July 16, 2009

Jersey Boys Outstanding in Oz!

July 16th, 2009

Here’s a preview of the latest thumbs-up review of JERSEY BOYS in Melbourne by Geoff Cumming in the New Zealand Herald:

Just don’t call it a musical, Bob Gaudio says insistently. Then he sits forward, fixes his gaze on a hapless Melbourne radio hack, and adds with Tony Soprano-like conviction: “It’s a drama with music.”

Gaudio isn’t even a New Jersey native but no one’s about to argue. He is the songwriting genius behind The Four Seasons, the 60s crooners distinguished by Frankie Valli’s three-octave voice. Their string of doo wop-inflected hits held back the British invasion in America before they hit the rocks – thanks to their New Jersey Mafia links – and rose again in the 70s on the back of disco.

Now he’s reluctantly back in the limelight as the mentor for Jersey Boys, a surprise success to emerge from the torrent of pop-based musicals unleashed by Mamma Mia.

Aged 66, tall and slim with a healthy crop of silver hair, Gaudio is Downunder to oversee the Melbourne launch of the musical – ahem, biopic – which has collected Tony Awards, a Grammy and an Olivier Award since its Broadway debut in 2005.

It’s more that the Four Seasons came and went in an era when pop stars weren’t subjected to the 24/7 scrutiny of television cameras, Facebook pages and gossip columnists. The enduring image was of finger-clicking young men in suits with elastic vocal chords who sang ridiculously catchy tunes. The reality, of course, was rather different.

It’s the back story which raises Jersey Boys an octave or three higher than those musicals which are little more than a nostalgic trip through hits linked by a barely traceable story – the kind Gaudio is at pains to distance Jersey Boys from.

Yes, it’s a warts-and-all story laced with tragedy but in the end, as Frankie says, “all there was was the music”. And that blokish New Jersey bond which endured familial and financial disasters.

1 Comment »

  1. WOW!! After having seen TJB’s in both San Francisco and New York–oh what a night–in Las Vegas on July 25th!! We along with other members in the audience were treated to what we believed to be the most energetic and emotional performance we had ever seen. From the opening chord to the final encore the ensembles performance was the best…..period. Deven May kicked it off with his strong voice and presence. However, the big surprise for us was David Damato. As Frankie Valli, David simply blew us away with is energy, vocal range and connection with the audience. We went in thinking OK its LV and left wondering why this ensemble was not in NY.

    Comment by JAS — July 28, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

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