AWARDS-WINNING “JERSEY BOYS”
The story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
PREMIERES IN S.J.
By Iride Aparicio
(l-r) ADAM SELASKO, HAYDEN MILANES, QUINN VANANTWERP and NICOLAS DROMARD Photo by: Jermy Daniel
SAN JOSÉ, CA – Presented by Broadway San José a Nederlander Presentation, JERSEY BOYS, The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, with book by Academy Award-winner MARSHALL BRICKMAN and RICK ELICE, music by BOB GAUDIO and lyrics by BOB’s CREWE made its South Bay Premiere the night of July 15 at the San Jose Center for the performing arts. The show was received with thunderous applause. It ended with a standing ovation.
“JERSEY BOYS” winner of the “Best Musical” Tony Award® and the Grammy Award® for “Best musical Show album” in 2006, the Olivier Award for “Best New Musical” in 2009, and the “Helpman” Award for best musical in 20l0 in Australia, was presented in this city with a talented cast of young actors which included: ADAM SELASKO in the role of Nick Massi, HAYDEN MILANES in the role of Frankie Valli, QUINN VANANTWERP in the role of composer Bob Gaudio, and NICOLAS DROMARD in the role of Tommy De Vito, the Four Season’s four singers.
The show started in SPRING, with the sound of Rock music (Conducted by BEN HARTMAN) which transports us, vicariously, to France, where a male singer on a stage is singing Ces Sorées-la” (Oh what a Night) accompanied by a group of female dancers singing the lyrics in French. The show is interrupted by Tommy De Vito (DROMARD) telling the audience that the Four Season’s song, was the number one song in Paris, in the years 2000. The scene changes to show a group of four singers standing on the stage playing guitar and singing a melley of the “the early years’ Four Season’s songs among them: “Silhouettes” “You’re the Apple on my eye,” “I can’t give you anything but love.” The songs set the mood for the story that follows.
(l- r) HAYDEN MILANES and QUINN VAN ANTWERP
Frankie Valli (HAYDEN MILANES) knew the meaning of a hand shake. It meant a promise, that cannot be broken. The young Italian singer growing up in New Jersey during the sixties also was familiar with the meaning of two other words: "gratitude" and "loyalty". He had learned them as part of his Italian heritage. So when Tommy De Vito (NICHOLAS DROMARD) the older Italian boy, who had helped him to become a singer, needed his help, he could not possibly let him down. He had to show Tommy his gratitude, by being loyal. Later on, a hand shake, with composer Bob Gaudio, (QUINN VANANTWERP) forced him to keep a promise. He would continue singing, Bob's songs until the day the debt was paid. JERSEY BOYS, tells the details of a story that was true.
The musical is structured in four Seasons. During the SPRING ( l963) Levito (DROMARD) tells the audience that with his brother Nick (JOHN AROCHETTE) and a friend Nick Massi (ZELSKO) he had started a group of singers he had named “The Variety Trio.” He wanted a quartet, so he decides to give Frankie Castelluccio, (the last name that later on, at the suggestion of his wife Mary Delgado (MARLANA DUNN) was changed to Valli) a young boy who sang like an angel, a chance to sing with them. With his brother Nick, De Vito taught young Valli to sing and “everything they have learned” including the need to be “friends” with a mob boss Gyp de Carlo (THOMAS FISCELLA).
SUMMER shows us the addition of BOB GAUDIO (VANNANTWERP) a musical composer to the group. This is the part of the musical where we hear many of the most popular “Four Season’s” songs: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, and Walk like a Man. By now, the band is becoming successful, in spite that their contract with producer Bob Crewe (BARRY ANDERSON) allows them to sing only as "Back up Singers for Crewe’s singers. Inspired by a neon sign, in a Bowling Alley, the band changes its name to THE FOUR SEASONS.
The FALL, is problematic for the group. Its members are now fighting with each other. Unknown to the group, Tommy (DROMARD) continues gambling, making high debts with the casinos and the I.R.S. He is also beginning to get jealous of Frankie’s success. Fed up with the trouble, Nick Massi (ZELSKO) walks out in the middle of the tour. But the group (if not as a group) is saved by the handshake of Valli, (MILANES) and Bob (VANANTWERP) So, in spite of everything that is happening to him in his personal life, Frankie continues singing Gaudio’s songs such as Can’t Take my Eyes Off you ” “Oh What a Night” “My eyes adored you”
Valli (MILANES) is WINTER’s narrator. He expresses his loyalty to Tommy (DROMARD), the man who gave him so much. and his gratitude. He tells us that his personal life is a mess, his relationship with his daughter strained, Lorraine, his girlfriend, gone (“Bye Bye Baby, Goodbye”) Yet, in spite of all that is happening to him, Valli continues to succeeding. .
(l-r) QUINN VANANTWERP, HAYDEN MILANES, NICHOLAS DORMARD, ADAM ZELASKO and the Company of JERSEY BOYS
The show ends in l990, with the singers of The Four Seasons inducted into the Rock and Roll Home of Fame. After that, each member tells the audience what they did as part of the group, and how; in their opinion, each believes that “he” was the one responsible for the success of the FOUR SEASON’s. The truth is that all were responsible because the success of the group was the magical “sound.” of the four voices blending together in creative arrangements.
This version of JERSEY BOYS moves smoothly, without a glitch, perhaps too fast, because its almost lack of dialogue robs tridimensionality to the characters. For those who have not seen the musical before, it is probably difficult to understand the depth of the story. The acting in the production is very “natural,” the dancing, rhythmic and well synchronized. The arrangements of the songs of The Four Seasons, however have a different sound than the original FOUR SEASON's songs and different instrumentation. As the “voice” of Valli, MILANES lacks its fullness, and his has a slight nasal sound. His acting of the role, however, is good. As the musical’s Director, DES McANUFF managed to get good acting from all his characters. So through the years, JERSEY BOYS continues to move the audience. And even when we know that BIG GIRS DON'T CRY, on opening night, as she vocalized silently the lyrics of “My Eyes Adore you” the woman sitting next to me wiped tears, from her eyes.
JERSEY BOYS will play until Sunday July 20 at S.J. Center for the Performing Arts for information go to www.broadwaysanjose.com.