Oh what a night ~ Jersey Boys at PPAC

Jersey Boys
Providence Performing Arts Center
220 Weybosset St.
Providence, Rhode Island

I'm still humming the tunes from Jersey Boys. It's full of music that's probably familiar to most adults - top 10 hits from the 50's, 60's and 70's that are American standards now: the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

This Tony-winning musical is basically a docu-concert. Each of the four members of the original Four Seasons (aka The Varietones, The Four Lovers, and others), tells part of the story of the band's history from their own perspective.

There's Tommy DeVito, the bull-headed, belligerent mook who first brought Frankie Valli into the band. Matthew Dailey brings just the right amount of swagger to the role, and has the accent down pat.

There's Frankie himself, born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio, the short man with a tall vocal range. Frankie is played by Aaron De Jesus, whose range could give Valli a run for his money, though he doesn't quite have the vocal quality that Valli does. De Jesus also bears a passing resemblance to Joe Pesci, both physically and in his speaking voice, which is a little unsettling. Especially when the character of Joe Pesci shows up.

There's Joe Pesci's discovery, a one-hit wonder at 15 with "Short Shorts," Bob Gaudio. Even as a youth, he's focused and savvy. Drew Seeley gives him an innocence and steadfastness that matures over the years, but doesn't leave him, even as he writes most of the group's songs, including their number one hits.

And finally, there's the quiet guy. Nick Massi. You know the type. He sits in on the meetings, but doesn't say anything. Meanwhile he's thinking some pretty deep thoughts, and when he does speak up, everyone stops and listens. He's played as eloquent and fastidious by Keith Hines.

The Four Seasons' hits, greater and minor, are interwoven into the story in a meaningful way. When they're performing, you feel the emotion, from the high energy "December 1963" to the heartbreaking "My Eyes Adored You."

For me, there was an added bonus: I was born and lived in New Jersey for the first nine years of my life. Hearing those Jersey accents was oddly satisfying. Like a quick trip home.


  1. We can't wait to see this!!! Seeing it on Wednesday and bringing the whole family visiting from Seattle. Should be a fun first Broadway for them.

    1. If you love the music, you'll really love the show. It's a lot of fun.


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