Last night, the Curran Theatre in San Francisco was the center of the golden oldie universe.
The Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys kicked off its national tour, but it doesn’t look like the show will be going anywhere for a while. If the phenomenal audience response last night — not to mention all the curiosity at the office from people who hardly ever talk to me, let alone about theater — is any indication, we’ll be seeing a lot of these Jersey boys in the coming months.
You can read my four-star review here, but I feel the need to review the opening-night audience as well. If you’ve ever been to an official press opening, you know how weird they can be. You’ve got stodgy old critics like me, pens in hand, who don’t respond much, and then you have all the invited guests (that is, people who got their tickets for free) over-reacting, so the response is far from natural.
That wasn’t the case Sunday at Jersey Boys, which, if you don’t know, is the musical biography of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The mostly middle-age (and older) crowd whooped and hollered and carried on such that the show stopped no fewer than three times — after “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man” in Act 1 and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” in Act 2. The actors had to hold while the audience made repeated attempts to tear the roof off the theater. My personal favorite Seasons song is “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night),” which opens the show (in its hit 2000 French hip-hop version), reappears in an Act 1 deflowering scene, and then keeps the blood pumping at the top of Act 2.
Perhaps the audience reaction had something to do with the fact that the real-life Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio and Tommy DeVito (not to mention songwriter Bob Crewe) were in the house and took the stage at the curtain call to take bows with their theatrical counterparts.
I can’t say enough about the fab four at the story’s center. Conveniently, three of them have Web sites, so you can check them out for yourselves.
– Christopher Kale Jones (Frankie Valli): www.christopherkalejones.com (currently under construction, but now that the show’s open, surely Christopher will get around to finishing up the site)
– Michael Ingersoll (Nick Massi): www.michaelingersoll.com (a slick site)
– Erich Bergen (Bob Gaudio): www.erichbergen.com (a My Space page that includes four songs, including one of my new favorites, “Bless the Broken Road”)
– Deven May (Tommy Devito): Deven May Photography (how much talent can one guy have?)
These guys are stars in the making. Who needs Broadway when the tour is this good?
And there are juicy rumors afloat out there that Steven Spielberg is interested in making a Jersey Boys movie. Guess we’ll see how Dreamgirls does to determine if or when the movie gets made.