JERSEY BOYS: THE STORY OF FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS
book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice music by Bob Gaudio lyrics by Bob Crewe.
Prince Edward Theatre Old Compton STreet W1D 4HS.
Tue – Sat 7:30pm Mat Tue, Sat, Sun 3pm except 31 May-28 Aug Sun Mat 5pm.
Christmas period 2011 24, 31 Dec 3pm only.
No performance 25 Dec, 1, 2 Jan.
28-30 Dec additional 3pm performances.
Runs 2hr 40min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 482 5151.
Review: Geoff Ambler 19 March 2008.
Oh What A Night! There’s a Big Man In Town and he’s Staying at the Prince Edward.
Already a smash on Broadway the inevitability of a London transfer has now been realized and finally Jersey Boys takes up residency in the recently vacated and gloriously Art Deco Prince Edward Theatre. Telling the true life story of the Four Seasons and their rise from the wrong side of the tracks, Jersey Boys focuses on Frankie Valli the falsetto, angel-voiced lead singer. His unique style is magnificently recreated by Ryan Molloy, who he astonishes every time he sings.
Bursting onto the stage with some French Four Seasons Hip-Hop, Jersey Boys meanders through a bleak back story before breaking into the good numbers, and they don’t come too soon. The group’s story might be an against all odds one with mob connections, b & e leading to prison and the various incarnations the group passed through, but it lacks any real book interest.
The glimpses of Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio and Tommy DeVito’s stories could have been more colourful had they been explored further. It is, however, the Valli story that dominates. While the girls get the sassy, snappy one-liners they also get the bad accents and fade in the presence of the Seasons’ performances.
The show feels small in a theatre normally used to housing big shows, it has a minimalist set consisting of a scaffold walkway and spiral stair, with other pieces being wheeled on and off by a small cast, heavily outnumbered by the creative team. However it is the Four Seasons and their music that brings the big family boxes of fireworks and sets the auditorium alight with so many colourful, sparkling performances. When Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Philip Bulcock and Glenn Carter perform they walk like men, recreating a style that became unfashionable – though why it did so is unfathomable after seeing the Boys excite a packed theatre.
With music that helped define a decade and some fantastically fine performers alongside Molloy, Jersey Boys may not have the impact it had in the US, but it is a great musical show that should be on every fan’s must-see list.
(Cast below as at late 2011; original cast members in brackets).
Frankie Valli: Ryan Molloy/Jon Lee (Scott Monello).
Bob Gaudio: Matthew Wycliffe (Stephen Ashfield).
Nick Massi: Eugene McCoy (Philip Bulcock).
Tommy DeVito: Jon Boydon (Glenn Carter).
Bob Crewe: Wayne Smith (Simon Adkins).
Mary Delgado (and others): Rachael Wooding (Suzy Bastone).
Assistant Dance Captain: Laura Brydon
Francine (and others): Lauren Hall (Michelle Francis).
Joe Pesci (and others): Carl Au (Jye Frasca).
Barry (and others): Jo Servi (Tee Jaye).
Knuckles/Donnie (and others): Mark Carroll (Stuart Milligan).
Lorraine (and others): Charlie Bull (Amy Pemberton).
Norm Waxman (and others): Jake Samuels (Griffin Stevens).
Swings: Michael Conway, Lucinda Gill, Trina Hill, Mark Isherwood, Paul Iveson, Tom Oakley, Ben Wheeler (Paul Ayres, Laura Brydon, Lucinda Gill, Mark Isherwood, Kieran Jae, Graham Vick).
Swing & Dance Captain: Ben Wheeler
Director: Des McAnuff.
Designer: Klara Zieglerova.
Lighting: Howell Binkley.
Sound: Steve Canyon Kennedy.
Musical Supervision/Vocal Arrangements/Incidental Music: Ron Melrose.
Orchestration: Steve Orich.
Music Technical Director: Deborah N Hurwitz.
Projections: Michael Clark.
Choreographer: Sergio Trujillo.
Dialect coach: Stephen Gabis.
Costume: Jess Goldstein.
Hair/Wigs: Charles Lapointe.
Fight director: Steve Rankin.
Assistant director: West Hyler.
Resident director: Jon Emmanuel.
Associate designer: Nancy Thun.
Assocaite lighting: Patricia Nichols.
Associate sound: Andrew Keister.
Assocaite musical supervisor: Nick Finlow.
Associate costume: Lee J Austin.
Assistant choreographers: Danny Austin/ Sujzanne Thomas.