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Jersey Boys

November 27, 2012
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Event: Jersey Boys : The Story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
Run: From 15 November 2012
Venue: Sands Theater, Marina Bay Sands
Book by: Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Music by: Bob Gaudio
Lyrics by: Bob Crewe

The latest anchor show at MBS brings us back to the 60s where the greatest hits were created by a band of blue-collar guys (Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi) from New Jersey. You may not be familiar with the name now, but the songs you must know as they have been covered numerous times. Meet Frankie Vallie & The Four Seasons, the group that brought you hits like “Sherry“, “Big Girls Don’t Cry“, “Walk Like A Man“, “December 1963 (O What a  Night!)“, “My Eyes Adored You” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You“. Honestly, I didn’t know some of these songs were by them for they have passed through the decades, sung and re-sung. Listening to them at the production, one can’t help but want to sing and dance along to the tunes, and you must admit, some of these are still quite timeless.

The first act was basically how the group was formed, starting from Tommy’s initial own trio band, till he roped in Frankie, and after shuffling here and there, the final group started off as The Four Lovers initially. This was followed by how they became a hit starting from “Sherry“, which was written in 15 minutes! And the hit songs just kept coming. I felt one of the defining moments here came when the four of them sang together for the first time. It was like everything finally fitted into place; the voices, the people. It was like magic. I don’t know how they created that effect; that moment when nothing else was right before until that destined moment when the four converged.

For something like this, the casting would have to be crucial. For the show I caught, I had Jaco van Rensburg as Frankie, Daniel Buys as Tommy, Kenneth Meyer as Bob and Emmanuel Castis as Nick Massi. Jaco was great in his falsetto. I don’t think it’s that easy to find someone with a similar range as Frankie. There was also a need to cast a team that was as close to the originals as possible, and the harmonisation required. I thought Emmanuel’s bass vocals could have been amplified a little though.

If the first act got you swinging in song, the second act took on another turn when emotions ran deep. Fault lines had appeared, but one also saw loyalty. Act 2 had me tearing as you watched the original group breaking up and when Frankie finally presented “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (though there was a slight wavering in the delivery). The scene with “Fallen Angel was heartbreaking too as Frankie grieved the loss of his daughter, Francine. But it was heartening when you saw the group come back together again near the end.

I think Jersey Boys is something worth catching not just simply for the hit songs, but also for the story of how one group made their own way through the charts writing and producing their own music. I think theirs was an amazing journey. Makes me want to grab their albums.

You can find out more about the show at http://www.jerseyboys.com.sg.

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One Comment leave one →
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