Confessions of a Teenage Theater Geek - Jersey Boys

When you think “New Jersey,” what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?

I sincerely hope you didn’t say Snooki, Real Housewives, guidos, and GTL (Don’t lie, I know you totally did). Answers like that are exactly what’s wrong with pop culture today.

Willy Wonka called...he wants his Oompa Loompas back Photo courtesy of thediablodispatch/flickr

Willy Wonka called...he wants his Oompa Loompas back.
Photo courtesy of thediablodispatch/flickr

I’m usually not the preachy type when it comes to this sort of stuff. I am definitely known to indulge in some guilty pleasure pop culture phenomenon. There’s no shame in the fact that when a Ke$ha song comes on the radio I can’t help but dance. I’m also not ashamed of my love for Toddlers and Tiaras and Say Yes to the Dress and Cake Boss and What not to Wear and…OK I’m basically addicted to everything on TLC. Judge me all you want. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

My point here is that although music and TV shows created purely for entertainment’s sake are fine in moderation, but become a problem when they begin to overshadow true artistic talent. That’s why I’m incredibly grateful for Jersey Boys. Thanks to this incredible musical, the songs and story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons are able to live on and transcend generations.

Photo courtesy of chaplinatra/flickr

Photo courtesy of chaplinatra/flickr

I was lucky enough to grow up in the same house as my grandparents who, in my opinion, are the absolute greatest people on the planet. My grandpa is also the man who introduced me to The Four Seasons and the man who basically dragged my mom and I out to see Jersey Boys twice. I honestly can’t thank him enough.

Jersey Boys follows the story of the formation and extreme success of The Four Seasons. The structure of the narration is incredibly cool, as it switches between all four members of the group as the show progresses. Each character brings his own quirky touch to the narration, but the clear winner is Nick Massi, who is fairly silent throughout the first part of the show but suddenly blows up during a hilarious scene-stealing monologue during Act II.

The incomparable John Lloyd Young Photo courtesy of Banker,VP/Flickr

The incomparable John Lloyd Young
Photo courtesy of Banker,VP/Flickr

I had the pleasure of seeing the original actor John Lloyd Young reprise his Tony-winning role as Frankie Valli, and let me tell you…his voice is mind blowing.

Is it even physically possible for males to sing notes that high? Once puberty hits, those notes shouldn’t be anywhere close to accessible. If you could hear the essence of beauty, it would be that man’s falsetto.

Speaking of John Lloyd Young, he was recently cast – along with three other former cast members – in the film version of Jersey Boys, which will begin filming later this year. (Sidenote: I think it was so smart to choose seasoned Broadway actors for the four leads instead of less experienced big name Hollywood stars). Oh wait, did I mention it will be directed by CLINT FREAKIN’ EASTWOOD?! How badass is that?!

Oh but the fun doesn’t stop there. It was just announced that mobster Gyp de Carlo will be played by none other than Christopher Walken. I have a feeling that can only turn out as awesome as humanly possible. I mean we already know that he has an impeccable ear for rhythm…

Let’s talk songs. The music in this show is SO GOOD. Now of course, this is all original music by The Four Seasons and wasn’t created specifically for the musical. Even decades later, these songs are still absolutely infectious and the harmonies sound like liquid gold. It’s almost impossible to pick my favorite songs, so here’s the entire soundtrack for your listening pleasure.

Forget *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys - The Four Seasons were the original boy band. And thanks to Jersey Boys, their incredible music and legacy is not going away anytime soon.

Jersey Boys is currently playing at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.

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Samantha Costanza