Currently playing at the Times Union Center, Jersey Boys, adapted from the book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice with music by Bob Gaudio and Lyrics by Bob Crewe, is probably the most fun you can have via musical time travel in Jacksonville, Florida. It is currently in the running for “the most fun you can have at the theater” anywhere, anytime.
With standout performances by Preston Truman Boyd (Bob Guadio), Joseph Leo Bwarie (Frankie Valli), John Gardiner (Tommy DeVito) and Michael Lomenda (Nick Massi), not to mention a fantastically talent laden cast that sings, plays multiple parts, moves sets, and, in general, stands behind the fun four, Jersey Boys delivers in true Broadway style, even if the story is set in New Jersey. The tale of four young men, whose talent and determination took them to the top of the music charts repeatedly over the course of several decades, is told in the voices of the four main characters: Bob Guadio (Boyd), Frankie Valli (Bwarie), Tommy DeVito (Gardiner) and Nick Massi (Lomenda). Though about people who became celebrities, this story has elements all of us can empathize with; jealousy, ambition, dreams, love, triumph and tragedy, all portrayed with humor, style, and wry honesty, not to mention MUSIC.
The story is great, but the score is phenomenal. For those of us who grew up with it, or learned to dance to it, the music is nostalgic, bringing back a flood of memories with each song. For the younger members of the crowd, the performance is a memory maker all its own, proving that the best music, like the best literature, transcends the limits of time and genre. When music is this good, the lyrics, the beat and the melody are enough to keep us listening, or reading, long after it has supposedly gone out of style.
I have been to shows where the hype didn’t match the reality, but in every way, Jersey Boys delivers. Better yet, it has traveled well. My husband and I saw the show in New York several months ago and were wowed by every aspect of the performance, from staging to choreography, storyline, acting and, let us not forget, the MUSIC. Last night was no different. We walked out of the Times Union with the happy feeling of time well spent. Make the time to go see Jersey Boys. Like us, you will not be disappointed.