Main menu

Pages

Full 'Jersey Boys' Entertainment at Capital Rep in Albany

featured image

With so many theaters going on during the summer months, it’s often difficult to decide what to see. Those looking for vibrant musicals, lighthearted comedies and sensitive dramas will find something for all tastes.

If you want all three in one show, ‘Jersey Boys’ at the Capital Repertory Theater is the way to go. This is the story of what became known as the musical group Four Seasons, or later Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Their music dominated the 1960s and 70s, but it has never been defined by the era. No matter your age, listening to songs like “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” you can tap your feet, nod your head, and lip-sync along. increase. And that’s just one example of the great music we heard all night long.

The genius of “Jersey Boys” is that book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Ellis combine these songs with compelling narratives about the group’s personal lives. it’s truth. This team is responsible for demonstrating the dramatic and entertaining potential of the Jukebox Musical.

The first act of the show is by far the most enjoyable. It tells the story of how criminally inclined Tommy DeVito decided to form a musical group to help him escape the New Jersey slums and occasional prison life.

Nothing worked until they brought a busboy named Frankie into the act. The trio of DeVito, Nick Massi and Frankie Valli achieved modest success under various names. But when the public’s taste leaned toward a male quartet, they added a very young, confident performer and magical songwriter, Bob Gaudio, to the group. Called it the Four Seasons, named after the bowling alley he frequented.

The first act is fun, optimistically funny and filled with their best music. By the end of the act, however, it became clear that DeVito’s unethical behavior had caused trouble. Soon Nick Massi grew tired of being the Ringo Starr of the group and left the Four Seasons, and Gaudio stopped performing to focus on composing and producing Valli.

Whereas the first act is the unlikely creation of the Four Seasons, the second is about integrity, determination, and the price of success. It’s still a fun, compelling story, but the tone becomes more mature as you get out of debt.

Music director Todd Olson performs magic with the cast. Comparisons to the original are meaningless, as he relies on classical tunes and draws on the skill of each performer. You believe they are four seasons. This is especially true of Evan Jay Newman as Frankie Valli. He never wins his contest like Valli blinds his sound his alike, especially in his first few songs, but as the show progresses, it makes little difference. Newman fills the role as an intense, respectable man humbled by his talents. He captures those qualities vocally and morally, even when he becomes lead man.

Justin Scott Brown is equally remarkable in finding the charm and confidence of Tommy DeVito, a man with no moral compass at all. is. Brian Michael Henry as Nick is also excellent as he makes the unseen creation an important physical entity.

But it’s Jeffrey Klinger who brings Bob Gaudio to life with a stellar performance. His absolute confidence in his songwriting talents and his unfailing faith in Valli’s singing ability make them more than members of a handshake partnership. is a blonde preppy who knows his worth, and the other is an Italian kid who grew up a step away from prison – they bond like brothers and bring moral integrity to the show.

A very large supporting cast is great. Shannon Rafferty captures just the right amount of toughness tempered by her affection for her cheating husband Frankie. With Bob Crewe and Kyle Garvin delighted in some of the roles, you can’t help but smile whenever Shane David Cameris makes an appearance.

Freddy Ramirez’s choreography perfectly captures the ’60s, and his larger ensemble works are enjoyed by all ages. He does the same for costume designer Howard Zvi Kaplin. However, through his use of color, he gives each major character a sense of identifying personality.

Designer David McKellen-Robertson has crafted a compelling feature set, perfectly used by director Maggie Mancinelli Cahill, to create a fluid story that keeps us entertained.

“Jersey Boys” runs through August 21st at Albany’s Capital Rep. For tickets and schedules, call 518-346-6204 or visit capitalrep.org.

Bob Goepfert is a theater critic for Troy Record.

Views expressed by commentators are solely those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.