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BWW Review: JERSEY BOYS at STAGES St. Louis

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Oh What a Night at STAGES St. Louis

BWW Review: JERSEY BOYS at STAGES St. Louis

Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons opened tonight at STAGES St. Louis for their final offering of the season. Winner of the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical, and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, Jersey Boys is among the most successful jukebox musicals ever produced. The STAGES St. Louis production runs through October 24, 2021 at the Ross Family Theater in the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center.

What makes Jersey Boys the best of the jukebox musicals is the compelling story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons thanks to a well-written and intelligent book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The story is told in four parts, each by one of the members of the original Four Seasons, corresponding with one of the four seasons of the year. Each member of the band, Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, and Nick Massi tells the band's story from their individual perspective. The musical features all of the hits that took the group to the top of the charts, including "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "My Eyes Adored You," and more.

The STAGES production of Jersey Boys is lead by Christopher Kale Jones who originated the role of Frankie Valli in the first national tour. Jones still delivers on the strong falsetto vocals and has the acting chops to carry the role. He effectively matures the character from naïve teenager to a leader with a backbone in a believable performance. Kale stops the show with his version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You."

Kale is joined by Brent Michael DiRoma as Tommy DeVito, Jason Michael Evans as Nick Massi, and Ryan Jesse as Bob Gaudio. Together they produce the expected iconic Four Seasons sound. DiRoma is the best of the three with strong vocals and the requisite creepy charm as DeVito. Evans plays the dim Nick Massi with a deadpan delivery and exceptional comedic timing. Jesse is also effective as Bob Gaudio. His performance clearly illustrates how Gaudio was able to hold his own against the strong-willed DeVito to ensure his fair treatment as a member of the group.

This STAGES production is every bit as fresh as the original Broadway production 16-years ago. The industrial sets, period costuming, choreography, and lighting design are not an exact replica of the original but are similar enough to pay homage to the original staging and meet the expectations of audience members who've seen the show multiple times. The stage band, led by musical director and conductor Jeremy Jacobs, provide strong accompaniment for the performers. Much of the energy of Jersey Boys is driven off the band's music and the quartet's vocals. The only shortfall in this production is the muted sound of the band. Increased volume would have added to the energy and concert-like experience that is Jersey Boys.

This is a company and a performance that will have you saying "Oh What a Night!" Stages has produced another highly entertaining show for their two-show season. If you haven't seen Jersey Boys, or if you've seen and loved other productions of Jersey Boys, then see this production. For more information about this production or to purchase tickets for Jersey Boys, visit stagesstlouis.org or call the STAGES Box office at 314-821-2407.


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