Detroit loves “Jersey Boys.” Enough, apparently, to merit the prime holiday position in the national tour schedule.
In the winter of 2009-10, “Jersey Boys” came to Detroit and played to a 99% capacity house for over five record-breaking weeks – a total of 90,000 patrons. It’s not surprising. “Jersey Boys” is one of those shows you can see over and over again and enjoy just as much each time.
Based on Tuesday’s opening night crowd, a lot of fans were “seeing it again for the first time.” It’s a new cast – but just as gifted – with the same electricity, same sweet music, and same gritty, compelling story that makes it a hit with people of different generations, genders, and cultural backgrounds.
If you just beamed down from another planet, “Jersey Boys” is the amazing show based on the music and careers of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the band that topped the charts in the mid 1960s, with eight number one hits. The play won the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award®, the 2006 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia).
Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, (recently of Stratford fame), the play is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by original Four Season composer Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.
For this national tour, Detroiters have another reason to check out the show. Tommaso Antico, a Michigan native from New Baltimore, plays the role of one of the later band members, Hank Majewski plus several other characters. He was nice enough to answer some questions for hometown fans.
Q. How long have you been touring with Jersey Boys?
Tommaso: I have only been with Jersey Boys for about seven weeks; I am the newest member of the cast. I rehearsed with the show for a month and I've been performing in the show for only three weeks now.
Q. What was your first impression of the show… any favorite parts?
Tommaso: I first saw the show about five years ago when I was in callbacks for it, and my first impression was "I'm gonna be in this someday." It took a little longer than I had expected, but the world works in mysterious ways. One of my favorite parts of the show is the finale. Seeing the audience jump to their feet never gets old.
Q. You’re a local boy… why do you think “Jersey Boys” is so popular with Detroit audiences?
Tommaso: Jersey Boys is popular wherever you go. The music speaks to everyone. Whether your parents played 104.3 while growing up, or you actually were a kid in the ‘60s and personally got to see the Four Seasons grow into a phenomenon, there is no denying that their music is timeless and contagious. Detroit audiences will be no exception.
Q. What’s your advice to young Michigan performers?
Tommaso: To my young Michigan performers, I can only say that if you really want it, it's possible. It's not easy. It's not fair. It's not glamorous. But if you have the love of art in your heart, it doesn't matter. All will fall into place and everything will turn out just fine. Go for it. It won't be easy. You'll want to quit some days. Have thick skin; study hard and know that you are enough.
Q. Any shout outs to New Baltimore/Detroit favorites?
Tommaso: I would just like give a shout out to all of my teachers that molded me into the performer I am today. David Visnaw, Catherine Russman and Dawn Battice. They introduced me to the love of art, believed in me and helped me grow as a performer and a musician. I am forever grateful for this power team for I couldn't have done it without them.
You can enjoy Tommaso Antico at the Fisher Theatre as part of a terrific cast that features Nick Cosgrove as Frankie Valli, John Gardiner as Tommy DeVito, Miles Jacoby as Bob Gaudio and Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi.
The magic that is “The Jersey Boys” runs through January 6, 2013, with a special New Year’s Eve performance on Monday, December 31, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are selling quickly, so check with the Fisher Theatre box office for available dates and show times, which include several matinee performances. The Fisher Theatre is located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd., in Detroit.
Tickets range from $34 to $94 (includes parking and facility fees) and are on sale at the Fisher Theatre box office and all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets are also available for purchase online or by phone at 1-800-982-2787.
Still looking for a perfect Christmas gift? You can't miss with tickets to "Jersey Boys;" people who've seen it inevitably want to see it again.