Jersey Boys – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

On Opening Night, the packed audience was in a groovy mood and could hardly contain its enthusiasm for Music Theatre of Connecticut’s (MTC) “Jersey Boys,” – which ranks among the most entertaining shows that director and co-founder, Kevin Connors has produced.

In our age of anxiety there seems to be a longing for the popular music of the 50’s and 60’s. Because the tunes are catchy (although silly at times) it’s a relief to be able to understand the words for a change. This was certainly a different time period. It was ushered in by a carefree, young generation that grew up between two World Wars, and the turmoil of another war had not yet sunk in.

During this period, there were numerous male and female song-swaying groups that were competing for juke box attention and record sales. Among them were “The Everly Brothers” the “Supremes” and the little known “Hoboken Four” where another Jersey boy hopeful named “Frankie” Sinatra got his start. These songsters had similar ups and downs along the way but what’s unique here is that one of the “Four Seasons’ ” Jersey Boys, Bob Gaudio, wrote numerous hit songs while Frankie Valli’s high-pitched whining set this group apart from the rest. Who could compete with Valli’s “Big Girls … Don’t Cry” Aaai yi… yiii’s?

At MTC, the entire cast is excellent and the intimacy of its theatre makes this Tony Award winning show by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice even more enjoyable. Michael Fasano’s rendition of Valli’s wide voice-range is just as I remember it to be. Nathan Cockroft is Tommy DeVito, the suave, two-faced leader of the group with gangster ties. Sean McGee plays the versatile song writer, Bob Gaudio and Stephan Petrovich is the stubborn Nick Massie. Tony Bellomy’s “band” sounds like a full orchestra. Katie Goffman’s choreography, Diane Vanderkroef’s costumes and the cast’s rendering of over 30 songs including: “I Can’t Give you Anything But Love,” “Walk Like a Man,” “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “Oh What a Night,” offer today’s audiences a colorful buffet of musical-treats.

Get your tickets early as some performances are already sold out.