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Steen: Take the gang to see Jersey Boys
I could have the shortest review in history: “Just go see it! And take someone with you!!”
It’s not often we get Broadway to Hollywood, it’s usually the other way around. Jersey Boys was first performed at La Jolla Playhouse in 2004 and has since gone on to rake in over $1.7 billion (yup, billion). Lion King surpasses that but it’s still impressive.
This Clint Eastwood film, is the story of four young men who found stardom as the Four Seasons with Frankie Valli as their lead singer. In their heyday, they were the fourth most successful pop act of the ’60s, right after The Beatles, Elvis and Ray Charles.
The Four Seasons had hits the same month as The Beach Boys—August 1962—and while the Beach Boys were more media savvy, The Four Seasons had so many remembered songs: Rag Doll, Oh What a Night, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man and the list goes on.
With the cast, which includes Christopher Walken as the mob-father Gyp DeCarlo who loved the way Frankie sings My Mother’s Eyes, we see that Frankie’s only way out of his mob-run neighbourhood is to use his talent and become part of the group.
This show was filmed on sound stages in California, but near the end of production, Eastwood took the whole cast to Belleville’s Steven Crane Housing Project to shoot exteriors of the old neighbourhood, including the house where Valli grew up, and it makes for an amazing scene at the end of the film.
Needless to say I loved this show. Sure I was a big fan of Valli, who has the same birthdate as me, May 3 (different year), but it was the pure sound of the day and the incredible lyrics that all of us could relate to that made this group such a success.
They broke up in 1979, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and this July 4 Frankie Valli will perform at the concert, A Capital Fourth which will air as it does every 4th of July, on PBS.
Yup, he’s 80 years old and still going strong, and so are all of us who grew up loving The Four Seasons. Rock on. You’ll love the music and the walk down memory lane.
I give Jersey Boys five reels.