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Ever since I heard Terry Gross' interview with Bob Gaudio, I've been hoping "Jersey Boys" would tour to Seattle, and when I learned it would be here this March, I started to stalk Goldstar. Happily, it was listed on this week's newsletter, and I grabbed a ticket for opening night last night.

The structure is that each of the Four Seasons took the narrative for a stretch, with many, mostly quick scenes -- the direction was fast-paced and the coordination of the scene changes was spot on -- and lots of the Four Seasons' glorious music in between. There were the four main leads, and a half dozen or so men and three women who played all of the other parts, some of them recurring, including Joe Pesci, who was a jazz musician Gaudio played with and who introduced Gaudio to DeVito.

Tomasso Antico, who normally plays a bunch of smaller characters, replaced Drew Seeley as Gaudio, and while he wasn't quite channeling his inner Joisey, was especially engaging and played Gaudio with a lot of charm. He had a voice of gold, just beautiful.

Aaron de Jesus portrayed Frankie Valli. That is kind of like playing Pavarotti, a very tough road to hoe, but the four men, including Matthew Dailey as Tommy DeVito and Keith Hines as Nick Massi, blended really beautifully, and de Jesus really shone harmonizing with and soaring over the ensemble. He was also a terrific actor.

Dailey didn't sugar-coat DeVito: he was a thug, with a heart of brass. There was nothing particularly likeable about him -- he was the type of guy who would disagree -- which made Valli's loyalty to him brutal.

For the first act, Massi is in the background; it wasn't until partway through the second act, when he addressed the audience and said (something like), "I haven't said much until now." He was the observer, and given what Gaudio said about Massi, he drew the short straw and wasn't really given his due in the narrative. Hines was broad and very funny in the role as written.

What I found most fascinating was the extent to which each of the men expressed characterization through dance and movement. The star of that aspect was Matthew Dailey: in all of the mostly synchronized musician dancing, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. Every move was right in the pocket.

The music was divine. The only downside was the sound system and/or the sound mixing. Maybe I'm too old, but amplified music should not drown out the singers, which it did on occasion.

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Thanks for the report. I did see the movie, which was disappointing (and I hope the Italian-American stereotyping isn't part of the stage show). It was hard to tell if this was because Eastwood had no feel for the material or if the material was part of the problem. Everyone I know who's seen the theater show liked it.

Has anyone else seen it?

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