The music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is ubiquitous. Whether or not you realize it, you've heard their songs on the radio, in TV commercials, movies or covered by a contemporary artist. Their repertoire of hits like, "Sherry," "Walk Like a Man" and "Big Girls Don't Cry" is ingrained in American pop culture. The story behind those songs and the group is just as endearing.
Jersey Boys at Paris Las Vegas takes audiences into the lives of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio and their rise to stardom as The Four Seasons. The show, written by Marshal Brickman and Rick Elice, begins with four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark, N.J., to achieving their dreams of being in a famous music group. Their captivating journey to stardom is told through the sensational cast and the band's hit songs like "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Rag Doll," "Oh, What a Night" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."
Each of the Four Seasons takes a turn telling their side of the story. It becomes clear that while their voices fit together in perfect harmony, their distinct personalities and lives were a sharp contrast to their symphonic sound.
"We put Jersey on the map," says DeVito, who is the first storyteller for the evening. "Ask four guys how it happened and you get four different versions but they all start here."
As he narrates, the other characters play out the live version of his recollection of how the band came together. He floats in and out of his role as both a narrator and an active part of the scenes.
After DeVito introduces the audience to his band and his life in Jersey he describes hearing Valli's stunning falsetto and taking him under his wing as the new singer for his band. DeVito is the guiding force for the band and recommends that they need one more guy to complete their sound. His friend, Joe Pesci, initiates a meeting between Bob Gaudio and the rest of the band.
Already a one-hit wonder at the age of 17 with his song, "(Who Wears) Short Shorts," Gaudio becomes the final piece of the puzzle. Next they meet up with Bob Crewe, a producer who helps set the boys up with a gig singing back-up for various artists.
Gaudio takes over as the storyteller and explains how he contrived the band's first No. 1 song, "Sherry." This is also the first Four Seasons' song in the show, and the anxious audience explodes with applause at their electrifying performance. The classic songs and impassioned actors transport the audience back to a time when they first fell in love with the Four Seasons.
The show progresses with seamless transitions between acts that flow together more like a movie than a theatrical production. Props and set pieces move on and off the stage in seconds without interrupting the developing story line.
Despite what happened behind the scenes, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons produced more than 70 chart-topping hits including eight No. 1 songs. They have sold more than 175 million records worldwide making them one of the best-selling musci groups of all time. Watching their story unfold in a live production show is a captivating experience for anyone in the audience.
This compelling story, combined with riveting performances and endearing music, reiterates why The Four Seasons are a truly timeless act.
-- By Caroline Fontein
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