Review: 'Jersey Boys' at the Fox is Slick and Sophisticated

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

“Jersey Boys” at the Fox Theater is a zip line ride from the beginnings of the group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons through their early, mid and late career. The show is helped immensely by technology as sets slide into place as the performers move from one scene to the next, like a smooth ballet “Pas de deux.” It’s a surprisingly entertaining show one giant step above similar musical retrospectives.

Jersey Boys Courtesy of the Fox Theatre

“Jersey Boys”
Courtesy of the Fox Theatre

This is not the schmaltzy, slap-a-bunch-of-songs-together show you might expect, but a serious and even dramatic look at the early years of a group of New Jersey hoodlum kids and their impressive rise to fame as the now-iconic Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It doesn’t hurt that the audience is treated to such classics along the way as “Sherry,” their first number one hit, followed in quick succession by million-sellers “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Candy Girl,” and several others. Even in their later years, they were still cranking them out with such saccharine hits as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “My Eyes Adore You.” It’s a winning formula that brought the production four Tony awards including Best Musical.

Courtesy of the Fox Theatre

The cast—Nicholas Dromard, Quinn VanAntwerp, Adam Zelasko and Hayden Milanes in a divine performance as Frankie Valli are extremely talented triple-threat performers, able to sing, dance and act with equal skill. They all play their own instruments as they execute synchronized dance moves in a style that totally belongs to choreographer Sergio Trujillo, crisp and precise. The story is also more dramatic than one expects and it’s likely you’ll learn something new, whether it’s that some of the members had brief flings with jail or later devastating tax issues.

Hayden Milanes as Franki Valli in Jersey Boys Courtesy of the Fox

Hayden Milanes as Franki Valli in “Jersey Boys”
Courtesy of the Fox

The industrial set is the perfect backdrop for the show, and its flexibility is integral to the entire concept of the production. In a marvelous touch, during recreated television appearances, the band turns to one wing or the other where a television and crew materialize and broadcast the show in black and white on the giant overhead screen. It looks exactly like every music television broadcast of the 50s and 60s you ever saw. It’s a stellar production any way you slice it, continuing at The Fabulous Fox Theatre through March 2. For tickets and information, visit the Fox Theatre Website.

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