To be truly successful, a show like this needs four powerhouse leads – and they are indeed here: Aaron DeJesus as Frankie, the short guy with the killer falsetto; Matthew Dailey as Tommy, the unredeemable bad boy; Keith Hines as Nick, the strong, silent one; and Drew Seeley as Bob Gaudio, the musical genius behind the group’s ultimate success. All are top-notch.
The songs are presented well but crisply, enough to satisfy but also leave you wanting more. And enough to give you an “ohhhh” moment when you remember when you first heard it. There isn’t exactly dancing, but a lot of what must be called arm choreography which perfectly complements the songs.
The genius of “Jersey Boys” is that since most of the Boys have a significant ego, they want to tell things their way, and they do. This provides a Rashomon effect, such that you yourself have to decide in some cases how things actually happened.
The lights and sound are dazzlingly effective, the set spare and efficient; and the costumes are perfect for the era – and serve as a reminder that once upon a time, pop music groups actually wore suits! (Now, of course, after punk, funk and grunge, they seem to be moving back in that direction.)
We should give a brief nod to the “glamorous life” of a touring show: this company started last month in Utica, New York and ends up in Orlando next June after 27 stops, usually with only a day or two in between engagements. In this instance, they left Atlanta after the Sunday matinee and opened in East Lansing just two days later, with enough performance energy to blow everyone out of their seats. Let’s hear it for the “Boys”!
Thanks to “guest reviewer” Tom Klunzinger. (Mark and I had Nuncrackers rehearsal for Starlight Dinner Theatre. Mark your calendars November 6-15!)
Jersey Boys continues through Sunday at Wharton Center