'Jersey Boys' keeps audience beggin’ for more

Review: Whether you hail from the homeland or have never set foot on Jersey soil, this show packs a punch that will have you singing along by the third verse.

For four nights and four nights only, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons are lighting up the Landmark Theatre with one of the most beloved jukebox musicals of all time.

Based on true events, the musical takes audience members through the high life and fast times of The Four Seasons. The production — which follows the band from conception, through its many temporary identities, and eventually the waves of misfortune that come with success — shows that it wasn’t all pop hits and pretty fans keeping the boys busy.

Jersey Boys keeps the audience grounded in the reality of Valli’s stressful life on the road that results in a crumbling marriage and loss of his daughter. Just as seasons come and go, gloom fades away and an endless stream of innovative music breathes new life into the turbulent troupe.

Time and time again, tenderhearted Frankie Valli falters under the pressures of keeping his friends and family first — a feat not often attempted by rock idols. After finding a nice Italian girl and starting a family, his gigs at the local bowling alley change into sessions in recording studios.

Originally known as The Romans, then The Four Lovers, and plenty of other pseudonyms that didn’t spell out stardom, the group sings backup for multiple leading artists until their label realizes Valli’s dynamic voice cannot be contained on the B-tracks. As the band ascends to the top of the charts, petit crimes turn into money laundering and loan debt. Valli becomes a slave of the stage, touring incessantly to pay back the debt of his band mate, Tommy DeVito. All ends well for the original four boys from Jersey, as they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The iconic quartet hits every rhythmic pulse with intricately sharp dance combinations and mile-a-minute punch lines. Aaron De Jesus stuns as the soaring falsetto anomaly, Valli himself. Backed by a composing prodigy turned teen heartthrob, played by Cory Jeacoma, De Jesus churns out classic pop hits with the vigor of Valli and a smooth style all his own. The comedy ensues thanks to Matthew Daily, portraying Valli’s financially doomed best friend, and the hysterically dry-witted bass guitarist, brilliantly embodied by Keith Hines.

As company members glide on and offstage, set pieces sporadically conjoin, transforming the bare set into smoky bars, haphazard motels, The Ed Sullivan Show, and the infamous street light stoop that started it all. The company’s dazzling costumes and iconic references to what originally made rock and pop so glamorous fill the house with happy nostalgia. 

Each scene gives way to uproarious applause and laughter. People of all ages can enjoy the bright lights and rock concert flair that make this show an emblem of rock ’n’ roll’s heydays. Some songs to look forward to include “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Dawn (Go Away),” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” among a slew of other hits ensured to get you up onto your feet.

One thing’s for sure: I’ll be working my way back to Jersey Boys anytime it tours after this whirlwind of fun blows through Syracuse. 

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