BWW Review: JERSEY BOYS at North Shore Music Theatre
Oh, what a night!!
Jersey Boys opened this week to one of the most enthusiastic welcomes I have ever witnessed at NSMT. The show stopping ovations were so heartfelt & sustained that the actors literally had to stop, numerous times, to wait for the applause to finish before continuing, and the show deserved the adoration, it is simply terrific.
Based on the lives and careers of the band The Four Seasons, a quartet of Italian American musicians from a tough New Jersey neighborhood, who sold over 175 million records over the course of their careers. Jersey Boys tells the story of a trio of neighborhood friends who grew up singing on the corner under a street lamp, and who achieved very minor success, playing cover songs in neighbor bars, in bands with names like "The Royal Teens" and "The Lover's", until they lose one member and discover two other neighborhood musicians, Frankie Valli (Jonathan Mousset Alonso) who becomes their lead singer and star, and Bob Gaudio (Luke Hamilton), who becomes their songwriter and arranger. They then become The Four Seasons and their careers skyrocket.
Over the years they, record and tour constantly, they suffer ups and downs in their careers and personal lives, Frankie's marriage falls apart and he loses a daughter to a drug overdose, but mostly, in their careers, they find huge success. That is, until they learn that their manager/band member Tommy DeVito (Andrés Acosta) has gotten indebted to the mob, and he also owes back taxes for close to a million dollars. The mob forces Tommy to go to Vegas where they can keep an eye on him until the debt is paid off, the bass player Nick Massi (Alex Puette) then decides to quit and go home to his family. This could have been the end of The Four Seasons, but the remaining two band members Frankie and Bob pull together, hire two new musicians, and tour for the next 10 years to pay off Tommy's debt. Along the way, Bob decides to have Frankie be a solo act, and he will just write songs and produce, and for the next few years they created some of their biggest hits, and enjoyed a second career of sorts.
Jersey Boys is not your typical Broadway musical, it is more like a rock concert with narrated stories of the character's lives juxtaposed between the concerts, which are then told through flashbacks, and are enormously enjoyable and fresh, because of this format. The production, brilliantly directed, and choreographed, by NSMT Artistic Director Kevin P. Hill, is outstanding. It is filled with hit songs like "Sherry", "Walk Like A Man", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)", and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You", and stellar performances by the company of actors.
The gritty industrial, moving set, designed by Kyle Dixon is near perfect, the lighting by Jose Santiago is completely in sync with the scene design and sets a moody tone for the story line, and then explodes to concert lighting for the concert scenes. The Music Direction by Milton Granger was spot on, although the orchestration could use one less keyboard /synthesizer and a few more live instruments, played by musicians in the pit.
The Actor's who played The Four Seasons; Tommy DeVito (Andrés Acosta), Nick Massi (Alex Puette), Frankie Valli (Jonathan Mousset Alonso), Bob Gaudio (Luke Hamilton), are all four, amazing actors, and have incredible voices, and largely made the show, with Mr. Mousset carrying much of the second act, when Frankie Valli moves on to his solo career.
Another stand out in the cast was David LaMarr with a strong stage presence, and voice, he brought to life several different characters, and brought some vocal pyrotechnics to the ensemble numbers.
Jersey Boys at NSMT is a show not to miss! and judging by the audience reaction, it is the Hit of the Summer!
The cast of JERSEY BOYS is led by Andrés Acosta as Tommy DeVito, Luke Hamilton as Bob Gaudio, Jonathan Mousset as Frankie Valli and Alex Puette as Nick Massi. The cast of 15 also features Matthew Amira, Barry Anderson, Ashley Chasteen, Luke Darnell, EJ Dohring, Mia Gerachis, Josh Greenblatt, Michael Allen Haggerty, David LaMarr, Alyssa McAnany, Alaina Mills, and Corey Mosello.
The creative team for JERSEY BOYS includes Kevin P. Hill (Director and Choreographer), Milton Granger (Music Director), Kyle Dixon, (Scenic Design), Dana Pinkston (Costume Design), Jose Santiago (Lighting Design), Daryl Bornstein (Sound Design), Rachel Padula-Shufelt (Wig and Hair Design), Natalie A. Lynch(Production Stage Manager), Dakotah Wiley Horan (Assistant Stage Manager), and Robert L. Rucinski (Assistant Music Director). JERSEY BOYS is produced for North Shore Music Theatre by Bill Hanney (Owner/Producer), Kevin P. Hill (Producing Artistic Director), and Matthew Chappell (Associate Producer, Casting Director).
Tickets for JERSEY BOYS are priced starting from $61 - $86. Kids 18 and under save 50%. $25 Student Rush tickets are available with a valid student I.D. starting one hour prior to curtain time. Prices are subject to change without notice. Jersey Boys tickets will have a $5 premium show fee added. Phone, internet, and other fees may be applied at time of sale.
JERSEY BOYS performances are August 6 - September 1, Tue - Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit nsmt.org, or visit the box office at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.
ADDITIONAL FREE AUDIENCE ENRICHMENT EVENTS:
Meet the Theatre: post-show audience discussion with the artists on August 13 after the 7:30 pm performance and August 17 after the 2 pm performance.
OUT at the North Shore, an evening for the LGBTQ+ Community with a post-show reception on August 15 after the 7:30 pm performance. OUT at the North Shore is sponsored by North Shore Pride.
North Shore Music Theatre will continue the 2019 Musical Season with Sunset Boulevard starring Tony Award-winner Alice Ripley (September 24 - October 6), The Bodyguard (October 29 - November 10), and the 29th annual production of A Christmas Carol starring David Coffee (December 6 - December 22).