Do you know the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons?
It’s a very cool story.
The Jersey Boys is the Broadway version of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and we saw it over the weekend at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. As with most Broadway plays, I had heard of The Jersey Boys but didn’t know much about it. The musical is done documentary style with various narrators stepping out of character to describe the story as they sang the hits of The Four Seasons.
Frankie Valli has lead a life full of turmoil and music so it stands to reason it would make a great docu-musical.
The fact that boomers grew up listening to his music helped pack the house when the musical was launched at the LaJolla Playhouse on the left coast. When the musical headed for Broadway, the crowds followed and in 2006, The Jersey Boys hit Broadway and was awarded four Tonys.
It packed the house at TPAC. The first play we have seen at a Saturday matinee that was even close to a sold-out house.
Boomers know the music – you probably necked to the music – you may have even danced at your wedding to the music of The Four Seasons:
- “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
- “Walk Like a Man”
- “Dawn (Go Away)
- “Rag Doll”
- “Silence Is Golden”
- “Let’s Hang On!” (#3)/”On Broadways You”
- “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
… and that is just a short list of songs from the sixties… audio clips are here.
Here are some other cool factoids:
- Joe Pesci is the guy that formed The Four Seasons. Yup, THAT, Joe Pesci. He worked at a bowling alley and heard the guys harmonizing under a street light. (Wonder why Pesci hasn’t been making films? He’s a major investor in the musical!)
- Bob Guardio, one of the original members and the song writer of all the early hits lives in Nashville.
- Franki Valli and Bob Guardio formed an independent side partnership outside of The Four Seasons on a handshake deal that exists to this day.
- The group’s first hit “Sherry” was written in fifteen minutes by Guardio.
- The name came from the bowling alley where Pesci worked but would not book them as an act.
- The idea for the play came from Valli and Guardio.
- UPDATE: Valli took over a million bucks in debt for a group member to keep him away from mob retribution.
I found this very odd. Some of the audience acted like they were seeing Frankie Valley and The Four Seasons. Early in the performance they stood and sang along and cheered when a recognizable song was sung. I didn’t get that. It wasn’t a standing ovation after the song, it was singing along!
Frankie Vallie is still working and still singing to packed houses.
If you grew up listening to Frankie Valley and The Four Seasons on your car radio or a jukebox, it’s worth the time and effort to see The Jersey Boys.