The boys are back, those guys from Jersey that is and they are hotter and harmonize better than ever before. New Haven’s Shubert Theater will be hopping and bopping with their great 1960’s rock and roll sounds until Sunday, October 7 and you need to bear witness to this musical phenomenon.
“Jersey Boys” is the story of Frankie Valli and his group The Four Seasons and their rocky road to stardom, with and without the chocolate ice cream, walnuts and marshmallows that frame the popular dessert. Coined a jukebox musical, it has won Tonys and Grammys and has music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.
The story is divided into four parts, seasons if you will. Spring is Tommy DeVito (Colby Foytik,Stephen Cerf), who in between stints in prison, tells the tale of the band’s founding, with himself at the helm. Beginning as “The Variety Trio,” the group would change it name and its membership as quickly as a bee sips nectar from a buttercup. The discovery of teenage heartthrob Frankie Castelluccio, who was soon to change his name to Valli, helped the struggling group but didn’t solve its problems of reaching stardom.
The advent of singer/songwriter Bob Gaudio,(Jason Kappus) the season of summer, helps solidify their sound and thanks to a bowling alley of the same name, they settle on “The Four Seasons.” Bobby, still a teen himself, writes them a trio of tunes, “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man,” that get them noticed and heard nationally. The constant road tours cause Frankie’s marriage to Mary (Natalie Gallo) to dissolve and Tommy’s reoccurring gambling debts take a serious toll on the group’s rising success.
Enter fall and it’s Nick Massi’s (Brandon Andrus) turn to tell his version of the story. Gaudio is so busy writing great songs, he ignores the troubles that are so evident in their day-to-day functioning. The friendships are strained to the breaking point by Tommy’s poor choices with the mob and the IRS and Frankie steps up to cover his debts.
By the time Frankie ((a role shared by Brad Weinstock and Hayden Milanes), as winter, takes over the narrative, the band has incorporated new members to cover for Nick and Tommy who leave, but the seams have permanent cracks. Their induction in 1990 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reunites the group for one last memorable moment.
For tickets ($50 and up), call the Shubert Theater, 247 College Street, New Haven at 203-562-5666 or 800-228-6622 or online at www.shubert.com. Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Bring a non-perishable food item for the New Haven Food Bank.
Let four guys from the wrong side of the tracks in the Garden State dazzle you with their fancy footwork, amazing harmony and honey-dipped sounds.