November 2, 2010

Jersey Boys, Vegas Style

November 2nd, 2010

(Photo credits for 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9: Patti Massi-Candeliere)

By Patti Massi-Candeliere (with Audrey Rockman)

Entering the Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino was truly luxurious, and the background music throughout the hotel was serene and calm, tastefully complementing the look of this elegant hotel. What a thrill to see this Jersey Boys theatre within the Palazzo, with the store nestled right next to it. How divine it was to stroll through Vegas’ warm weather, while excitedly anticipating being with the Boys, with a capital “B”! It was so thrilling to see this particular production because Las Vegas is a place I will always love (besides Jersey, that is!).

This show is a tie to many great memories for me. As the oldest of all the Four Seasons’ daughters, (but still very young at heart) I truly appreciated our fathers’ music – each and every song – remembering that explosion of success. My Dad knew of this play before he passed and was very excited. People have commented to me that it’s sad he didn’t get to see the show. I can’t deny they’re right, but I feel that my Dad has the best seat in the house right now. And as Frankie Valli would say…is that style or what?!!! I know he is truly missed by his former band members.

I’ve never spent a moment thinking… who plays their character ‘better’…when it comes to the casts of various productions. This is a hit show all over the world and each cast member auditions for, and is screened by, no other than Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli, so every performer has to be better than good and talented in all areas–singing, dancing, and getting thoroughly immersed in their role (even though some fans may have their favorites).

The casting line-up the night I was there was — Travis Cloer as Frankie, Deven May as Tommy, Jeff Leibow as Nick, and Peter Saide as Bob. (I didn’t get to see Rick Faugno as Frankie, but I look forward to catching him on my next trip!) Jeff and all the Boys did a wonderful job, and they certainly seem to get along like family, which is important when you spend so much time together. Not only was it a great show, but these guys were cordial and all smiles afterwards; it was a pleasure to see them all, especially Jeff, who plays my Dad.

Like all the Nick Massi actors around the world, Jeff puts his own spin on my Dad’s character, but I must admit I couldn’t resist giving him a few personal insights on the ORIGINAL Nick Massi. Imagine, a nice Jewish guy playing the role of my thoroughly Italian Dad. Jeff & I had a good laugh about that. Great actors have a way of stepping into another person’s shoes and leaving their own behind for those two and a half hours.

I went on to share a few interesting stories about my Dad…letting Jeff know how truly likable and compassionate my Dad was and a bit about his favorite pastimes. Dad was a great cook, recreating his mother’s Italian gravy and other favorites like pasta fagiola, escarole and beans, eggplant, his unique Italian hot dogs and much more. He loved crossword puzzles, billiards and was a star Jeopardy player. He enjoyed watching sports, especially golf, football, baseball and hockey. He loved to watch my brothers play hockey and supported us when we had a band that we would jam with.

He was all fun and a real ham. He loved Sinatra and in addition to painting him, could imitate his voice to a tee. Another trait of my Dad’s, was that he was very happy for those he was close to, when nice things happened in their lives. My Dad was never jealous; always a true friend. He never said a bad word about anyone. One serious decision, though which he made in his life was that he would never lose my mother. She was his girl, right to the very end.

Dad was in many ways, a religious man and I recall how he just loved the Italian priest, Padre Pio. Dad was an artist his whole life and he decided to paint Padre Pio, as you can see posted on his website. Dad often prayed that one day they would make Pio a saint. That prayer came true the year after my Dad passed. Padre Pio had dedicated his life to people who were sick, suffering or troubled; he WAS a saint, in every sense.

I went on to tell Jeff how ‘Rag Doll’ was one of my Dad’s favorite songs, although they were ALL very special to him. Each song was like his baby, a few which he wrote and others that he nurtured and developed before the group took them into the recording studio. Dad was very talented in the spotlight and had the good looks to match. He loved his music and played right up until a few months before he passed. He always did (and always will) love the Seasons and the significant part which the group played in his life. I really wanted Jeff to know about my Dad and his music, but ALSO my Dad, the man.

Now, back to the show that brings us all to the JB Blog so often. That evening, my eyes caught everything going on with the cast on stage; watching the story develop and listening to the music with their particular style. The show and corresponding memories are still overwhelming for me because it was a very special time in my life and that of my family. It was then, and still is, a joyous time; and my dad’s spirit feels the same way, I’m sure.

I really loved every one up there on that stage. John Salvatore, playing Bob Crewe had me laughing so many times. The expertise of the real Bob Crewe came through and how his talent as a producer was top notch. My connection to cast member Jonathan-Gerard-Rodriguez (playing Joe Pesci and others) goes back to my current neighborhood along the Jersey shore where I saw him in August at his parents’ house. Not only did we get to visit with Johnathan, when he was there this summer, but also his parents and Aunt Ceci and Uncle Jim. I want to give a shout-out to his sweet girlfriend, Andrea, who also shares a dedication to working in the performing arts. He is blessed to be in such a magnificent play from a very down-to-earth, Jersey family. I was just SO happy to be enjoying part of my Vegas stay with the “Jersey Boys.” I had a nice time with you ALL. Thanks for a GREAT show.

Ciao…watch for Part 2 tomorrow!


  1. That was a great report Patti. Its good to hear all those wonderful things about your dad. Wish I could have met him.

    Comment by Lenora Antunes — November 3, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  2. Wow, Patti…what a touching article. I’ve seen the show many times and have been on two of Audrey’s tours, and you still have told me a lot about Nick that I didn’t know. He sounds like a great man and it’s obvious you loved him very much and it’s so touching that he was so dedicated to your mom.

    Comment by Howard — November 3, 2010 @ 11:25 am

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