By Haleigh Santilli – Co-Arts Editor
As people rolled into the beautiful Boston Opera House on October 16 around 1 p.m. to see the Tony Award winning play about the legendary Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in “Jersey Boys,” a sense of excitement and anticipation poured over the entire crowd. The stage was quiet and simple. There was no rush of music or the brilliance of the players. Among the chit-chat of playgoers was the exciting silence of the stage, gleaming with a dusty light. Then the lights flicked and the roaring music began.
A French hip-hop group appeared on stage singing one of iconic quartet’s hits, then bam, there they were. Frankie Valli ( Jonny Wexler), Bob Gaudio (Corey Jeacoma), Tommy DeVito (Matthew Dailey) and Nick Massi (Keith Hines) on stage as older men singing during their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The play was narrated by all four mem- bers of the group. The beginning, “Spring,” was narrated by Tommy DeVito, who recalled the formation of the group. Originally consisting of DeVito, his brother and bass gutarist Nick Massi, Valli and his signature voice were later brought into the band at the young, naive age of 16.
“Spring” was a bit slow, and at times boring as DeVito recounted the dynamics of the “old neighborhood” and Massi and his problems with the law and practicing singing under that old street lamp.
However, when Gaudio took on the narration for “Summer,” the magical moment Bob Gaudio met the band, (introduced to them by none other than Joe Pesci) and the four of them harmoniously collaborated for the song “Cry for Me.” It was like seeing the band come together for the first time. The crowd echoed as the band became The Four Seasons and sang their hit songs that made the group rise to the top of the charts. “Walk Like A Man” was one of the top crowd favorites. It was exciting and captivating to see when they performed the chart topping hits on TV shows like the Ed Sullivan Show, the prop was a camera that actually played a real time version of them singing.
The second act began with aftermath of the Ed Sullivan Show, where Massi then took over for the “Fall” narration. “Fall” chronicled the band’s money problems, which were much larger than people thought, mainly due DeVito’s massive financial debts.
The final narration, “Winter” by Valli, chronicled the breakup of the band, his marriage, his reaping of DeVito’s debts and the death of his beloved daughter. Wexler captivated the audience when Valli’s daughter died and obtained a roaring ovation after his performance of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” of what was a rather dissatisfying scene. As Wexler performed, one could see his pure innocent joy and enthusiasm as a newbie.
The play ended the same way it began, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the group singing their iconic song “Rag Doll” while concluding their time in the band. There is a single spotlight on Valli, thinking of his memories and how it all started under that one street lamp back in Jersey. The stage then burst with light and music, as the cast was played out to “December 1963” and “Who Loves You” with a standing ovation.
“Jersey Boys” is part on an American tour, and will be stopping in Ohio and Colorado next.