May 21, 2016

Jersey Boys Natl Tour Shines in St. Louis!

May 21st, 2016
(l to r) Dru Serkes, Keith Hines, Aaron De Jesus, Matthew Dailey, Drew Seeley and Thomas Fiscella Photo: Joan Marcus

(l to r) Dru Serkes, Keith Hines, Aaron De Jesus, Matthew Dailey, Drew Seeley and Thomas Fiscella Photo: Joan Marcus

The JERSEY BOYS national tour return to St. Louis (playing through tomorrow at the Fox Theatre) is receiving RAVES from critics! Check out snapshots below: The stars of this production carry it off in style. Strong actors and singers all, they make you feel tha they are the first actors to take these roles, not merely the latest ones. Aaron de Jesus, as lead singer Frankie Valli, has a fine falsetto and a firm hold on a character who grows from a nervous teen to a big star to a heartbroken father to a mature man who still finds the determination to keep on trying.

Drew Seeley makes an unflappable Bob Gaudio, the Season who wrote all the music. The real Gaudio wrote his first hit, “(Who Wears) Short Shorts,” at 15; it makes a cute number here. There’s more good work from Matthew Dailey as Tommy DeVito, a rough character who nevertheless got the group going, and from Keith Hines, whose portrayal of fastidious Nick Massi contributes plenty of laughter. Serious lighting work from Howell Binkley is a major contribution to the feel of the evening. And then there’s the costume design from Jess Goldstein. Once upon a time, teen idols performed in suits and ties, kids. Extra points for the brocade jackets, a perfect example of what it really looked like in those days.

There are times when even serious theater-goers just want to be entertained. Here’s their chance. The show covers much of the bands ups and downs. From their early hits of “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” to the pitfalls of their fame including money, debt, rivalry within the band and even the death of Frankie’s youngest daughter Francine. I was glued to the show from the very first scene and was making plans to attend another showing during intermission. Aaron DeJesus hits the high notes as Frankie and shines on stage. The rest of the cast does an incredible job, as well. And the music, oh the music will have you singing along and bopping in your seat. The Jersey Boys musical has been raved about for years and I can see why. It was one of the best shows I have ever attended! There was not a weak link among the cast. While I doubt the majority of the cast wasn’t even born during the peak of The Four Seasons, they each paid the needed respect to each of their characters. That said, there are a few that deserve special recognition. To the drummer who was onstage most of the time – assumedly Mark Papazian – my hat is off to you sir. Truly an unsung hero of the show, this man’s drumming was breathtaking. While he may have not ever said one word, his presence on stage was mesmerizing.

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