“Jersey Boys” – ASU Gammage

This review aired on KBAQ July 24, 2014

ENTERTAINING AND DYNAMIC “JERSEY BOYS” BACK IN TOWN AT ASU GAMMAGE

“JERSEY BOYS”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

The entertaining musical “Jersey Boys” is back in town and the national touring company is in top form as it duplicates the dynamic original Broadway cast staging as it tells the story of The Four Seasons development.

It’s rare that the Valley has such captivating musical entertainment during the hot summer months and “Jersey Boys” is a testament to ASU Gammage becoming a year-round home for touring Broadway hits.  Be warned that the generally upbeat show’s first act as the Four Seasons become a major success turns more somber and reflective in the second act as the group gets involved in petty squabbles that taint their outward success.

“Jersey Boys” focuses on the group’s members – Tommy DeVito, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, and Nick Massi – all New Jersey Italian boys who captured the right sound musically to soar to the top of the music charts and who entertained with vibrant gusto as they captured the young rock-n-roll crowd.  Like any successful friends, petty annoyances become big issues as each member discovers what pleases him and initial tensions turn hostile and disruptive.  But as challenging as the group’s history is, you can’t fault a quartet that created a hit-tune catalogue including such songs as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”  Each of the many songs used in the show plays a significant role in the group’s development and provides the musical with dynamic entertainment.

The tour opened to the press Wednesday and thoroughly delighted a sold-out audience.  While “Jersey Boys” can be considered a juke box musical because it uses the best Four Seasons songs, director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo stages “Jersey Boys” with stylish abandon and sparkling splash so even though the tunes are familiar, the musical’s story is always interesting.

The best of the cast includes the four performers playing the Four Seasons – Nicolas Dromard’s Tommy, Hayden Milanes’ Frankie, Quinn Vanantwerp’s Bob, and Adam Zelasko’s Nick.  They each have stellar moments even though they don’t always carbon the original performers but they provide what each member contributed to the group’s success.  The supporting cast handles others who crossed the group’s path with definition and distinction.  The onstage orchestra gives the songs the pulsating beat they demand.

“Jersey Boys” tells the fascinating story of The Four Seasons but it also entertains with sparkling musical entertainment so it should not be missed.  “Jersey Boys” earns five stars out of five and is only here for two weeks through August 3.  For tickets, call the ASU Gammage box office at 480-965-6678 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Grade: A