Four men in suits stand center stage as the last line of an upbeat melody—“who loves you pretty baby”—becomes a chorus of male voices caught on a high octave. The next beat hits and the voices rise higher, to a note seemingly unreachable with human vocal chords. Then both lights and music simultaneously go out. But the pause is brief: the roar of the audience rises almost instantaneously.
So ends “Who Loves You,” the hit by the Four Seasons performed by Broadway’s Jersey Boys: Richard Blake, Matt Bogart, Joseph Bwarie, and Quinn VanAntwerp—the actor counterparts to the real-life band members Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi, Frankie Valli, and Bob Gaudio, respectively. They are joined on stage by female singers and players of various instruments as the four wade through life from mediocrity to notoriety and back to mediocrity. The story materializes through the songs that led the New Jersey natives to stardom—“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)”—and to the band’s eventual collapse.
The show, directed by two-time Tony award winner Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio, and lyrics by Bob Crewe, has been running on Broadway for several years, yet acclaim has not ceased. “Too good to be true!” hails New York Post. “The crowd goes wild,” says the New York Times, “I’m talking about the real crowd at the August Wilson Theatre, who seem to have forgotten what year it is or how old they are…and everything that had led up to that curtain call feels as real and vivid as the sting of your hands clapping together.”
For a performance as visual as it is auditory, as soulful as it is upbeat, don’t miss Jersey Boys, now playing at the August Wilson Theatre.