‘Jersey Boys’ … on stage & screen

By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 


For nearly nine years, “Jersey Boys” has been a staple on the big stage in New York City. And its incredible run, which includes a Tony Award for “Best Musical” in 2006, continues to this day as the 13th-longest-running show in Broadway history. And it’s now a major motion picture, partly shot in Kearny.

“Jersey Boys,” the story of Frankie Valli, who grew up in nearby Newark and who also lived in Belleville, and The Four Seasons — and their unprecedented rise from ordinary, struggling Jersey guys to being acclaimed as among the most noted singers in American history.

It brings the audience from those early days in Newark all the way to their eventual selection to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Audiences learn they took their name “The Four Seasons” as a representation of the four seasons of the year, as each member takes on a season — and tells stories of what went on during those seasons.

Photos courtesy Joan Marcus Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie Valli
Photos courtesy Joan Marcus
Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie Valli


While all of this happens, audiences learn that despite their huge success — it wasn’t easy for the guys to get out of the poverty they knew so well — and it wasn’t easy to escape the influence of the mob, which had a strong hold on Italian-Americans in New Jersey at that time.

Yet what separates this musical from so many others on Broadway is the sheer reality that everything in it is based on real events. Nothing is contrived. And it’s all riveting.

On the show’s website, three major critics who took in the performance had nothing but praise for it, including Clive Barnes, of The New York Post.

“It’s terrific!” Barnes wrote. “The cast is plain wonderful. The book is as tight and absorbing as an Arthur Miller play. ‘Jersey Boys’ is a show dynamically alive in music while, as a drama, it catches the very texture, almost the actual smell, of its time.”

Pat Collins, who used to review shows for Channel 9, WWOR, says no matter who you are or what age you happen to be, a night at “Jersey Boys” will result in enjoyment.

“Oh what a night you’ll have,” Collins said of the show. “A phenomenal hit, with more show-stopping hit songs than any new show on Broadway. It’s impossible not to love ‘Jersey Boys’ and this amazing cast. A spectacular, behind-the-scenes tell-all pop musical.”

If you’re a fan of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, you’ll love getting to hear songs such as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “December 1963 (Oh What a Night)” and countless others.

But perhaps most important to note is shows are only planned through Jan. 4, 2015 — but that certainly doesn’t mean the show is coming to an end. But it might be a good idea to head over to the Big Apple to see it soon.

The show is playing at the August Wilson Theatre at 245 W. 52nd St., between Broadway and Eighth Ave., and runs 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

Photos courtesy Joan Marcus Matt Bogart (Nick Massi), Dominic Scaglione Jr. (Frankie Valli), Drew Gehling (Bob Gaudio) and Andy Karl
Photos courtesy Joan Marcus
Matt Bogart (Nick Massi), Dominic Scaglione Jr. (Frankie Valli), Drew Gehling (Bob Gaudio) and Andy Karl


Tickets are priced from $47 and $162 and vary depending on the date and time of the show and can be purchased online at www.telecharge.com.

There are shows every day of the week except Mondays, with matinees only on Sundays, and two performances (one matinee and one in the evening) on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

And so the bottom line is if you want some great ‘60s music and a great night out, all for an affordable price, you’ll want to get to New York City to see “Jersey Boys” on the stage.

But don’t forget, also, there’s a “Jersey Boys” movie version that you can now see on the big screen. The movie opened June 20 and is directed and produced by Clint Eastwood.

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