Oh what a night, late January back in 2019. The sixties sensations, Jersey Boys, are back in Manchester and ready to charm.
My mum and dad actually fought over who would come as my plus one. I’m not joking. I should have known it’d cause an argument. Passed down from my grandparents, to my parents and now to me, The Four Seasons sounds filled my home growing up. No wonder my ‘rents were itching for a ticket. So, in the end my Dad won the battle, but I’m certain not the war.
There’s something about New Jersey
So clearly there is something in the water, as New Jersey has produced dozens of legends from Frank Sinatra to Whitney Houston and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, The Four Seasons, are no different.
This Musical follows the true story of four everyday boys who become super stars. But what I didn’t know, was just how turbulent their past was. Or criminal. But I guess organised crime was hard to avoid in New York back in the 60s. Especially when you were playing the clubs they owned.
Four boys become legends
Natural leader, Tommy Devito decides to start a band and brings on board his pal and fellow jailbird Nick Massi, a master of harmonies. He spots the talent of Frankie Valli, the boy with the voice of an angel, and finds the final puzzle piece in the shape of Bob Gaudio, a songwriting wizard.
But it’s not such an easy ride. From trying and failing to stay out of trouble and figuring out their identity, it’s a long road to finally get a record company to listen. Once they do finally hit it big, more feuds, dodgy debts and troubled family lives shatter the group.
Peter Nash is the perfect Tommy, boasting a brash attitude and laying on the cheeky charm. Michael Watson is clearly born to be a leading man and brings the recognisable tones of Frankie Valli. Lewis Griffiths has a voice deeper the the Grand Canyon and adds humour to the show, whilst Declan Egan plays Bob Gaudio with such presence and maturity. Four superstars!
More than a jukebox musical
What I really love about this Musical is the fact that it doesn’t really feel like a Musical. Confused? I see it more like a play with songs. The story drives the show forward at lightning fast speed and keeps you interested. There is never a dull moment given the boys have such a fascinating past. It’s quite incredible what they went through.
A lot of the pace comes from the fact that it is written with such creativity. The story is told using four perspectives as the boys take the narrator role one after another and voice their opinion. This format was inspired by The Four Seasons themselves after they were interviewed separately and painted their own unique pictures of the past.
A music masterclass
Last but not least, of course the music itself is unrivalled and has sold 175 million records world wide. This show certainly does not skimp on the songs. It is jam packed with the biggest hits such as ‘Sherry’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Walk Like a Man’ and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, to name only a few. It’s almost impossible not to sway or sing along.
Jersey Boys is a timeless hit that I could watch over and over and over again. If you like their music, then you will love this Musical. It left me feeling uplifted and inspired!
Jersey Boys is playing in Manchester until 16 February.
Purchase the Original Broadway Cast Recording.
Let me know if you have seen this Musical or love The Four Seasons music below.