May 25, 2007

JB: The Four Seasons’ Story Headed to the Ahmanson!

May 25th, 2007

Lea Lion of states that most Americans of a certain age only need to hear a few notes of one of the Four Seasons’ many chart-topping songs to identify it. In the early ’60s, the pop group recorded its first platinum title, “Sherry,” followed by the big sellers “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man,” just to name a few. Even now, you would be hard pressed to listen to any oldies station without hearing a Four Seasons’ song.

Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons won the Tony for Best Musical. The Broadway hit, now in previews at the Ahmanson Theatre, opens June 3.But what most people don’t know about singer Frankie Valli, songwriter Bob Gaudio, guitarist Tommy DeVito and keyboardist Nick Massi (aka the Four Seasons) is the hard-luck story of how they made their way from the mean streets of Newark, NJ to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

At least, that was true before the musical Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons set the record straight. Jersey Boys chronicles the Four Seasons’ meteoric rise (the group has sold more than 100 million records). But like any good behind-the-music story, the musical gives equal coverage to the pop stars’ rapid fall from glory… and requisite comeback.

After wowing Broadway and scooping up the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, Jersey Boys landed at the Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, where it began previews May 25 (it opens on Sunday, June 3). Directed by Des McAnuff, the show was written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and features music by Four Seasons member Gaudio, and lyrics by the group’s producer Bob Crewe. Jersey Boys runs through Aug. 31.

The show had immediate cachet thanks to the popularity of the Four Seasons’ songs, Elice said during a recent phone conversation, but it was the group’s story – complete with petty theft, prison stints and Mob ties – that sets the show apart from other behind-the-music dramas. Elice stated:

Everybody knows the songs, but nobody knew the story because it had never been told. Their story had it all in an almost Shakespearean way. I’m talking love and hate, poverty and power, music and money, revenge, betrayal, crime and punishment, women, wives, children and family, which is a very big thematic element in our story and, of course, it had this amazing music backing it up.

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1 Comment »

  1. I think we need to call our oldies station and make sure they are playing more of the earlier Four Seasons recordings. Some are only playing “December, 1963″ and “Grease”. Many “oldies” stations are dropping the early to mid 1960s music altogther. I’d say this is an affront just to Four Seasons fans, but it’s even happening to the Beatles’ and others’ earlier works. The Four Seasons masters have been really enhanced in the last 20 years or so, and they are almost all stereo recordings, and there’s no reason for an FM radio station (or AM) not to play them. It’s not like trying to enhance and play Gene Austin (cowriter of “Lonesome Road BTW) recordings from the 1920s.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 1, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

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