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July 2011 Artfully Speaking

Touch it. Experience it. Own it.

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Oh, What a Night!

The Smash Hit Jersey Boys rolls into town this September 

The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys s a Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning musical that opened in 2005. Still playing on Broadway and around the world, I had the good fortune to catch it a couple of years ago at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis when Omaha native Andrew Rannells was in the cast playing the role of songwriter Bob Gaudio. Rannells was nominated for a Tony Award for his current role in The Book of Mormon.

If you’ve never been in the Fox Theatre, it is worth the visit alone! Restored much like our Orpheum Theater but on a much grander scale⎯the Fox has almost twice as many seats⎯the cavernous former movie palace is an example of 1929 Byzantine Revival magnificence.

Thanks to Rannells, I scored excellent house seats in the 8th row center.

The show was a complete surprise to me. I was a huge Four Seasons fan in junior high through college, so I naturally knew all the music. What was so interesting and entertaining was the story of these blue-collar boys who wrote their own songs and invented their own sound in the ‘60s.

This is more than just one musical number after another; it is a truly engrossing tale with the music cleverly used to advance the story. I was so proud to see Rannells, having known and worked with him here in Omaha when he was a teen. And I was doubly proud to see him nail a pivotal role.

But it is the distinctive falsetto of the Frankie Valli style, the great tight harmony of the ensemble and period-perfect choreography that makes this musical soar.

I have to warn you that the audience will sing along at this one. I decided to move at intermission. One reason was that I wanted a different view from a few rows farther back. Being a stage director/actor myself, technical aspects and staging are always of interest to me. The other reason was the two overly enthusiastic fans seated behind me who insisted on singing louder than the actors.

Catching up with Andy after the show confirmed my suspicions.

“That always happens!” he explained. “Audiences hum, sing and sometimes even dance along with the show!”

So, be prepared!

“You’re just too good to be true. Can’t take my eyes off of you!”

Classic! This is one show you do not want to miss and I can all but guarantee that even those not usually inclined to attend musical theatre will rave about it!

-end- metroMAGAZINE




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