Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Plotline of musical success in ‘Jersey Boys’ sure to impress

October 2, 2011

As I sat outside the door of Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall Friday evening, eagerly awaiting the start of the Broadway musical “Jersey Boys,” I noticed I was one of the only college-aged people present. And then I started to wonder if the production, which highlights a band that became successful decades before I was born, was going to be too mature for my taste.

But after not even five minutes into the show, I realized that was not the case.

“Jersey Boys,” which will continue to run at Wharton Center until Oct. 16, combines energetic choreography, classic music and a compelling plotline to tell the true story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Even those who never have heard of 1960s pop group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons are bound to find something enjoyable about “Jersey Boys,” which keeps viewers of all ages engaged with its upbeat and comical tone. It is a story of a specific band but also of hard-working young men going through times of self discovery, heartbreak and betrayal.

The production, which featured 33 of The Four Seasons’ greatest hits, included many songs I was not familiar with but still enjoyed, such as “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby” and “Beggin.’”

And of course, some of the band’s most well-known songs also were performed. My favorite songs of the night, some of which I grew up listening to, included “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

I had expected either the powerful music or the captivating plotline to outshine the other, but to my surprise, the two aspects of the show harmonized perfectly, making “Jersey Boys” unlike any other musical I have seen before.

Complementing the main aspects of the production was the simple and versatile set that was visually stimulating without being too flashy and distracting from the overall production.

Although there were a few references of drug use and sexual encounters and a decent amount of vulgar language I still believe the show is one that can be enjoyed by a younger crowd.

The cheerful and energetic first half of the show was balanced by a more melancholy and slightly depressing — but still enjoyable — second half. Some somber moments, such as when Valli and his wife break up or when Valli’s daughter dies, reminded the audience of the hardships the band had to endure before they became the success everyone knows them to be today.

While watching the show and taking everything in, I tried to find an aspect of it I thought could be improved upon. But I was unsuccessful. I acknowledge my lack of Broadway experience could be the reason I failed to notice anything wrong with the show, but I don’t think that was the case.

By the end of the night, I found myself feeling as if I had grown up during the ‘60s, listening to and falling in love with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons like the rest of their fans did. I left Wharton Center with more than the memory of a fun-filled night of music, dancing and good company. I was fortunate enough to be given a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of some of the country’s most famous and influential musicians.

I could have used the internet to research Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, or read a biography about the group, but then I wouldn’t have developed a personal connection to the band like I did by seeing the members’ lives unfold before me on stage. And I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun.

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