“Oh, What a Night” was had Wednesday, July 23, by the enthusiastic ASU Gammage audience reveling in the musical magic of “Jersey Boys” — the Tony Award-winning story of four blue-collar kids who became the 1960s chart-topping The Four Seasons. In just two and a half hours (including a 15-minute intermission), the talented 21-member cast transforms Klara Zieglerova’s simple, fluid, multilayered set into the sinister back streets of New Jersey townships, the smoky interiors of no-name bars, and the brilliant television stage of “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
The captivating production’s dynamic pace, remarkable artistry and authenticity are the product of the creative collaboration of director Des McAnuff and writers Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman, who’ve employed the music of Bob Gaudio and the lyrics of Bob Crewe — the composer and producer, respectively, for The Four Seasons — to tell a story that’s been captivating audiences all over the world since its 2005 Broadway premiere.
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo validates the historical setting by reproducing the band’s original hallmark dance moves and uses precisely timed combinations that allow the multitalented, multirole-playing actors and actresses to seamlessly change costumes or move sets on stage in the midst of monologue, dialogue or rock ’n’ roll music.
“Jersey Boys” is an incredibly refreshing show bursting with 34 musical numbers that include “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Oh, What a Night,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Rag Doll,” and a show-stopping rendition by Hayden Milanes of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
The show reminds us that there’s still hope — anyone with true grit can make their own American dream into a reality, that real life is hard work, that the bad will pass — but the good will too, that family is everything, and that fame has a price.
It was the working-class people of the 1960s who made The Four Seasons famous — their music was and is the soul of the common man — and the only thing missing during Wednesday’s show was a dance floor.
Tickets are available at the ASU Gammage box office (1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe) as well as online at ASUGammage.com, and cost between $28.10-$153.75. The show runs through Aug. 3 (note that “Jersey Boys” is not appropriate for young children.)
• Diana Smith is an Ahwatukee resident passionate about the intersection of art and culture in Arizona.