Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jersey Boys Here at Last!

   The smash Broadway hit – Jersey Boys, the Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – is finally in Omaha. Tonight is preview night at the Orpheum Theater, at 7:30 p.m. Tomorrow will see a rare weekday matinee at 2 p.m. and another performance at 7:30.
   Then Friday, it’s the official opening night at 8 p.m.
From left, Quinn VanAntwerp, Matt Bailey, Joseph Leo Bwarie and Steve Gouveia will entertain us in Omaha.
Photo: Joan Marcus

The musical about the Rock ’n Roll Hall-of-Famers took home the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album among other honors.
January 30 of this year, Jersey Boys worldwide had passed the $1 billion (yes, with a “B”) dollar mark. Not bad for a story about four blue-collar guys from the wrong side of the tracks whose unique sound propelled them to the top of the pop music charts in the 1960s. 
The show has been called “a play with music” because of its compelling story. What it is NOT is a tribute band or impersonator group. 
There are 52 people in the traveling company, including 19 actors, many of whom play multiple roles, some as many as 16 to 18 roles!
   Those four guys sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they were 30. There are 33 songs in the show, including five #1 hits and 11 that made Billboard’s top 10. But there were still 19 hit songs, including four top ten hits, that didn’t make it into the show!
   They wrote their own songs, invented their own sound, and became one of the most successful pop sensations of all time. 
   Three of the four original band members, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio and Tommy DeVito, participated in the writing of their “rags-to-rock-to-riches” story. Can’t get much more authentic than that. BTW, the fourth member of the original band was Nick Massi. 
   The musical has enjoyed great success since it opened on Broadway on Nov. 6, 2005. There are now five touring groups worldwide.
   How about more trivia? 
  • Frankie has five costume changes, destroying a pair of pants a week (sliding on his knees). His shortest costume change is 15 seconds.
  • There are 102 shirts in the show, including reproductions of vintage shirts (patterns are printed on fabric by computer and then made into shirts, costing over $200 a yard). 
  • 87 shoes are used in one performance.
   It all adds up to a big show with a big sound.

   Say you don’t remember the Four Seasons? How about “Big Girls Don’t Cry” or “Sherry,” or “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”?  Now you remember. Hear these and many, many more, starting tonight.
   The show runs in Omaha for three weeks, through Sunday, Sept. 25. Songs like “December, 1963” and some language may be inappropriate listening for younger audiences.
  Tickets, starting at $28, can be purchased at the Holland Center’s Ticket Omaha Office, online at, by calling 402-345-0606.
   I’ll be there. Will you?

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