By Myah Schultz
Hurry down to the Orpheum Theater February 3-5, and let Jersey Boys (book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio) transport you to the golden age of rock n’ roll. This rip-roaring jukebox musical, which chronicles the lives and careers of Frankie Valli and the rest of The Four Seasons, is filled with songs you’ve heard a thousand times before, and a story that you probably haven’t.
The scenic design (by Klara Zieglerova) is simple, versatile, and effective. Throughout the show, the industrial scaffolding that comprises the set is used to evoke everything from seedy Jersey nightclubs to glamorous concert venues to rundown jail cells — and is equally believable in each role.
Zieglerova’s set design works in concert with Howell Binkley’s lighting design to create one of the most impressive visual moments of the show. As the end of act one draws near, The Four Seasons reach the zenith of their career. Frankie Valli (Jon Hacker), Tommy Devito (Devon Goffman), Nick Massi (Matt Faucher) and Bob Gaudio (Eric Chambliss) turn upstage to perform “Dawn” to a crowd of thousands.
Meanwhile, we (the real audience) are dazzled by brilliant lights that frame the band and make us believe that we’re on stage with them, being cheered on by a stadium’s worth of people. The energy created in this scene is truly electrifying.
Frankie Valli is one of the most recognizable singing voices of the last century, which makes for a very challenging role. Jon Hacker rose to the occasion, putting on an exceptional performance. In addition to recreating Valli’s iconic sound, Hacker let us hear Valli’s musical development as the show progressed. We watched (and listened) as Frankie Valli transformed from an untrained, uncertain teenager into a rock n’ roll legend over the course of two and a half hours. By the time Hacker hit his final note in “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” at the back half of the second act, I had forgotten that he was an actor and not the genuine article.
This production of Jersey Boys, extraordinarily executed by a talented group of actors and musicians, is a must see!
Show dates are Thursday, Feb. 3 to Saturday, Feb. 5 at the historic Orpheum Theater. Performance times are Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday at 8:00 pm, and Saturday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
For tickets visit the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis), call (800) 982-2787, or visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org.