Making a compelling case that the Four Seasons deserve equal footing with the Beatles and the Beach Boys, "Jersey Boys" is an incredibly thrilling, fast-moving and emotionally complex story of a band's rise, fall and redemption.
Wafting its energetic, "Behind the Music"-style tell-all story along with the pacing of a concert, the show is a feel-good romp that captures both the letter and the spirit of the group's humble, poverty and crime-pocked origins to dizzying Ed Sullivan Show and world tour heights.
The infighting and ego-driven self-destruction that follow lead to introspective nuance that fills out the philosophical weight behind a cavalcade of hits that might otherwise seem like bubblegum pop anthems.
No matter how solid the storytelling, "Jersey Boys" would be nothing without pitch-perfect casting and inspired performances. This touring performance lacks neither.
Jon Hacker delivers a spellbinding three-octave vocals as Frankie Valli, leading the way as Eric Chambers, Matt Faucher and Devon Goffman. The robotically quaint choreography nails the sound and spirit of the group, rocketing you decades back through time to make you feel as though you're at genuine Four Seasons shows.
I was particularly impressed by the nuances in the group's chemistry and harmonies as they roll through their career. Watching the Four Seasons evolve from a ragtag, unconfident group of street performers to a polished machine of 45-rpm immortality is breathtaking.
An overwhelming sense of joy courses through the audience throughout the show, and cast members are eagerly appreciative of the energy, basking in the adulation after show-stopping turns. The smiles on these Four Seasons facsimiles can't be faked, no matter how talented the actors may be.
This is true-blue channeling of the spirit of the 1960s and 70s, and well worthy of every clap and squeal of delight they earn.
"Jersey Boys" plays at Centennial Hall through March 20. Buy tickets here.