Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
The jukebox musical once again captivates the audience. Those of us who remember the late '50s and '60s are transported back to that time, when rock 'n' roll was king. Four astounding singers cast a spell over the audience with their precise movements and thematic resonance.
Though many biographical musicals have clunky books, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice's book is excellent. Jersey Boys' main purpose is to relay the noteworthy events of the Four Seasons story and the eventual solo career of Frankie Valli. No punches are pulled as we are told the behind the scenes stories of Frankie Valli, Tommy De Vito, Nick Massi, and Bob Gaudiothe four blue-collar Italian boys from Jersey City.
Aaron De Jesus gives a pitch perfect performance as Frankie Valli. He delivers a dynamic portrayal of the famous singer. He has an extraordinary angelic voice that resonates with great impact. Matthew Dailey as Tommy DeVito dominates the first act with his Jersey accent that sounds like it is straight out of "The Sopranos." He plays the brash, wise-guy type to perfection. He also has great vocal chops when singing with the group.
Drew Seeley give a solid performance as straight arrow Bob Gaudio. He makes a great appearance on stage and has a strong singing voice. Keith Hines underplays the role of Nick Massi until the end, when he bursts out in sudden talkative frankness. The women have very little to do in this mostly mannish musical. There is also a very large ensemble cast and all give good performances in various roles.
The staging of Jerry Boys is adrenaline charged, with LED screens, atmospheric lighting by Howell Binkley, Michael Clark's apt and inventive projections, and the excellent Sergio Trujillo choreography. Kiara Zieglerova's scenic design is a simple industrial scaffold set and catwalk.
Des McAnuff's direction is sharp and uncomplicated. The songs under Ron Melrose's dynamic music direction with great orchestrations by Steve Orich are terrific.
Jersey Boys plays through 14th, 2016, at the SHN Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 888-746-1799. For upcoming shows and tickets visit www.shnsf.com. For more information on the tour, visit www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour.