The audience in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium quietly sang along to every word in every song from the Jersey Boys musical selection, as the actors gave the show of a lifetime.
Jersey Boys follows the story of four boys from Jersey: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi, and how they became the band the world knows and loves today — The Four Seasons.
Though the world knows their music, not everyone is familiar with the story behind each of the boys from Jersey who sang together under a streetlamp and created a beautiful quartet. The band’s members faced hardship with love, death, debt and friendships, but all came together under their shared love of music.
The national tour of the beloved Broadway show consisted of minimal set design, created by Nancy Thun, but instead, lots of moving pieces that created the smoothest flow through every transition into each scene.
The costumes, created by Lee J. Austin, were the icing on top of the Jersey Boys cake. All of the technical aspects of the show were insanely creative and paid massive attention to detail, down to filming the actors performing life to be “broadcast” on television shown above the performers.
Every aspect of the technical side of the show should be appreciated, but it’s the actors who truly stole the show. Bruno Vida, Frankie Valli’s understudy and a swing in the production, stepped in for Jon Hacker as Frankie Valli for this performance and truly had the voice of an angel. Valli’s character is the backbone of the show — if you don’t have a good Valli, the show doesn’t work. But Vida’s performance as Valli was truly phenomenal.
It’s also important to note Eric Chambliss’ brilliant portrayal of Bob Gaudio, which happens to be the show’s shining star character. Gaudio writes all of the songs for the group and is a huge asset throughout, and Chambliss did a tremendous job.
Aside from Vida and Chambliss’ performances, everyone in the show was extremely well-cast, including Corey Greenan as Tommy DeVito and Michael Milton as Nick Massi. Each character remembers and tells the story slightly differently, but each gets equal time as the narrator throughout the duration of the show. It’s interesting to get each member’s perspective, and the way the songs are incorporated as half concert style and half situation-based increased the flow of the performance.
Audience members could barely keep from bursting into song throughout the performance.
Megan Doll, a sophomore studying retail merchandising and fashion product development, came to the show based on a recommendation from her friends, and ended up loving it.
“I came with my friends to see the show, and I really like it,” Doll said. “The music is so good and it’s a funny show, so I’m really glad I came to see it. I definitely hope to come see more shows here.”
Betsy Shamhart drove all the way from Glouster to see the show after receiving a recommendation from a friend.
“A friend of ours had seen the show a few times and recommended it to us,” Shamhart said. “We’re having a great time. We love the music because it’s from back in our day. It’s a terrific show, and the performers are awesome.”
Peggy Gatchel, Shamhart’s friend and fellow Glouster resident, used to work at Ohio University making drapes for the dorms, dining halls, offices and some in MemAud. Gatchel said she was excited to return to OU and see a new show.
“I think it’s so great, I love it,” Gatchel said. “We grew up with the music. I was born in the ‘50s. They need to bring more shows like this to Athens — the quality and the acting are so great.”
Jersey Boys has received Tony Awards, Drama Desk Awards and Grammy Awards, and now the beloved musical can add another notch to their belt: love from the MemAud’s audience.