The “Jersey Boys” are back in San Francisco at SHN Orpheum Theatre until February 14, 2016. The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical tells the story of Frankie Valli as a soloist and as part of The Four Seasons with Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. The audience gets a glimpse into the background of how they became a group that went on to sell 175 million records worldwide before they were thirty to being inducted into the hall of fame in 1990. If you grew up with the music you’ll be sure to be taken on a nostalgic trip. The show features all their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.”
You’ll learn that they were not angels. From jail, affairs, prostitutes, drugs, gambling, mob connections, and abandoning their families, you’ll get an honest yet still PG-13 look at many of their not so great choices and flawed characters.
Valli is portrayed as an old-school guy who could be trusted with just a handshake (his contract with Gaudio). He’s a man’s man and even worked his butt off to help pay off Tommy DeVito’s gambling and tax debts without hesitation. Meanwhile his neglected wife and daughters barely saw him and that relationship ends in divorce. Most of the time he was portrayed as neglectful because he was working all the time but there are several accounts of him and groupies told in real life. However, he tells his wife in one of the scenes that what happens on the road is none of her business alluding to his misconduct during tours.
Tommy DeVito is quick to anger and continuously cheats the group but he’s also the one that believed in the group, especially Valli’s talent. This is the source of Valli’s devotion to his gambling friend. If it weren’t for him he wouldn’t be the Frankie Valli with the unique voice that has lived on our airwaves all these years.
Bob Gaudio is the genius behind the music that never had any interest in being up front in the limelight. His connection and belief in Valli is what kept the hits coming. He could’ve written songs for others but his handshake contract with Valli was proven solid throughout the years. We don’t really get to know that much about his background. We see moments where he’s inspired, interacting with the group and the “big night” scene dedicated to when he loses his virginity to a prostitute sent over by the record company. “Oh What A Night” was playing throughout the scene with jokes alluding to his performance being too short. We also find out in a previous scene that actor Joe Pesci is responsible for introducing Gaudio to the group and that’s when they became, The Four Seasons.
The actors do a great job at portraying the group and have even received approval from some of the real group members. “It’s fun, its great, it means a lot that he believed enough in what I was doing to allow me to portray him and go around the world and share the story” said Drew Seely who did a great job playing Bob Gaudio.
Listen to the full interview with Drew Seeley who plays Bob Gaudio
Frankie Valli is the core of the play and Aaron De Jesus is fantastic with his vocals and dance moves. He did a great job portraying the good, the bad and an emotional scene where Valli finds out his daughter, Francine, died of a drug overdose.
There’s a lot that can be discussed about their lives and what fame and fortune mean to different people. The one thing that everyone can agree on is that being able to leave something behind like a song (in this case, songs) that will be celebrated way beyond his or her years, is an amazing accomplishment. And all this was squeezed into two and half hours!
JERSEY BOYS worldwide has been seen by over 22 million people.
Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, JERSEY BOYS is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.
JERSEY BOYS is produced by Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner.
Tickets for JERSEY BOYS begin at $45 and are available through shnsf.com and SHN Audience Services at 888-746-1799. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. For more information, visit www.JerseyBoysTour.com or www.shnsf.com.
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