'Jersey Boys' are back at the Schuster this week

“Sherry” from “Jersey Boys.” Pictured (l to r) are Drew Seeley, Matthew Dailey, Aaron De Jesus and Keith Hines Submitted photo by Jeremy Daniel
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“Sherry” from “Jersey Boys.” Pictured (l to r) are Drew Seeley, Matthew Dailey, Aaron De Jesus and Keith Hines Submitted photo by Jeremy Daniel

The boys are back by popular demand.

Jersey Boys, the popular musical based on the lives of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, returns to the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center from Oct. 18-23 for eight performances. Count on hits from the ’60s and ’70s including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.”

Ken Neufeld, president and CEO of Victoria Theatre Association, says one of the reasons the musical is being brought back to Dayton is that it had a tremendous three-week engagement in Dayton in January 2012. “VTA makes it a priority to book the hottest shows with the most demand for tickets,” he explains. “The success of ‘Jersey Boys’ in 2012 was integral in the decision to bring the show back this month.”

If you've never seen 'Jersey Boys'

The play is based on the true story of four blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks — Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi — who became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sound and sold 175 million records worldwide — all before they were 30!

The Broadway show, which is divided into four parts and told from the perspective of each of the band members, won Tony awards including the award for Best Musical and a 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. The author of the book of the play, Rick Elice, interviewed three of the living band members while working on the script. A movie adaptation of the show, directed by Clint Eastwood, was released in 2014.

“Walk Like a Man” is a favorite song in the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys.” Submitted photo by Jeremy Daniel
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“Walk Like a Man” is a favorite song in the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys.” Submitted photo by Jeremy Daniel

Group honored at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 

Meredith Rutledge-Borger, associate curator for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, says The Four Seasons were important to the history of Rock and Roll because they added polish and finesse to doo-wop. “The group took their sound uptown and eventually to the bright lights of Broadway without ever losing their Newark, New Jersey boys street-wise earthiness,” she says, adding that Frankie Valli’s three-octave vocal range and Bob Gaudio’s hook-laden songwriting elevated the Four Seasons among vocal groups.

The Rock Hall honored the Four Seasons with a special exhibit upon their induction in 1990, and again in 2008 in Las Vegas when “Jersey Boys” opened for its record-setting run there. Rutledge-Borger says while the Broadway show takes liberties for the sake of entertainment, it fairly accurately reflects the Four Seasons’ real life dramatic story.

She believes audiences continue to relate to that story and to that music because the members of The Four Seasons were “ordinary guys with extraordinary talent, guys that you might meet at your corner bar or working a job. They were ultimately relatable, with the same very human ups and downs that we all experience.”

Rutledge-Borger says it’s interesting to note that “Goodfellas” actor Joe Pesci was instrumental in bringing The Four Seasons together. “He introduced Bob Gaudio to Frankie Valli, and the rest is history!” she says.

The Four Seasons in the recording studio. Submitted photo.
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The Four Seasons in the recording studio. Submitted photo.

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: “Jersey Boys,” a musical play

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 23.

WHERE: Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St., Dayton

TICKETS: $30-$97, available at the Ticket Center Stage Box Office, located in the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center, by calling (937) 228-3630, (toll-free) 888-228-3630 or online at www.ticketcenterstage.com

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