Jersey Boys – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Long ago and far away, well not that far, just in New Jersey and not that long ago just the 1960’s, there were four lads who were headed down the wrong road, one that could have landed them behind bars. Fortunately for them and for the music world, they detoured and discovered a rhythm and talent that made them headliners. Their intriguing story is captured for all eternity in “Jersey Boys,” with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio, and lyrics by Bob Crewe.

They will come and sing their story, which resembles a Rocky Road ice cream sundae, alluding to the bumpy road they traveled as well as an ice cream flavor with a base of chocolate or vanilla, studded with nuts and marshmallows. For four young kids from the Garden State who flirt with crime before devoting their time to being crooners, both definitions apply. They definitely knew how to capture a sweet sound, a harmonious taste, and their career clearly was a rocky road journey.

To get better acquainted with these four charming lads, travel to the Ivoryton Playhouse by Sunday, September 10 for their sensational tale as the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons unrolls before your fascinating eyes. Along the way, they wrote their own songs, invented their own sound, sold 175 million records, all before celebrating their big 3-0.

Through trial and error in experimentation as to who fit the membership best, as well as criminal trials for misdemeanors, this quartet of singers struggled to make a name for themselves, to even find a name they liked for their group. Once Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi recruited Frankie Valli and later Bob Gaudio, the troupe was set to explode on the Billboard charts. Soon Gaudio was churning out hits and songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Oh, What a Night,” “My Eyes Adore You,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and “Working My Way Back To You,” giving them entrée into the big time.

Success is not without its price and “Jersey Boys” tells its tale straight up, warts and all. All the time on the road plays havoc with the families left behind and on the guys the fans adore. The struggles for power within the group also take their toll. Tommy DeVito’s gambling addiction almost destroys them until Frankie Valli steps forward and honorably takes on the burden of paying off his debt to the mob.

The guys are great in their roles, making their story real, their struggles believable, their success sweet and undeniable. Come hear Evan Ross Brody as Tommy, Sean Burns as Frankie, Brendan McGrady as Nick and Michael Notardonato as Bob bring this quartet of blue collar boys to life strikingly and harmoniously. This great musical stuffed with memorable tunes will have you wanting to dance up the theater aisles. Todd L. Underwood gets full credit for directing and choreographing, with Mike Morris at the helm for musical direction.

For tickets ($60, seniors $55, students $25), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Million of people have cheered after seeing this Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning musical. Now it’s your turn to shout out your joy! Let four guys from Jersey adore you with their eyes and their voices as they work their way into your heart. Oh, what a night!