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You know their hits on the radio featuring a lead singer with his falsetto voice or that same voice singing the title song of the hit musical “Grease” That voice (and the man) is featured in a Broadway musical about the life and times of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons called “Jersey Boys.” Back when Rock ‘n’ Roll was new and innocent, guys from New Jersey stumbled their way singing in bowling alleys and bars until the right four guys came together to create the sound of the Four Seasons. Jersey Boys debuted in Las Vegas at the Palazzo and this one promises to deliver a great story, memorable music and a chance to see how fame happens to those who least expect it.
The musical tells the story from all four members’ points of views since it said that everyone knows the truth and the facts lie somewhere in the middle. It began in the early 1950s when Tommy DeVito had a group called the Variety Trio with his twin brother, Nick, and Hank Majewski. A young vocalist by the name of Frank Castelluccio would sing a couple of songs in his high-pitched voice, pick up girls and almost joined Tommy and Nick in their fledging criminal career. Castelluccio is better known as Frankie Valli, with an “i” not a “y” as he tells his date.
After Tony and Nick give up crime as a way of life, Valli joined the group and it became the Four Lovers. They had a minor hit with “Apple of My Eye” in 1956. As with many groups (anyone remember the original drummer from the Beatles?), people came and went including Tony’s brother. The music details the hiring of Nick Massi and then Bob Gaudio, who wrote “(Who Wears) Short Shorts” at the age of 15 and was worried he was a has-been at age 17. It was actor Joe Pesci who introduced Gaudio to the group and was actually their gofer until he left to purse his own acting career.
The musical details appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” hit songs, the women, divorce, gambling, debt, DeVito and Massi leaving the group, and even the death of Valli’s daughter to a drug overdose. It shows the continuing partnership of Gaudio and Valli and Valli’s resurrengence in the 1970s. It celebrates the group’s induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and honors the memory of Nick Massi who passed away in 2000.
It is fast moving with each member of the Four Seasons talking to the audience about their unique perspective on their lives mixed with singing their hits. It entertains and educates with little known aspects such as “My Eyes Adore You” almost never getting any air play.
The Las Vegas cast includes Rick Faugno as Frankie Valli, Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, Jeremy Kushnier as Tommy DeVito and Jeff Leibow as Nick Massi. The play is based on a book written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, direction by Des McAnuff, orchestrations by Steve Orich, music direction and vocal arrangements by Ron Melrose
Jersey Boys premiered on Oct. 5, 2004, at La Jolla Playhouse and opened on Broadway on November 6, 2005 and won four Tony Awards including best musical. It is still playing on Broadway as well as London, Chicago and the U.S. Touring company.
7 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays;
7 and 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays; dark Wednesdays
Tickets: $65 to $135