BWW Review: Oh, What a Night! Jersey Boys Brings the Four Seasons to Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson
Winter seems to be creeping into Mississippi at the moment, but on November 10th, Jersey Boys brought all Four Seasons to the stage at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson. The musical's national tour opened the Broadway in Jackson series presented by Trustmark. The tour itself is presented by Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, and NETworks Presentations, with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner.
With a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music and lyrics by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe respectively, and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, the show is directed by Des McAnuff. The set makes extensive use of a metal staircase/bridge, keeping it simplistic and allowing for the situation and your own imagination to guide your interpretation of the setting. The cast, though small, gives the illusion of being much larger with several of the phenomenal cast members taking on multiple roles throughout the show.
The show is divided into quarters, essentially. And, fitting with the group that started it all, each quarter is a season. Each member of the original Four Seasons takes a season to explain chunks of time in the group's history from their own perspective. The show begins with "Spring", and Tommy DeVito, portrayed by Corey Greenan, tells the audience his version of the story of how he discovered Frankie Valli. Greenan gives DeVito charm and bravado and just enough pompousness to make it clear that he might be blurring the facts just a tad (or in some cases, quite a bit). "Spring" turns into "Summer", and Eric Chambliss takes over the narration as Bob Gaudio. Bobby sets some of Tommy's inaccuracies straight and tells of the time period in which the group had 3 back-to-back hits ("Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", and "Walk Like a Man") and found their identity as the Four Seasons. Chambliss gives Bob a youthful, driven persona, which feeds into the group's next setback. "Summer" soon gives way to "Fall", and Nick Massi, played by Jonathan Cable, takes the reins. Nick explains that in Bob's quest for success, he overlooked too many issues and failed to see the trouble the group had gotten into until it was laid out plainly in the form of Tommy's debt and a weekend in jail because each group member thought a different group member had paid a hotel bill that had never been settled. Jonathan's calm but resolute demeanor sees Nick's departure from the group at the end of "Fall", heading home instead of taking the chance that they might be able to dig out of the hole Tommy put them all in. "Winter" arrives at last and at this performance, Tony L. Clements gives it his all as Frankie Valli. An unbelievable performance sees Frankie, at the end, reminisce on his relationship with Tommy and shows his determination to keep the group going, finding new members to keep it a quartet until Bobby bows out to strictly write songs, and the group eventually becomes "Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons". The finale sees the group reunite for one last performance at the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame followed by a brief recollection from each character as to the pride they had in being a part of the group and where they ended up afterwards.
The story behind Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons is a classic, and the tour has gathered a truly spectacular cast to share it with the world. To the whole Jersey Boys cast, we just couldn't take our eyes off of you!
For a list of cities and dates that the tour will be headed to next, please click the link below.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus