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Review: Oh, What a Night! JERSEY BOYS Rocks the House at The Palace Theater

Review: Oh, What a Night! JERSEY BOYS Rocks the House at The Palace Theater

The hit musical visited Waterbury for a special one-night-only performance

Oh, What a Night! Worldwide hit musical Jersey Boys visited The Palace Theater in Waterbury for a special one-night-only performance and rocked the house. I thoroughly enjoyed the production alongside an equally energetic crowd who delightfully sang along and met the cast with an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Jersey Boys takes audiences behind the scenes to tell the true story of international pop music sensation, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The Broadway hit is a musical documentary about four blue-collar kids who skyrocketed to stardom and sold over 175 million records worldwide, all before turning 30.

Jersey Boys is directed by two-time Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff, book by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brinkman and Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio (founding member of The Four Seasons), lyricist Bob Crewe, and choreographer Sergio Trujillo.

Bringing us back to December 1963 (okay, technically earlier) Jersey Boys tells the origin story of the iconic pop quartet, how they changed the course of American music history, and the off-stage dissonance that lead to the group's split. The show brilliantly interweaves 33 hit songs throughout the story, including Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like a Man, My Boyfriend's Back, Dawn, Beggin', Can't Take My Eyes Off of You, and Working My Way Back to You.

Since its premiere in 2005, Jersey Boys has achieved worldwide success, winning four Tony Awards (including Best Musical), a Grammy Award, Olivier Award, and Helpmann Award. Despite all these accolades, I never got to see it during its 11-year run on Broadway. Last year, I attempted to watch the movie and was so sorely disappointed that I couldn't make it through. When I heard the tour was coming to The Palace Theater, I leapt at the chance to see it and I'm glad I did. The stage production is a totally different experience, especially compared to its namesake film, and is absolutely excellent.

Jersey Boys is fast-paced and fun. The stage is constantly in motion with gorgeous stylized choreography as well as impressive set and costume changes. (Fun fact: Frankie has 15 costume changes, 12 of which are quick changes. One of them is only 15 seconds!) The show is a crowd-pleaser and kept the audience laughing throughout all while balancing heartfelt stories of friendship, love, and family.

The cast features a magnificent ensemble that deserves particularly high praise and recognition: Each member of the ensemble performed multiple roles in the show, seamlessly transitioning between characters and scenes all the while making it look absolutely effortless. Any given ensemble member plays between 3 and 17 other parts in the show! It is mind-blowing and nothing short of impressive. The masterful ensemble is comprised of Katie Goffman (as Mary Delgado and others), Justin Albinder, Amy Coelho, Kenneth Quinney Francoeur, Jared Chinnock, Antonio King, Connor Lyon, Kevin Patrick Martin, Sean McGee, Madison McGrew, Hamilton Moore, and Alec Michael Ryan.

The stellar cast shined bright and brought the Four Seasons' music and story to life. I couldn't possibly pick a favorite because the quartet featured all truly beautiful singers. The role of Frankie Valli (played by Jon Hacker) is a feat, requiring admirable vocal stamina especially because in nearly every scene and song from start to finish. Hacker didn't miss a beat and was absolutely flawless, wowing the crowd. I particularly adored the Eric Chambliss' smooth, velvety voice, as Bob Gaudio. Completing the all-star quartet are Matt Faucher and Devon Goffman (as Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito, respectively), whose storytelling and heartfelt performances are not to be missed.

At the start of the production, the sound technicians set the speaker volume at a perfectly reasonable level and, to my amusement, had to dial up the volume as the nearly full house became so inspired to sing along with every tune. It was a special, unforgettable experience.

As I left the Connecticut theater, I overheard my fellow audience members reveling in the production and singing its praises, with seemingly newfound New Jersey accents. Jersey Boys clearly left its mark on Waterbury!

Know before you go: Jersey Boys contains strong language, so you may want to leave the little ones at home. The performance is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, including one 15-minute intermission.

Review: Oh, What a Night! JERSEY BOYS Rocks the House at The Palace Theater

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

From This Author - Ariana Straznicky-Packer

No stranger to the stage, Ariana Straznicky-Packer is a professional violinist whose heart belongs to Broadway. A classically-trained musician, actress, vocalist, and writer, she is full of surprises.... (read more about this author)

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