Monday, June 4, 2012

Jersey Boys

     Four guys singing harmony under a streetlamp in Belleville, New Jersey started a musical sensation that spawned hits such as "Can't Take My Eyes Of You", "Earth Angel", "My Eyes Adored You" and "Oh What A Night". Their songs have remained hits that have been remade in the many years since they were released and are still enjoyed up to the present. They have made their way into movies and tv shows. The group also gained international success with their songs being translated into French, Spanish, German, even Chinese. This group is the Four Seasons and "Jersey Boys" tells their story.

      The original Four Seasons was composed of Tommy DeVito, Nick Macioci (later changed to Massi), Bob Gaudio and Frankie Castellucio (later changed to Valli). But prior to that, it was just the trio of Tommy, Nick and Frankie, young men with hopes of making it big at a time when the only way out of Jersey was to get drafted or join the mob. In their case, they got into the music industry. The trio found its fourth member when the then unknown Joe Pesci introduced Bob Gaudio to Tommy. Bob, a songwriting prodigy who had become a one hit wonder at the age of 17, saw another chance at musical greatness after hearing Frankie sing and thinking to himself that he needed to write for that incredible voice. He and his bandmates then went on to create hit songs that, ironically, seemed to chronicle the struggles and successes of the group. Years later, Tommy and Nick have passed away and Bob doesn't sing with the group anymore, but the partnership he and Frankie sealed with a handshake all those years ago remain strong. They have reinvented the group into Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, and the music goes on to delight audiences both old and young from all over the globe.

The original Four Seasons
     The show gave audiences a rocking good time, seeming more like a concert than a musical. I often found myself tapping my toes and humming along to the songs for much of the show. I'm sure some of the older crowd in the audience felt nostalgic as well. The whole experience was like being in a time machine, you really felt like you were there with the Four Seasons as they went through their struggles and triumphs. The writers brilliantly interspersed songs with snappy dialogue and narration that had the audience laughing, at times crying. They were able to tell the group's story without sparing even the not so pleasant details like the jail time spent by Tommy and Nick, Tommy's gambling problem, Frankie's divorce, as well as the fighting within the group that eventually tore them apart. Success sure was bittersweet for the boys from Jersey. I'd say it was definitely a plus for them to have Bob Gaudio writing the music. As an original member of the Four Seasons, he could definitely give authenticity to the story as well as the music. Kudos also goes to the cast members, especially the talented actors who played the Four Seasons. They had the sound and moves of the original group down pat that it was like watching the real Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli.

      As I sang and hummed their songs on the way home, I can definitely say that "Jersey Boys" hit all the right notes on Broadway.

© Margj Castillo, In Review, 2010 - Present.


  1. My favorite is Can't Take Away My Eyes From You. But it's not the Jersey Boys I recall but Heath Ledger. What movie? my all-time favorite teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You. Now I miss Heath..wahh

  2. Actually, it was "Can't Take My Eyes of You" by the Four Seasons that Heath was singing in that bleacher scene. I remember that Julia Stiles was so embarrassed when he did that, hehehe...oh, a little bit of trivia...did you know that there are an estimated 200 cover versions of that song? Now that's a classic! =)