My brother T watched this last year on Broadway, and loved it. Now, T is not really a big musical fan, and for him to rave about one (with retro music as well!) just meant that Jersey Boys was a production that had wide appeal. And what appeal! In 2006 it won 4 Tonys, including Best Musical.
Of course, with the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, how could it miss? My brother didn’t realize it, but he already knew a lot of the music, just because the songs of Frankie Valli are considered to great “oldies” standards today. Who wouldn’t know “Walk Like A Man”, or “Sherry”? A lot of their songs are used now in movies as part of the soundtrack. Their songs are always chosen in karaoke bars, and everybody knows the words to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”.
For me, I love musicals and oldies music, so T immediately told me that I HAD to watch this. No need to convince me (there was even one summer where I listened to “The Best of Frankie Valli” incessantly, so I was already a fan of his), but I didn’t see a trip to New York in the near future.
Since C had a dinner scheduled on our one night in Sydney, I was left to find my own entertainment. Imagine my joy when I found out that Jersey Boys was showing in Sydney! Just around 5 blocks from my hotel in fact!
(Note: I found out it was showing by going to the Sydney Visitor Centre. All tourists should make this their first stop, as the Centre will tell them where to go, what’s currently showing, and even make arrangements. Such convenience! Visit them at http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au/sydney-For_visitors-Sydney_Visitor_Centres.htm)
I was able to get a ticket at the Ticketmaster booth (again, near my hotel), so I was all set. Even though the play was popular, it was easy to get a ticket for 1 person.
Curtain up at 7pm so that meant a quick, unfussy dinner.
Since I was in Australia, I just HAD to eat an Aussie Meat Pie! I got one from a kiosk called “Pie-Face”, a very cute kiosk selling all sorts of sweet and savory pies. Check them out here: http://www.pieface.com.au/.
I chose the classic Steak Pie. It was served piping hot, with an appealing puff pastry crust.
One cut and the savory gravy oozed out, and the aroma of slowly-stewed beef wafted up. Mmmmmm…..!
The steak pie was delicious! Nothing fancy. Just a good flakey crust, tender, bite-sized steak (and they didn’t skimp on this!), and lashings of gravy.
After devouring my pie (in a flash!), I walked over to Theater Royal, where Jersey Boys was playing. See what a great seat I got at the last minute.
Again, this seat was only possible because I was only one. The play was pretty much sold out.
Jersey Boys didn’t disappoint. It about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from the points of view of the 4 main characters, each representing a “season”. “Spring” (or the beginning) was told by the group’s original leader, Tommy DeVito. “Summer” (when the group started getting popular) was told by the member who wrote all the songs, Bob Gaudio. “Fall” was when the group started having problems, and was told by member with the lowest profile, Nick Massi. And finishing off with “Winter” was Frankie Valli, when all the original members of “The Four Seasons” leave, and Frankie becomes a single-name act.
The music is the draw of the play, as the engaging tunes have everyone clapping along and bobbing their heads. It was also very interesting (for a fan like me) to know the trivia behind some of the songs (for example, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” was almost never released).
I thought they did an amazing job in casting, as finding someone who could hit Frankie Valli’s high notes AND look like him couldn’t have been easy. And the cast, with their Jersey/Italian accents, sounded so mafioso that you almost expected Tony Soprano and Sonny Corleone to come out and belt out a tune.
The audience left the play in high spirits, dancing to the music and probably buying the soundtrack. Who could resist?