Review: JERSEY BOYS at Music Theatre Of Connecticut

The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons - now through October 1

By: Sep. 17, 2023
Review: JERSEY BOYS at Music Theatre Of Connecticut

Talk about a strong opening show for any theater company’s season: Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. The Music Theatre of Connecticut is presenting this Broadway hit and movie as the first show of its 37th season. This production of Jersey Boys is unbeatable.

Jersey Boys is the story of the history of the legendary rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop band, The Four Seasons from 1960 through the early 2000s. It takes place in various locations in and around New Jersey, often indicated by projections. The book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice is strong, and the main performers (Michael Fasano as Frankie Valli, Nathan Cockroft as Tommy DeVito, Stephen Petrovich as Nick Massi, and Sean McGee as Bob Gaudio) are outstanding interpreters of the people they portray the songs. They do not imitate the characters. They channel their souls. It’s not enough to find a performer who can sing falsetto as the real Frankie Valli. The others could have put on a New Choisey accent. But they clearly respect Valli, DeVito, Massi, Gaudio, as do the actors in other roles. As a result, there is integrity and authenticity in this production because the audience connects with the actors and the real-life people the show depicts.

The book is candid about DeVito and Massi’s shady backgrounds, as well as the personal toll that success had on the band members and their families. The players narrated their stories alternately, so the audience understood everyone’s point of view. Despite their unsavory past, there is a likeability about DeVito and Massi, as played by Cockroft and Petrovich. DeVito was also a gambler and got the group in trouble with his debts and failure to pay taxes. But deep down, he was a good person who was very protective of family and friends and of the band he started and built successfully. The other members saw that and accepted it and so did the audience. That’s how strong their bond was. All but Gaudio often talked about the neighborhood where they grew up. As Valli said, “You don’t forget where you came from.” When Valli and Gaudio proposed working together apart from The Four Seasons, Gaudio suggested they draw up a contract. Valli extended his hand for a “New Jersey handshake.” In real life, that handshake is still being honored.

As expertly directed by Kevin Connors with Katie Goffman assisting, Jersey Boys offers a new level of experience on Music Theatre of Connecticut’s small stage. At first, the audience is nearly hovering over the performers. By the end, they’re participants because the book and the performances are so powerful and engaging.

The show is an ideal opportunity for the rest of the cast, comprised of Matt Mancuso solely as Bob Crewe, and Brianna Bauch ( as Lorraine) Skye Gillespie ( as Francine, Emily Solo ( as the feisty Mary Delgado, John Treacy Egan ( as Gyp DeCarlo, Michael Luongo as Hank Majewski, David L. Murray Jr. ( as Barry Belson, Robert Peterpaul as Nick DeVito, and Jeff Raab ( as marvelous Joe Pesci. They also play other characters and are lickety-split at changing costumes, wigs, and roles.

Kudos also to the people behind the scenes. Diane Vanderkroef’s costumes truly reflected the period of the show, with the women in pretty dresses and the men in suits, including the glittery yet tasteful suits when they performed. Peggy de la Cruz did the wig designs, of which there were many – typical 60’s bouffant hair, the flip, and the various styles for different characters. The set and props design by Sean Sanford looked genuine – and there were a lot of café and bar scenes. RJ Romeo’s lighting design was faultless, as was Jon Damast’s sound design. Katie Goffman’s choreography captured the era and the style of The Four Seasons as they evolved into stardom. Tony Bellomy handled the musical direction to perfection. Abbey Murray ran things smoothly as the stage manager. Dan O’Driscoll choreographed the fights and intimacy.

Jersey Boys runs through October 1 with performances on Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. There are some additional performances on Thursday at 8:00. Try to get tickets, because so far, all the performances are sold out. (Maybe there will be some cancellations? Keep trying!) Meanwhile, book tickets for Clybourne Park (a fascinating update to A Raisin in The Sun), playing from November 3 through 19, The Legend of Georgia McBride (about a young Elvis Presley impersonator who is barely making a living) from February 16 through March 3, and Ghost: The Musical, the romantic fantasy thriller, from April 12 through 28.

Music Theatre of Connecticut is conveniently located at 509 Westport Avenue (Route 1) in Norwalk.  For more information about Music Theater of Connecticut, visit For tickets, go to Click Here.


Palante Theatre Company Tours CALLING PUERTO RICO to Four Connecticut Cities Photo
Pa'lante Theatre Company Tours CALLING PUERTO RICO to Four Connecticut Cities

Pa’lante Theater Company (PTC), Connecticut’s first and only Afro-Latine Black Box theater company, has announced a four-city tour of Connecticut of playwright Juan Ramirez Jr.’s Calling Puerto Rico: For the Island and to Hope. Learn more about where to catch this show here!

LARC Movement Workshop Will Be Held in Partnership With Education @ The Warner Photo
LARC Movement Workshop Will Be Held in Partnership With Education @ The Warner

Education @ the Warner and The Arc of Litchfield County will continue their partnership with another Movement Workshop this fall. Workshop sessions occur Monday mornings through November 27th in the Warner's rehearsal space. Learn more about the workshop here!

12th Annual International Playwrights Festival Comes to the Warner in October Photo
12th Annual International Playwrights Festival Comes to the Warner in October

The Warner Theatre will present its 12th Annual International Playwrights Festival held in the Warner’s Nancy Marine Studio Theatre October 13 & 14, 2023 at 8 pm. Learn more about the festival and how to attend here!


Education @ the Warner will partner with Pilobolus to host Connecting with Balance Thursdays at 11 am, October 5 through 26 in the Warner Club. Learn more about the series here!

From This Author - Sherry Shameer Cohen

Sherry Shameer Cohen is an award winning parachute journalist and blogger who is always looking for more challenging work. Her articles and photos have appeared in Connecticut Magazine, Greenwich Maga... Sherry Shameer Cohen">(read more about this author)


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