a few times, and I never get tired of it. It’s one of my favorites.
The appeal is the remarkable true story of four blue-collar kids from the wrong side of the tracks who make it big in the music business, ultimately selling 175 million records worldwide.
The story by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman is so well-constructed, and the momentum builds in such a brilliant way to resonate with generations.
But it is that music — that unmistakable sound, those peppy orchestrations and those harmonious voices — that create the magic. When the horn section comes out on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” it is a chill-inducing moment. The “Who Loves You” finale is another goosebumps experience.
The direction is slick — the action moves briskly, and the musical numbers are staged splendidly with Sergio Trujillo’s dynamic choreography.
This particular production shines with its tight quartet. Aaron Dejesus soars singing Frankie Valli’s ballads, and engages as the determined, talented young singer with the amazing falsetto.
Drew Seeley is also strong as the wunderkind Bob Gaudio, a gift from heaven to the guys, who wrote those catchy pop hits.
Matthew Dailey played Tommy DeVito with the necessary bravado and bluster and Keith Hines brought down the house with his deadpan delivery as Nick Massi, the quiet bass player.
Among the supporting cast, Barry Anderson was funny as the flamboyant Bob Crewe and Thomas Fiscella struck the right tone as the mob boss on their side.
This is a classic American dream story, not without its drama and struggles. The way the audience responded indicates “Jersey Boys” is destined to be a timeless classic. Its beat goes on ... and we’re very happy to share this experience.
- When:through May 22
- Where: Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand, St. Louis
- MetroTix: 314-534-1111