This week, the national tour of the musical Jersey Boys made a return visit to Columbus. With it came the classics of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, a great story, and a fun night out.
For those unfamiliar with Jersey Boys, it tells the story of the Four Seasons and their rise to fame, as well as the struggles they faced along that journey. The unique feature of this story, however, is that it’s told to the audience by the band members themselves—each sharing their own side of the story. The show breaks the fourth wall almost immediately, and it stays that way throughout, making the audience an active participant in the story. Many of the songs that are performed are with a concert-like atmosphere, encouraging the audience to clap along and have a good time.
It’s not all fun and games, however. While there is plenty of humor and clever one-liners in Jersey Boys, the musical is not just a Cinderella story of a band growing out of the “old neighborhood”. It also highlights the drama and struggles that the Four Seasons faced in their rise to fame, and the struggles they faced to keep that notoriety. Their individual troubles, and their issues as a group, make for a great drama on the stage, and the cast successfully built up that tension to the point that it was palpable in the audience. The makings of a great story have a balance of entertainment and conflict, and Jersey Boys pulls this off perfectly.
The four stars of the show—Brandon Andrus (Nick Massi), Nick Cosgrove (Frankie Valli), Nicholas Dromard (Tommy DeVito), and Jason Kappus (Bob Gaudio)—carry the story with ease and bring to a range of generations the famous band members. All four are immensely talented, and have brilliant comedic timing, and they each bring something special to their respective characters. Andrus has a very calm, understated way of presenting his humorous lines, which makes them all the more hilarious. Cosgrove has a phenomenal vocal range, bringing the voice of Frankie Valli to the popular musical. Dromard easily balances the humor with the drama, which makes it all the easier to believe the conflict his character brings to the story. And Kappus, while humorous, also brings a wide-eyed innocence to his character that makes his story all the more believable.
The audience was made up of younger and older generations alike, and Jersey Boys is a great story for either (although, it is definitely a musical with adult themes). Those who grew up with the songs of the Four Seasons will enjoy hearing them again in the context of the story, and those of us who are a bit younger can find enjoyment in these familiar songs as well. The story itself is definitely timeless, as are the songs. Jersey Boys makes for an enjoyable night out and is a musical that should not be missed.