Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jersey Boys – Oh What a Night!

Mary Ellen Hassett has lived and worked in Delaware since 1996 as a paralegal and attorney.  She and her husband Keith enjoy Wilmington arts and culture and devote a lot of volunteer time to Delaware Humane Association. 

The Playhouse on Rodney Square is closing out their Broadway season with Jersey Boys, a Tony Awardwinning musical about four blue-collar kids from Newark, NJ.  This story is told thru the eyes of each of one of the four Jersey Boys from their perspectives at different times in their 40-year relationship. The talented group of musicians that starred in this rendition of Jersey Boys were amazing. This musical has it all – Jersey accents, mafia undertones, fantastic sets, a great storyline and lots of laughter. Whether old or young, this musical contains songs that everyone can enjoy. 

Jersey Boys is the story about Frankie Valli (that’s Valley with an “I” because everyone knows Italian names must end in a vowel). Frankie (Aaron De Jesus) with his unique voice is discovered at age 16 by Tommy DeVito (Matthew Dailey). As everyone knows, show business is not an easy road, especially in Jersey. Along the way  in addition to playing gigs on street corners, various bars, night clubs and bowling alleys the group is involved in some rather nefarious activities and Tommy ends up in the slammer.    

While Tommy is away, Frankie and Nick Massi (Keith Hines) continue to perform. When Tommy returns, the group auditions young hotshot writer Bob Gaudio (Drew Seeley) and the Four Seasons is born! Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons are a smash, starring on the Ed Sullivan show and hitting the pop charts 40 times in the 1960s.  

However, Tommy could not leave his gambling Jersey ways behind and eventually found himself owing over $162,000 to the mafia and $500,000 in back taxes for the group. Tommy is bought out by the other three in the group and moves to Vegas. Nick leaves shortly thereafter and Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio continue as a duo – Bob writing and Frankie singing. Frankie and Bob to this day have never had a contract; they had a gentleman’s agreement – a handshake. The Four Seasons reunite a couple of times and they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.  

Although you have your traditional hidden orchestra, musical director Taylor Peckham, did a phenomenal job in moving the drummer(s) off and on state to enhance the night club scenes.

The musical arrangements of Walk Like a Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Working My Way Back to You were just a few of the highlights. And my favorite of the night – December, 1963 (Oh What a Night) – as that basically sums up this fantastic performance!

I must say, The Playhouse saved the best for last! 

Jersey Boys will be playing at The Playhouse thru May 15. Wednesday and Thursday evening performances are at 7:30pm; Friday and Saturday evening performances are at 8:00pm, and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00pm.  Ticket prices range from $50-$135 and discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

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