BWW Reviews: JERSEY BOYS is a Blast at the Fox Theatre
I don't think there's any "jukebox musical" that's as entertaining and interesting as Jersey Boys, and there are a lot of musicals out there that rely on classic rock, pop, country and blues for their score. What sets Jersey Boys apart from the rest is the fact that it actually has a story to tell (book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice), and it integrates these timeless tunes seamlessly (music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe, although a plethora of other songwriters contribute as well) by examining how they were created and recorded. The current touring production playing the Fabulous Fox Theatre is a nostalgic blast that's sharply performed and staged.
Basically, the plot of this musical tells the biography of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the popular group that sold millions of records while taking the pop charts by storm. Mostly narrated by the original founder of the group, the ubiquitous Tommy DeVito, it's a litany of the constant changes that most bands go through as they struggle for success, and the price they often pay for the rewards and fame that that brings with it.
Nicolas Dromard excels as Tommy; foul-mouthed, opinionated, and defiant, with a Fender Telecaster slung over his shoulder, he takes command of the proceedings, explaining his version of how the band came together and split apart. Hayden Milanes is just perfect as the angel voiced Frankie, vunerable at first, his confidence grows as the band takes flight, and so does the power he's able to exert. Quinn Vanantwerp is also up to task as Bob Gaudio, the songwriter and performer who takes the group to the next level with his catchy compositions and business savvy. Barry Anderson amuses as producer Bob Crewe, and Adam Zelasko does nice work as Nick Massi, the bass player in the band. A talented and versatile supporting cast fill in the rest of the roles.
Des McAnuff's direction keeps things hopping along at a sprightly pace. Klara Zieglerova's tiered scenic design works wonderfully in concert with Michael Clark's comic book style projections. Howell Brinkley's lighting is alternately flashy and dramatic as needed. Jess Goldstein's costumes are spot on, and Sergio Trujillo's choreography is eye-catching.
Jersey Boys is just a whole lot of fun, and anytime it comes around it's worth seeing. Check it out at the Fox Theatre through March 2, 2014.