The 3pm show on Sunday April 13th at the August Wilson Theatre, Broadway. My ticket was bought from a tout (I think they’re referred to as Scalpers here) for $120. The cover price is $122 – bargain! Thank you Eileen M Petri. Without you this would not have been possible.
In light of recent revelations about children’s care homes, this show has an unfortunate title…and there is no mention of Bergerac.
So, I’d decided that I would go and see Jersey Boys. I like Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons and it seems more of a credible show, i.e. it’s a biopic like The Buddy Holly Story, rather than a contrived show around an artists music, e.g. We Will Rock You. Besides, Jersey is prettylocal, so it all sort of fits in with the trip so far.
The show starts with a few references to Jersey that the rest of the audience gets and I don’t and the comments raise a few laughs. The story is a little thin and moves pretty quickly. The guys playing the original 4 Seasons are good. Let’s face it, the 4 Seasons’ sound is their own and it is testament to the cast that they are able to create a sound so similar.
Narrators by way of different 4 Seasons fill us in on what’s going on, butit seems to be all aboutthe music. Barely a minute goes by without another tune kicking in. Frankie’s voice occasionally becomes a bit shrill, butthat could just be my ears adjusting to the unique falsetto sound. The stage is utilised well enough to depict the scenes without resulting to major set changes. A few chairs and a concentration on the characters in the scene are enough.
The audience seems a little muted. Perhaps this is due to it being a Sunday afternoon crowd. Special mention to the elderly couple next to me. Every punchline in the show was repeated by her to him. If he’s hard of hearing, then full credit to her for doing it. If it’s an annoying habit on her part, then full credit to him for not telling her to shut up. Also kudos to the show for the full on swearing. It’s like a musical Goodfellas! Interestingly enough, this show also features Joe Pesci. He’s a character in it because he was actually instrumental in the group getting together. Who’d have thunk it?!
It’s like the audience were given a half-time team talk. They’re a lot more into it. There are even a few sniffles when Frankie Valli sing to his dead daughter, who then appears and sings with him (what’s that all about?).
The show continues at a relentless pace. One of the only issues I have with it so far is that I have no idea what year we’re in and so what part of the overall 4 Seasons career we’re in. I finally realise that the whole narrator thing is represented by a different season (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) being displayed and a different 4 Season (band member) narrating.
The show concludes with a where are they now section; 1 retired, 1 working for Joe Pesci, 1 dead and 1 still Frankie Valli). The show gets a standing ovation and we all dance about a little bit, as we clap along to their few final numbers. There then follows a particularly heartfelt plea for charity donations – it’s a Broadway thing that’s raised over $70 million. I decide that they can get along without my donation, although I almost change my mind when I see a female cast member collecting.
I retire to a nearby bar, Papillon, for a coffee and reflect on the show. I can’t help wondering how many others the eventual Frankie was up against. It must be difficult to find someone small in stature, but big in vocal range. I guess that’s why this particular Frankie looked a little more pudgy than I would have thought.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. Most of the jokes hit home and the songs are great. The dramatic aspects seemed to be paper thin, almost as though they do not want to spend the time delving deeper, as it would get in the way of the musical numbers. But it’s really about the music.
As a side point, Oprah Winfrey Presents The Colour Purple – The Musical, is on down the street…I kid you not. What next? Schindler’s List?!