The terrific national tour of the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys” opens the Victoria Theatre Association’s 2016-2017 Premier Health Broadway Series at the Schuster Center.
Humorous, poignant and super cool, “Jersey Boys” takes an engaging look at the highs and lows surrounding iconic hitmakers Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The blue-collar troupe, consisting of Valli, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi, and Tommy DeVito, took the world by storm selling 175 million records throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but it wasn’t an easy journey. DeVito’s massive debts threw the group into a tailspin. The professional chemistry and pivotal collaborative deal between Valli and Gaudio bothered Massi and infuriated DeVito. Instead of merely filling the show with as many hits as possible (the downfall of many jukebox musicals), librettists Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise (“The Addams Family”) astutely realize how dramatic these revelations can be in order to fuel the plot. Topics of love, loss, adultery, family, drugs, and prison also effectively broaden the tale’s scope. In many ways, “Jersey Boys” can be perceived as the male kindred spirit of “Dreamgirls,” an equally vivid and relatable account of a tight-knit music group trying to succeed at all costs in the face of great adversity and infighting.
Briskly directed by Des McAnuff with appealingly masculine choreography by Sergio Trujillo, the production is skillfully led by Aaron De Jesus (Valli), Cory Jeacoma (Gaudio), Matthew Dailey (DeVito), and Keith Hines (Massi). De Jesus, one of the best triple threats to portray Valli, brings his superb falsetto to the forefront in such fantastic performance numbers as “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” but also displays great tenderness in more moving songs as “My Eyes Adored You” and “Fallen Angel.” The immensely charming Jeacoma expertly conveys Gaudio’s intellectual sensibilities and artistic proficiency. A wonderfully understated Keith Hines shines as the introverted Massi. Matthew Dailey brings authoritative command and smug complacency to the hot-tempered, jealous DeVito. His bond with De Jesus is especially strong considering DeVito took Valli under his wing as a father figure. Enjoyable featured portrayals are offered by Barry Anderson as the flamboyant songwriter/producer Bob Crewe, Kristen Paulicelli as Frankie’s wife Mary Delgado, Leslie Rochette as Frankie and Mary’s daughter Francine, and Jessie Wildman as reporter Lorraine.
Don’t miss this highly entertaining showcase returning to Dayton for the first time since 2012. Oh, what a night indeed.
“Jersey Boys” continues through Oct. 23 at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. The production is performed in 2 hours and 40 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Tickets are $30-$107. For tickets or more information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com. Patrons are advised the show contains adult language.