By Pat Jenkins
“Jersey Boys,” which is a few days into a month-long run that continues through May 4 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, both informs and entertains as a behind-the-scenes story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
It informs by opening the book on the charismatic lead singer and the group that churned out Top 40 hits in the 1960s and remained relevant before coverage of music performers and celebrities was a 24/7, prying preoccupation of the entertainment media. So, except for the most ardent and knowledgeable fans of Valli and the boys, “Jersey Boys” reveals in I-didn’t-know-that detail how they came together and mostly stayed together. Suffice to say they would have been juicy material if they were getting their start today.
The show also entertains thoroughly throughout its two-plus hours with spot-on performances of all the Four Seasons’ standards, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” The songs tell the group’s story in a way that feels biographical and relives what it must have been like to be at one of the group’s concerts.
The singing is superb, led by Brad Weinstock as Valli (Weinstock will take the matinees off; even a voice like his needs rest). The packed house at the April 6 performance seemingly was transfixed by the music, applauding and cheering after virtually each number and giving a standing ovation after the closing scene. It’s hard to imagine any lesser of a response for the shows that are still to come