Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jersey Boys in Vegas

I just returned from Las Vegas (happy 21st to me!), and I thought I should jot down a review for the show I saw there: Jersey Boys.  The show tells the story of the band The Four Seasons through the perspectives of each of its original members.  As you watch their rise to fame, you see the families they leave behind and the tension between them build.  Tommy DeVito's tendency to overspend becomes just one of their problems.  But of course none of this drama happens without belting out some of The Four Seasons' hits!  If you're into how-they-began stories, Jersey Boys makes for a fun ride even if you're not familiar with the group.

(Source: Wikipedia)

I'll start with the most important thing.  The actor playing Frankie Valli?  He has a voice like the sunrise.  That lead singer has a range I could never hope to reach after decades of singing lessons, and the other members did not have bad voices either.  My sister adores The Four Seasons and is the reason I know their music.  During the show, she would often clap before the song was even over.  Not that I blamed her.  Those songs had a true sixties/seventies swankiness to them that I wanted to sing and dance along to.  Additionally, I liked hearing Bob Gaudio's backstory for the songs he wrote.  Several of them were placed in appropriate parts of the narrative to resonant with whatever scene just happened.  To be honest, the plot didn't have much more to it than the characters' monologues, but I found them interesting enough not to care.  Tommy, Frankie, Bob, and even Nick had a chance to bask in the attention, and they made for funny and honest commentary throughout.

The staging for Jersey Boys deserves a review of its own.  There were so many moving parts - literally!  After the intermission, a drum set slid onto the stage as the drummer played, but then kept moving until it disappeared into the other end.  Couches, tables, bars, and more rotated around so quickly you barely had time to register that the scene had changed right in front of you.  For one scene, lights blared at the audience while the performers played with their backs to us like they were in a concert and we were watching from behind.  One of the coolest moments in the show.  It placed me right with The Four Seasons as I saw even their concerts from their point of view.

Jersey Boys provided fantastic music, emotional backstory, and nice one-liners that had me cheering at the end.  It's a shame that the show is closing out in September.  If you happen to have the chance to drive down to Vegas to see this for yourself, I would 10/10 recommend.  If not, well, you can rent the movie at least.

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