“Jersey Boys,” the fast-paced, high-energy Broadway musical that follows the story of legendary singer Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, opened at the IU Auditorium Tuesday night. The timeless hits and Valli’s, played by Hayden Milanes, flawless falsetto made for showy, big-production moments, as well as beautifully simple ones.
“I’ve listened to this music my whole life,” audience member Jessica Newton said of the Four ?Season’s tunes.
Newton said this was her first time seeing it and that her mother, with whom she attended the show, told her the live show was even better than the movie.
While this music has been passed on through generations, the release of the Clint Eastwood film adaptation of the musical last year brought the unforgettable tunes of “Jersey Boys” back to the forefront.
The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winner brings together well-known hits from the 1960’s group including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)” to sing the audience through the long, successful and often difficult career of the Four Seasons.
The show brings light not only to the story behind the hits, but the drama and obstacles that built over time, eventually disbanding the group.
After the opening number “Oh, What A Night,” performed as a cover in a more contemporary manner, Tommy DeVito, played by Matthew Dailey, tough guy and the force behind the start of Frankie Valli’s prosperous career, explains to the audience the initial history of the Four ?Seasons. Taking Frankie under his wing, Tommy explains the secret weapon behind the coming success of their group.
“That’s our ticket out,” he said in regard to Frankie. “That kid sings like an? angel.”
The early scenes feature only three of the famous Four Seasons, Frankie, Tommy and Nick, played by Keith Hines, and not long into the first act, they stumble upon the man that would become their fourth: Bob Gaudio, played by Tommaso Antico.
An unusual approach to the story, the narrator changes from each member of the group throughout the show, Gaudio taking over the narration shortly after he enters.
Well into the first act, crowd favorites “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like A Man” are performed in succession, highlighting the numbers that brought the group into their burgeoning success.
The show kept moving, never slowing down or lulling audience attention.
“I think it’s really good, and I’ve never seen it before,” IU sophomore Kourtney Sappenfield said of her first “Jersey Boys” ?experience.
“I was really excited for ‘Sherry.’ That’s my favorite song.”
The audience begins to see the downfall of the group in the midst of their fame and fortune toward the end of act one with Frankie’s marriage falling apart, accompanied by his solo “My Eyes Adored You.”
As they continue to top the charts and thrive in their career, debt and disagreements arise, coming full-circle in act two as the group starts to diminish.
Among the tensions, more hits appear in act two with Valli’s solo song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back ?to You.”
Although the Four Seasons eventually reach to their demise, the group comes back together to end the show with high-energy closer “Who Loves You?”
With tight harmonies, synchronized choreography and endless doo-wops, “Jersey Boys” captivated the audience with the real-life drama of a group whose sound would change music forever.
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The IU Auditorium, the Jacobs School of Music and MidWay Music Speaks were all awarded funds.
Performances will take place on Zoom.
The concert airs at 9:30 p.m. on July 25.