DETROIT (WWJ) – If you’ve been fortunate enough to see “Jersey Boys” performed live on stage, you’re probably pretty excited about seeing it on the big screen. I know I was. And because I really enjoyed the stage production – which I saw at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre – I had pretty high expectations for the film version. And while for the most part I did enjoy the movie, it wasn’t that way for the first 30 or 40 minutes. That’s because it took about that long for the film to really get moving and hold my undivided attention; that’s when the fourth member of The Four Seasons, Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) joined the group.
While Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) was the front man, Gaudio wrote or co-wrote some of the group’s biggest hits. And perhaps that’s one reason why the movie started to get interesting; because that’s when the pace picked up and the hits started coming, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “My Eyes Adored You,” just to name a few. Anyone who’s familiar with those songs just can’t help but sing along – even if they’re just mouthing the words and bouncing in their seat to the beat.
While so many people think of musical acts as achieving overnight success – and songs like those mentioned above made The Four Seasons huge stars – “Jersey Boys” shows the hard work, the frustrations and setbacks that also went along with it.
As Young put it, after originating the role of Frankie Valli on Broadway and winning a Tony Award for his portrayal of the legendary singer, he wanted to be a part of the film because it showed that Valli is “not perfect and faces some rough consequences in both his personal life and his career, but it was rewarding to play him warts and all.”
While the film version of “Jersey Boys” is certainly worth checking out, don’t let it stop you from seeing the stage production at your first opportunity. It’s still touring and there’s a long-running show in Las Vegas.
See you at the movies!
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