Jersey Boys is a musical unlike any other; with 57 prestigious awards under its belt and a jukebox set-list that will have you tapping your toes throughout the whole run.
Now, the Tony Award-winning show has worked its way back to Wolverhampton as part of its 2018 tour.
Based on the true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – that’s with a ‘i’, not a ‘y’, because all Italian surnames end with a vowel according to Frankie’s first wife, Mary – Jersey Boys tells the story of the rise of one of the biggest bands of the 70s, whose music has been enjoyed by millions.
Although many faudience members go the watch the show to enjoy the band’s catalogue of hits, what they may not expect is the true story that lead to the success of the four boys from Jersey.
While they appeared sharp and clean-cut for their concerts, recordings and TV appearances, the truth is, mostly all of them spent time in prison for a list of crimes, which threw one or two spanners in the works when it came to the ‘make or break’ moments in their careers.
I’ve never seen the show before, but I’d been told to expect great things – and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Packed will all the biggest hits including Beggin, Oh What a Night, Cherrie, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Working My Way Back To You, it’s so easy to see why this hit musical has been enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.
Taking on the role of the legendary Frankie Valli is no easy task, especially for an understudy, but it’s one that James Alexander Gibbs absolutely nailed from beginning to end; at no point did his voice faulter.
James stole the show with his charming character and his solo moments in Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and My Mother’s Eye’s well and truly captured the hearts of the audience.
The same can be said for the rest of the lead cast, too. Simon Bailey was simply sensational as the band’s founder, Tommy Divito; Lewis Griffiths, was lovable and cheeky as Nick Massi, and Declan Egan made the perfect Bob Gaudio, the man who many will know, was the brains behind some of the Four Season’s biggest songs.
So much pressure comes when performing the biggest hits of one of the world’s most respected bands, but the four leading Dad’s did a stand-up job with their tight harmonies and genuine chemistry on the stage.
Same can be said for Joel Elferink, who was simply outstanding as the band’s incredibly camp producer, Bob Crew.
Jersey Boys is a musical that certainly gives its all to devoted Four Seasons fans – and then some.
With slick choreography, smooth set changes, and a band a cast that deserved nothing less than a standing ovation, Jersey Boys will leave you Beggin’ for more.
Jersey Boys runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday, September 8.
Disclaimer: I was gifted these tickets by Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. All views of this performance are my own unless stated otherwise.