Theatre Review: “Jersey Boys” (Ticket Giveaway)
The multi award-winning Broadway musical, “Jersey Boys,” directed by Des McAnuff and written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, burst onto the scene in Richmond this past weekend at the newly renovated Landmark Theatre.
The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is showcased, starting at the group’s inception and ending at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Never dull, visually astounding, with an expertly designed and stylish set, precise sound and lighting, this show is not one to miss.
Throughout the show the actors take turns narrating the story. Starting first with neighborhood tough guy, Tommy DeVito, played by Nicolas Dromard, who introduces the audience to his rock trio, whose members tend to change frequently due to stints in and out of the New Jersey prison system. At one of their shows, Tommy brings young Frankie Castelluccio on stage and we get the first glimpse of Frankie’s, played by Hayden Milanes, unique falsetto. Frankie eventually joins the group full-time and changes his last name to “Valli.”
The group goes through several changes including the addition of young songwriting talent, Bob Gaudio, played by Jason Kappus. Gaudio is introduced to the band by Joe Pesci, yes the actor, played by Ian Joseph. I must say, that little nugget of history was quite fascinating to me. Gaudio writes a string of top 10 ten hits that catapult the “Jersey Boys” to stardom, “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man” to name a few, under the direction of gay producer Bob Crewe, played by Barry Anderson.
Gaudio and Frankie have formed a special bond driven by their desire for success, which differs greatly from Tommy and fourth member, Nick Massi’s, played by Adam Zelasko, penchant for partying and philandering.The foursome eventually disbands due to Tommy’s legal troubles and Nick’s desire to leave the rock and roll lifestyle. Finally Frankie becomes the lead of Frankie Valli AND the Four Seasons sans Tommy and Nick. He and Gaudio continue to work together, with Gaudio taking a backseat as producer and song writer.
The incredibly talented cast embodies their historical characters, with the support of creative staging, the audience feels, at times, like they’ve being transported back in time. Watching the group perform on the Ed Sullivan Show, or being present backstage sharing a bit of the glory as the bright stage lights are shone into the Landmark’s audience.
Milanes is brilliant as Frankie and wow that voice! Dromard is almost too convincing as the less than savory Tommy, who’s power hungry and lazy at the same time. Zelasko and Joseph provide much of the comic relief. Joseph is positively charming as a young Joe Pesci. Zelasko gives an impassioned monologue about Tommy’s nasty hotel room hygiene that is absolutely hysterical in Act II. Anderson is quite funny as the catty Crewe, but I feel as if the portrayal is a bit over the top, caricature-like and feels a little dated.
The set consists primarily of massive metal staircases and platforms as the backdrop, in front of which various set pieces are rolled on and off the stage to change scenes. Large digital screens project Lichtenstein-like pop art that perfectly punctuates act and scene changes. Howell Binkley’s lighting is flawless, there aren’t a ton of shows where you notice how amazing the lighting is, but this is definitely one of them. Jess Goldstein’s costumes are gorgeous and well-tailored, those sequined jackets are amazing.
“Jersey Boys” is playing through January 19th at the Landmark Theatre.
www.BroadwayInRichmond.com for information.
We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to Wednesday night’s showing of Jersey boys – click on the widget below and follow the directions on the next page to enter for a chance to win! Winners will be notified via email Wednesday at 4 PM. Thanks for reading GayRVA!
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
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