Hubby and I are back from the show! Wow! It was quite a show. Even Hubby, a staunch anti-musical man, was on his feet applauding with gusto by the end! Yes, he was actually applauding like he meant it! AND after the show he said that Jersey Boys was his third favorite musical so far after Brooklyn (first only because it was the shortest so far) and Rain (a Beatles tribute). Not bad!
For me, I thought that this was a very, very good musical experience. While I have heard of Frankie Valli (I mean, who hasn't??) and the 4 Seasons, I am not of the correct generation to be a "real" fan. After this musical, however, I am a fan!
While I have seen several other musicals which are considered "jukebox" musicals - musicals showcasing a body of work by a musician or a group of musicians (Ring of Fire, Movin' Out, Mama Mia) - this is my favorite by far. The music of the group seems to effortlessly weave in and out of the story. And the story - it is a REAL story. It tells the history of the group but in a way that lets you in on the emotions of the time not just the facts.
A minimal set design and props enhance the story of the group and the music rather than taking away from it. The musicians who accompany the music are sometimes seen onstage and sometimes play off stage. I wasn't able to determine if the four main characters were actually playing or not but, they did a credible job (usually I can spot a fake a mile away!).
All four main characters - Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi, and Bob Gaudio - take turns giving their version of events leading to the group's stardom and the eventual dissolving of the original group. Each narrator brings a different slant on the story and in turn they each become fleshed out characters who bring you along for their trip down memory lane. I particularly liked Nick Massi's turn as narrator since his character seems to always be discounted by the group.
In all, I think this production was very artfully done. The story and the music share top billing for this "jukebox" musical and the staging is masterful. The ending is especially well done as the group makes an appearance together for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you happen to see ads for this musical, I say RUN to the phone or computer and snatch up tickets as fast as you can. I don't think you will be disappointed!