By ERIKA SASSEVILLE and JACOB FROELICH
Based on the true story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Jersey Boys ran for 11 years on Broadway and the national tour is now playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through April 29th. The story follows four Italian-American boys from the wrong side of the tracks who went from a life of breaking into jewelry stores and into for themselves breaking into the Pop charts alongside the Beatles in the 1960s. The musical takes the audience through the rise and fall of The Four Seasons from the perspective of each member. We witness their friendships, their professional wins as well as their personal losses.
At times it was hard to tell if we were watching a musical or attending a live Four Seasons concert. All the voices on stage were truly exceptional in terms of vocal performance and the leads were all impressive in their ability to mimic and take on the characteristics of the real life band members. In addition to the stunning Frankie Valli (Ben Bogen) Tommaso Antico as Bob Gaudio, Corey Greenan as Tommy DeVito and Chris Stevens as Nick Massi all delivered convincing role play and phenomenal vocals. With the audience clapping and singing along at times, it was easy to feel as if we had slipped back in time a few decades. Stepping in for Jonny Wexler as Frankie Valli was Swing performer and Assistant Dance Captain, Ben Bogen. Bogen, like Valli before him, has the voice of an angel. He slides flawlessly into the group chemistry between the boys and leads the pack with his golden falsetto.
While it may seem natural to write Jersey Boys off as yet another one of Broadway’s “jukebox musicals” we encourage you to reconsider. There is no cheesy dialogue or snippets of a popular song to stitch a fictional story together. Jersey Boys is a success not only because of the stellar performances but also because of the truth and emotion behind the entire production. Moments of tense disagreements between Tommy and Frankie tell an intense story of coming of age. Things aren’t always as they seem and when the group becomes aware of some unsettling news, relationships are tried and tempers flare. The audience gets a peek into the major challenges the group had to overcome before during and after their rise to becoming one of the best-selling bands in the history of the world. All of this is accomplished in a presentational narrative, showing the audience what it felt like to see the group live. For lovers of early popular rock and especially those who loved the music of The Four Seasons, Jersey Boys is a must see.
Tickets on sale at the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis), by calling (800)-982-2787 or by clicking to HennepinTheatreTrust.org. For information and reservations for groups of 10 or more, call (612)373-5665 or email MinneapolisGroups@broadwayacrossamerica.com.
Ticket prices start at $39.00. All pricing includes a Building Restoration Fee of $4.00. Performance dates are Tuesday, April 24 through Sunday, April 29 at the Orpheum Theatre.
Performance times are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.,and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.