I might as well come clean right up front in this review, I adore the theater. I love music, especially vintage rock n roll, and I live for pop-culture history. So when heading out to see Jersey Boys begin it’s run at San Francisco's legendary Orpheum theater, my expectations were high. I mean, c’mon, we’re talking about the Four Seasons. Your childhood was lacking if their music wasn’t at least part of growing up. With music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the Tony and Grammy award winning Jersey Boys should be at least decent right?
Nope. A show with rave reviews and music you already love, how could it possibly exceed expectations? I have no idea - but it did.
If you’re not familiar, Jersey Boys follows the Four Season from its working-class mob touched roots in Belleville, New Jersey to international success, and all that came with it. The musical is divided into seasons, and each season being narrated by a different member of the band, leader Tommy Devito (Matthew Dailey) narrates in the spring, the writer and boy wonder who pushed the Four Seasons to fame, Bob Gaudio (Drew Seeley) in the summer, the group’s self titled, "Ringo" Nick Massi (Keith Hines) in the fall and the star Frankie Valli (Aaron De Jesus) in the winter.
All four leads brought something compelling and believable to the stage that was hard to ignore. Matthew Dailey’s Tommy Devito left you feeling both compassion and loathing for the man that in the end was his own worst enemy. While Keith Hines's Nick Massi brought the most laughs (and I mean by A LOT) from the crowd and the one liner we’ve been using in our house ever since (I think it’s time I start my own band…).
But it was Drew Seeley’s Bob Gaudio and Aaron De Jesus’s Frankie Valli that made you fall in love with the story. By the end their friendship was at the core of the story. And both men left you realizing the success these two men, in real life, earned could not have happened to a nicer couple of boys from Jersey.
The chosen songs were definitely picked from the cream of the crop of the Four Season’s musical library, no easy task for a group of men whose musical legacy spans more than a few decades. Songs include "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Sherry", "December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)", "My Eyes Adored You", "Stay", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "Working My Way Back to You" and "Rag Doll", among many others, each one causing a mass sing along and cheer from the crowd.
The only bad thing I can think of to say about it? As I recall, It ended much too soon…
SHNsf hosts Jersey Boys at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theater through February 14th. The tour then makes its way to Palm Desert and begins criss-crossing the U.S. Check the Jersey Boys website to find out when the show will be near you.