Review: Broadway Across Canada presents “Jersey Boys”
Big girls don’t cry. But they might if they saw Jersey Boys. The iconic Broadway hit packs as much of an emotional punch as it entertains and delights. The true story of music icons Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons comes to life in this splashy, colourful production that is big on music, drama, and visual storytelling.
It’s sort of bizarre musical theatre fare, when you think about it. A true life story about a ragtag musical quartet from rough-around-the-edges New Jersey. There’s turmoil, drama, death, and terrible behaviour on all counts. But then again, when a story is this juicy and comes accompanied with such brilliant pre-made tunes, it’s exactly the kind of story that belongs on the stage.
It’s certainly a far cry from the over the top fantasies and fictions that have become the more popular go-tos in recent theatre history, but it’s exactly that angle which makes Jersey Boys so refreshing. Every ounce of the story comes from the gritty, impressive lives these musicians lived, warts and all. This is a story that really isn’t pretty, but that makes it relateable.
On the flipside, this world of the Jersey Boys is just as fully realized in full style down to every detail like all of its fellow successful Broadway productions presently wowing the world. Watching this production is like stepping into the 1960s and being a fly on the wall for every one of Valli and Co.’s business meetings, recording sessions, and family crises.
Jersey Boys delights right across the board, held up by four pillars of stunning performances, led of course by Jonny Wexler in the titular role of Valli himself. There isn’t really a weak link of the bunch though, each offering a different piece of the puzzle that makes up a very entertaining and emotionally wrought production.
On the surface we have a group of raucous, egotistical musicians who broke chart topping records and saw undeniable success in their heyday. But Jersey Boys helps break down the stigmas, the gossip, and any questions that people may have had about The Four Seasons’ careers and lives. There’s a lot of information packed into one musical, and the pacing and the staging unravels these stories in a beautifully executed manner.
Naturally, the sets glide in and out seamlessly, the outfits are perfectly tailored in that classy ’60s vibe, and the live band adds the backbone to Wexler and the rest of the cast’s brilliant voices. Jersey Boys will delight audiences of all ages. It’s the perfect throwback for the older crowd to reminisce down memory lane, but these timeless songs will charm and delight newcomers as well.
Broadway Across Canada‘s presentation of Jersey Boys runs November 14 through November 19, 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Performances run Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8pm, Sunday evening 7:30pm with 2pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday.
To purchase tickets to Jersey Boys, visit Ticketmaster.ca or call 1-855-985-5000. Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 1-800-889-8457. Ticket prices start at $30.50.
Main image: Jonny Wexler, Tommaso Antico, Corey Greenan and Chris Stevens in Jersey Boys. Photo: Joan Marcus