Starting in New Jersey in 1962, Jersey Boys tells the whirlwind story of four ordinary boys who joined together to become an extraordinary pop band. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons set the sound of a generation with hits like Big Girls Don’t Cry and Bye Bye Baby, and in a relatively short space of time, became one of the most successful acts in music history.
This biography is packed with energy, determination and truth. The group’s rise to stardom was punctuated with conflict and drama. The extensive back catalogue of hits is used to great effect as the band navigate prison, debt, bust-ups and run ins with gangsters. Individually, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Frankie Valli were flawed, but together they created magic which is recreated on stage.
All four of the leading men form a class act. Each Season tells a part of the story from his own point of view We meet founder member Tommy DeVito first, full of charming arrogance but with a destructive edge, played brilliantly by Simon Bailey. Equally brilliant is Karl James Wilson, who plays bassist Nick Massi his one liners get the biggest laughs.
DeVito recruits Massi and a 16-year-old Frankie to form a group, but the trio struggles to find its sound. It’s not until they are introduced to fourth and final member Bob Gaudio that things really click into place and the hits come thick and fast.Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Beggin’ and Working My Way Back to You catapulted the group to super stardom, and resulted in 175 million record sales.
James Winter plays songwriter supremo Gaudio, clearly the brains behind the band. His performance of December 1963 (Oh What a Night) is particularly good. Completing the picture is Michael Watson as Frankie Valli. His falsetto is outstanding and he brings out the inner strength of the star. His solo, My Angel, when Frankie learns of the death of his daughter, is poignant. The chemistry, harmonies and synced moves of the four result in a great show.
The talented supporting company, many of whom take on multiple roles, assist in making the show a success..
The story of the Four Seasons is engaging, the music is uplifting and the resulting musical production is outstanding. This latest production is full of energy and worth a visit . Jersey Boys runs from Tuesday 6 February – Saturday 17 February 2018.
Tickets are on sale now and are available from the Box Office, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting http://www.atgtickets.com/stoke