DALLAS On its second national tour stop in Dallas, this time at the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Winspear Opera House, Jersey Boys is still too good to be true. The 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, which chronicles the story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons -- and is packed with their unforgettable music -- is playing through mid-July on the Lexus Broadway Series.
And there's good reason to believe that the show will continue packing the houses for its five-week stop here. That's partially because the show, a jukebox/bio musical, is better put together than any other example of this genre (the book is by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice; music, of course, is by Bob Guadio and Bob Crewe, two of the original Four Seasons).
But more to the point, it's because the music is so impeccably performed by the foursome in this case, not least of which is Brad Weinstock nailing the booming falsetto voice of Valli.
When they start such songs as Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Dawn (Go Away) and Walk Like a Man, the crowd goes wild.
You might be a little confused in the opening number, though, which shows a contemporary French hip-hop version of Oh, What a Night. That's to set up the idea that the Seasons' music has transcended time, geography and style. From there, we get a somewhat chronological look at this story, from the formation of the band in the 1960s, to rising and then wild stardom, and of course the fall as members are released (some by their own choice), and then it fast forwards to a performance at the groups' 1990 induction to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
Directed by Des McAnuff, and with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, the look of the show (multi-level set by Klara Zieglerova and costumes by Jess Goldstein) keeps up with the passing decades, and there's clever use of video as we see them perform "live" on American Bandstand, and in the pop art-style interstitials that accompany some of the songs.
Some of the warts-and-all character development, such as Bob Crewe's (played by Barry Anderson) gambling problem, Bob Guardio's (Jason Kappus) first sexual encounter and Nick Massi's (Brandon Andrus) perennial backseat status, offer some insight into a group of men who were destined to make music together.
All of it is perfectly coiffed, not a hair out of place.
And then they sing.
They're all fine actors and dancers, but it's ultimately the voices and the vibe of the original band that carry the day.