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Pittsburgh by Ann Miner


Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys
Brandon Andrus, Brad Weinstock,
Jason Kappus and Colby Foytik

Jersey Boys, the musical story of the Four Seasons, remains a solid hit on Broadway, going on 7 years now, and its popularity has been extended through tours and sit down productions across this country, in England and in Australia. The tune stack for the jukebox bio-musical is a gold mine, with hit upon hit landing warmly and fuzzily on the primarily baby boomer crowd. The bio part of the "plot" is thin, without any really shocking conflicts. Basically, the group made it to pop stardom because of talent, mostly the writing talents of Bob Gaudio, and having the right sound at the right time.

With so many productions, it's hard to imagine how many actors have been cast as Jersey boys (and now, casting is underway for a film version), but if you want to know what it's like to go through the process of auditioning, casting, and training, a Jersey Boys actor has written a light and entertaining book about his own experiences: I highly recommend Daniel Robert Sullivan's Places, Please!: Becoming a Jersey Boy. It's basically a very long and involved process, which you might guess if you take note of how finely tuned a machine this show is. Everything seems to be choreographed down to the smallest breath, it all moves quickly, and each performance I've seen has been nearly flawless. It's a whirlwind of a theatre experience.

For the current tour, the young but experienced foursome are successful, as expected: Brandon Andrus is Nick Massi, Colby Foytik is Tommy DeVito, Jason Kappus is Bob Gaudio, and Brad Weinstock is Frankie Valli. There are fairly specific physical and vocal requirements for each part and, though Kappus may be too boyishly youthful as Gaudio and Weinstock isn't as strong in falsetto and transitions as the real Valli, it's easy to accept them in these roles. Tommy DeVito carries most of the narration in the show, so his personality becomes most familiar, and Foytik does an outstanding job, with lots of swing and swagger, of really selling the role and the show.

A few miking issues aside, this touring production looks and sounds as bright and fresh—and fun—as ever. The production values are top notch, the staging is extremely creative, and the show is packed with nearly three dozen songs (done in part or whole) and almost as many costumes. Unless you find 1960s pop songs to be like fingernails on a chalkboard, this is a guaranteed "feel good" show.

The Jersey Boys at the Benedum Center through September 23. For tickets and performance information, visit www.trustarts.org/events. For more information on the tour, visit http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour/.


Photo: Joan Marcus


See the current Schedule of Pittsburgh Theatre.


-- Ann Miner



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