July 7, 2008

Oh Me Oh Me Oh My-O–Jersey Boys Blog Did Some Time in Old Ohio

July 7th, 2008

With Jersey Boys playing at the State Theatre in Cleveland, we thought–What better time to plan a summer visit back to visit family in Ohio?

Was I getting overly excited for the mother-in-law and the brother-in-law to see Jersey Boys in Cleveland? Well, yeah…As we were on the plane heading to Ohio, the Tech-Half reminded me, “Hey, don’t get all nuts–remember, Mom’s not like your parents–she didn’t spend every day listening to the 4 Seasons. She’s more into Ed Ames and Perry Como!” I reminded him, “Hey, at least Como’s last name ends in a vowel!”

Well, we arrived at Mom’s house the day before the big show, and guess what was waiting for us??? A fabulous JB review from Mom’s Cleveland suburban newspaper (You know you’ve made it when there’s a write-up in the Chagrin Falls’ Times!) and an article about Frankie Valli that one of her pals cut out for her. I thought, ‘It’s a SIGN!–she’s excited for the big show!’

We arrived for the matinee performance last Saturday to an incredibly packed house! This theatre was huge–3,100 seats–and it looked like there was not an empty seat in the house. Lots of baby boomers and quite a few 20 and 30-somethings out for a nice summer afternoon theatre experience. Then, by the time “Ces Soirees la’” was finishing–the whole theatre EXPLODED! Maybe it was the huge theatre? Maybe it was the greatest show Cleveland has ever seen? That was it!

You’ve all read the Cleveland critics raving about the compelling story, the greatest music of all time, the wild audiences’ reactions, and of course this amazing cast! So, I’ll just add a few tidbits of this outstanding matinee performance:

Erik Bates: As Tommy DeVito, this guy has it all! The minute he came out on stage–he was in charge! Fantastic vocals on “Silhouettes,” too!
Zachary Prince: We’ve been hearing how great Zachary’s performance is all over the JBB Forum! You guys were so right! From the time he popped on the stage as little Frankie Castelluccio, the audience was hooked! His “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” number was met with non-stop applause and cheers! Zachary’s rendition of “Working My Way Back To You” was definitely the WOW! moment for me!
Andrew Rannells: We already knew Andrew was sensational as Bob Gaudio from his time in SF, but in Cleveland–his performance as Bobby Businessman was off the charts! As he sang “Cry for Me” and the group’s sound came together, the audience went wild!
Steve Gouveia: Loved him on Broadway as Hank Majewski (and others), and in the JB national tour–Steve made the role of Nick Massi his own! His scene in Gyp’s basement was a show-stopper!

The entire cast was absolutely marvelous! The Jersey Girls Sarah Darling (Francine), Jamie Karen (Mary) and Denise Payne (Lorraine) were incredible in their massive roles! Jonathan Hadley (Bob Crewe) and Courter Simmons (Joey) had the audience howling!

Back to the family–Mom and Eric were sitting one row ahead of us and looked back more than once with the ‘you weren’t kidding about this show!’ look as the show ended with the massive standing ovations for this terrific cast!

After the show, I was rather amazed about how many questions Mom asked me about The 4 Seasons–in particular, the creative genius, Bob Gaudio! As we celebrated with cocktails at the restaurant following the big show, what better way to make a toast than with one of Valli’s lines, “Family is everything!”

Okay, I couldn’t help myself, I had to ask the family about their favorite moments from the show. Eric immediately said it was the build-up to and when the whole world exploded with “Sherry.” He also was into the “Dawn” scene, especially the simulated camera flashes…Hey! the guy’s a photographer, so I knew he’d say that!

Mom’s answer surprised me a bit. She thought for a minute and said, “When the horn section came out during ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,’ because back when they had the handshake, Bobby promised Frankie a horn section!”

When we returned home and unpacked, we realized we accidentally packed one of Mom’s towels. When Dale called to tell her we arrived home and that we had one of her towels, she said, “Yeah, I noticed that. I thought you were pulling one of those Jersey Boys’ tricks with the towels!”


  1. Wow….I love this article! Really cool pictures, too. :)

    Comment by Beth L. — July 8, 2008 @ 1:02 am

  2. What a great commentary on the show. This is the kind of review I love to read – from the PEOPLE!
    Now I am really excited about seeing the tour group again in Dallas.

    Comment by GLADYS MARLIN — July 8, 2008 @ 6:23 am

  3. Great review…Zachary Prince has always been my personal favorite “Frankie”! He nails it everytime.

    Comment by Vinklin — July 8, 2008 @ 10:39 am

  4. Wonderfully written and very touching, Susie. Next time you visit Mom, though, you’d better either have your Sharpie prepared for “Muffin” or have the Tech Half bring his fishing rod so he can join the judge.

    If those don’t work, I’m certain Stubbleyou will be happy to put up the bail money if you and the Tech Half agree to star in the MTV version of his “Silhouettes” followup: “You’re on the Wrong Blog”. But for heaven’s sake, Susie, next time, bring your own towels!!

    Comment by Howard Tucker — July 8, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  5. This IS wonderfully written- two real-life dramas in parallel universes. After all, in any re-cap, the great JB drama is always ever-present; add to that ‘in-laws’ and a trip to Old Ohio and- oh what a weekend!

    Two things you mentioned really caught my attention… the size of the theater possibly magnifyng the explosive reaction of the audience. That makes total sense, of course; it just never occurred to me, but now I look forward to having the ‘JB experience’ in a big theater some day.

    The other thing that impressed me was the mother-in-law loving the moment when the horns came out. It took me several return visits to pick that up. There is so much to process during one’s first ‘sit-down.’ Now I understand where the Tech Half gets his quick processing abilities.

    I love the JB pictures all over Cleveland, too. Me, oh my oh…you couldn’t plan this stuff- the towels, the town…it was all great!

    Thanks so much for sharing the ‘time you did’ with family (the Jersey Boys AND the Ohio one). You gave us front seats to the whole weekend.

    Comment by Audrey — July 9, 2008 @ 10:44 am

  6. Great article Susie! I love it when you make me feel like I was right there with you having the JB fun. It seems your family really took a liking to it. I guess we just added two more fans to the pot.

    Comment by Lauren — July 9, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

  7. Fun article Susie! Especially the towel story. Am glad you had a nice trip – and the pictures are wonderful. So true – family is everything!

    Comment by Angel — July 12, 2008 @ 9:17 am

  8. sarah darling is now playing lorraine. denise payne took over for her as francine. :)

    Comment by Sarah Darling — July 13, 2008 @ 10:01 am

  9. Susie, this was really entertaining! JB and family…you had it all, music, comedy and drama:)

    Comment by LuluThompson — July 16, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

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