Theater & Dance
Review
"Jersey Boys"

By: Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice; music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe
Presented by: Broadway San Jose
Directed by: Des McAnuff
Choreographed by: Sergio Trujillo
When: June 5-10, 2018
Where: San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 South Almaden Boulevard, San Jose
Tickets: $43–$128. Visit www.ticketmaster.com, or go to the City National Civic Box Office, 150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose), or calling 800-982-2787. Group orders of 15 or more may be placed by calling 408-792-4131. Prices subject to change.

Stevens, Greenan, Wexler, Antico
Joan Marcus photo
Chris Stevens, Corey Greenan, Jonny Wexler and Tommaso Antico, from left, in "Jersey Boys," playing at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, June 5-10, 2018.
'Jersey Boys' walks like a man
SJ Center for Performing Arts
The story of The Four Seasons told
with exquisite harmony and nostalgia
June 6, 2018

"Jersey Boys," an iconic piece of musical Americana — the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons — is a baby boomer's delight, now at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts, through June 10.

This road show features Ben Bogen as Valli, Tommaso Antico as Bob Gaudio, Corey Greenan as Tommy DeVito, and Chris Stevens plays Nick Massi.

The blending of their four voices is simply magical. The harmonies they produce come very close to the original group.

The show is a wonderful trip down memory lane, and includes "Walk like a Man," "Oh What a Night," "My Eyes Adored You," "Let's Hang on," "C'mon Marianne," and other Four Seasons and Valli hits.

And the sound is great in the Center for Performing Arts.

The story of the popular foursome takes place in New Jersey, where the air was thick, and so were the nasally accents.

Actor Joe Pesci introduced Tommy DeVito to Frankie. DeVito invited Frankie to sing in a few of his gigs, giving him his real break. A group was formed, with the newly renamed Frankie Valli, and called The Four Romeos, The Four Lover Boys, and The Varietones.

Like all bands they played dive bars and seedy clubs. And a bowling alley, The Four Seasons, from which the group took its name.

Life on the road was filled with gambling, wine, women, and song.

The show's dialogue is delivered with smart-ass, acerbic humor, and lots of colorful language.

Bogen, as Valli, looks the part and has all the moves. His depiction of a young Jersey boy from an old-world Italian family is authentic. Bogen's voice is rich and velvety in the lower octaves, and soars into flawless falsetto for "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Rag Doll."

Antico portrays Gaudio as a nice guy, somewhat naive but with major street smarts. Gaudio, in real life, wrote the songs that produced hit after hit.

Greenan gives an excellent portrayal of a deceitful guy, DeVito, a gambler and ex-con. DeVito's mobster buddy Massi is played by Stevens as a singer manages to soften his crusty exterior and eventually leaves the group.

Wade Dooley plays Bob Crewe, the producer who swished about the stage at first, coming on to Gaudio. He used the group as backup for other groups, until Gaudio pressured him to give them their own studio time. They recorded on Sundays, since it was less costly and didn't have to deal with union musicians.

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There was lots of door-knocking get them heard. Finally, a disc jockey in Philadelphia played "Sherry," and the rest is history. The group sold a 100 million records. The Four Seasons and The Beach Boys were the only two American bands to have major chart success before, during and after the British Invasion.

Choreography by Sergio Trujillo was spot on, down to the shuffles of the old doo wop groups. Bogen at one point does a split, and skillfully uses a microphone stand as a prop while singing and dancing.

Sharkskin suits, bowling shirts, flamingo-colored shirts, gold lamé jackets, and flaming red dinner jackets dotted the stage, reminding of an era gone by.

The set accommodated a multimedia display, including a screen showing clips of The Four Seasons performing.

Lighting was spectacular. One scene puts the audience behind the stage, viewing the actors' backs. The very luminescent spots were at the back of the stage, creating a backstage concert affect.

A well-crafted show.

Email Georgette Silver at georgettesilver@regardingarts.com

Wexler, Antico, Greenan, Stevens
Joan Marcus photo
Jonny Wexler, Tommaso Antico, Corey Greenan and Chris Stevens, from left, in "Jersey Boys," playing at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, June 5-10, 2018.


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