Rocky Road can refer to an ice cream flavor with a base of chocolate or vanilla, studded with nuts and marshmallows, or it can allude to a difficult time getting from here to there. For four young kids from the Garden State who flirt with crime before devoting their time to being crooners, both definitions apply. They definitely knew how to capture a sweet sound, a harmonious taste, and their career clearly was a bumpy journey.
Until Sunday, November 6, the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts will be offering the golden tones of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in the blockbuster tribute Broadway hit show “Jersey Boys,” with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.
Through trial and error in experimentation as to who fit the membership best, as well as criminal trials for misdemeanors, this quartet of singers struggled to make a name for themselves, to even find a name they liked for their group. Once Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi recruited Frankie Valli and later Bob Gaudio, the troupe was set to explode on the Billboard charts. Soon Gaudio was churning out hits and songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Oh, What a Night,” “My Eyes Adore You,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You” were giving them entrée into the big time.
Success is not without its price and “Jersey Boys” tells its tale straight up, warts and all. All the time on the road plays havoc with the families left behind and on the guys the fans adore as well as the struggles for power take their toll. Tommy DeVito’s gambling addiction almost destroys the group until Frankie Valli steps forward and honorably takes on the burden of his debt to the mob.
The guys are great in their roles, making their story real, their struggles believable, their success sweet and undeniable. Come hear Bob Gaudio (Preston Truman Boyd), Frankie Valli (Joseph Leo Bwarie and on alternate dates John Michael Dias and Courter Simmons), Tommy DeVito (John Gardiner) and Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) bring this quartet of blue collar boys to life strikingly and harmoniously. Des McAnuff directs this great musical stuffed with memorable tunes that will have you wanting to dance up the theater aisles.
For tickets ($25 and up), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Let four guys from Jersey adore you with their eyes and their voices as they work their way into your heart.