"JERSEY BOYS" Broadway national tour, Capitol Theatre, through June 16 (times vary); $40-$130; 801-288-2787 or www.arttix.org
In his 70s, Frankie Valli went from playing college campuses, half-full of fellow 70-year-olds nostalgic for the good old days, to selling out his tour and filling 2,000-seat venues. That is all thanks to the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Jersey Boys,” now playing at Capitol Theatre.
When writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice were approached with the catalog of The Four Seasons, the original plan was to create a "juke box musical" and either force the songs into an existing story or create one around the music — similar to “Mamma Mia” with the music of ABBA.
But after spending some time with surviving members Valli, Bob Gaudio and Tommy DeVito, it was clear the story needed to be theirs: the story of The Four Seasons and how four boys from New Jersey went on to sell more than 100 million records and be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It’s an energetic, fast-paced ride, and this touring production is solid from top to bottom.
It’s important to note the boys are blue-collar boys from some rough areas of New Jersey, and their language reflects that. True to the characters and the story, there is strong language throughout the musical, including multiple f-words and some colorful name-calling.
The success of the musical rests heavily on the quality of the four leads — performers required to act, sing, dance a bit and play instruments (when you see them playing on stage, they are actually playing) — and the four men in the touring show deliver plenty of Jersey swagger.
Nick Cosgrove tips his hat beautifully to the recognizable falsetto sound of Valli. He soars on the top notes but really stands out with the softer “My Eyes Adored You” and “Fallen Angel.” With more than 30 songs in the show and Cosgrove singing the lead on most, it’s no small task to tackle that music, eight shows a week. And he appears to be loving every minute of it.
Joining him at the mic stands are Nicolas Dromard (DeVito), Jason Kappus (Gaudio) and Brandon Andrus (Nick Massi). The men lilt in and out of scenes, into songs and into narration quite seamlessly with a believable rapport and fantastic sound.
Beyond the music, one of the beauties of the show is how Brickman and Elice based it on the four seasons — spring, summer, fall and winter. Each man’s account of what happened is a bit different and they take turns narrating the band’s rise and eventual fall. Each actor tells his story well, which also highlights the different personalities, perhaps leaving one to wonder how any band stays together at all.
As an audience, you’ll be part of concert appearances, TV broadcasts and recording sessions, to name a few. You’ll likely be surprised to find out some of the songs you’ve known your whole life are the Seasons’ and you’ll have an awfully hard time sitting still.
SENSITIVITY RATING: Strong language, women in lingerie, smoking, implied intimacy and metaphors referring to a couple in the bedroom.