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Jukebox musical ‘Jersey Boys’ picks up the pace for today’s audiences

By in Press Enterprise on January 12, 2018

By George Paul

Steven Van Zandt once described Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons’ chart-topping 1963 single “Walk Like a Man” as “the perfect record — the song, the arrangement, the performance, the production.” The musician/actor/radio host also said it “absorbed doo-wop and introduced New Jersey attitude in a tougher and completely original way.”

That realistic East Coast sensibility is part of what set “Jersey Boys” — which details the pop band’s compelling career trajectory — apart from other jukebox musicals upon its 2005 Broadway debut. Multiple Tony awards and national tours followed. The latest run arrives in Riverside and Costa Mesa next week.

In early 2017, “Jersey Boys” closed in New York City, becoming the 12th longest running show on the Great White Way.

“It’s the story of four guys from the wrong side of the tracks, who against all odds succeed and then fall apart,” said Richard Hester, supervisor for all “Jersey Boys” stage productions internationally.

He attributes the musical’s continued popularity to the fact that “everybody has a dream of really succeeding at something. Watching that lightning strike — even after all these years, every time I see it, there’s a sense of ‘Are they gonna do it this time? Are they gonna make it?’ You root for the guys. Their successes become the audience’s successes.”

Music Supervisor Ron Melrose credits the “Jersey Boys” legacy — which also includes the 2014 film directed by Clint Eastwood and co-starring Christopher Walken — to the book written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

The 4 Seasons members’ “lives made a great story. We got the right playwrights to tell it,” affirmed Melrose.

“There’s a pace and flow, in and out of the music and storytelling, that just keeps you on the edge of your seat.” Even a rehearsal experiment, leaving out the music and then the script, proved “both […]    

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