By Bob Evans
Classy, sassy, and toe-tappy, Broadway’s ‘Jersey Boys’ exploded on Starlight’s stage to the delight of a large opening night crowd, there to see the national tour of the Broadway blockbuster in its one-week KC run.
The story of Jersey’s most famous singing group traces their rise to the top of the Top 40 charts after stripping away their clean-cut public images to show the seedy side of their beginning and their skirmishes with law enforcement. Unlike a lot of sugar-coated rags to riches stories, this exposes their petty breaking and entering, theft, and other scams that befell them while young thugs on the streets of Jersey.
Not side-stepping the lingo of the young street boys, “Jersey Boys” contains mature dialogue–and lots of it. Be forewarned the F-bomb is prevalent throughout the show, not just in one scene to set the atmosphere. “Jersey Boys” marks a significant departure from the family-oriented musicals that helped build Starlight’s 67-year history of providing Broadway entertainment to local audiences. Other shows in the past five seasons has some mature language, but “Jersey Boys” breaks new ground with a plethora of strong words.
As the 12th longest running Broadway show, “Jersey Boys amassed over 4.600 performances and ran for over 10 years, proving the public fascination with the music and the story. The book for the musical was written by Marshall Brickbat and Rick Elise. The music comes from Bob Audio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. The amazing cast that creates the sound of the Four Seasons is lead by Matthew Dailey, Aaron De Jesus, Keith Hines, and Cory Jeacome.
This national tour signifies another success for Starlight’s season that opened with the national tours of “The Little Mermaid” and “Mamma Mia.” National tours being the best entertainment to local audiences, rather than smaller regional tours that many times skimp on casting, costumes, sets, props, etc. Not so, the national tours so far at Starlight. The quality of productions this season outshines those of the past five seasons.
“Jersey Boys” bring the lights, sets, props, orchestration, lighting, costumes, and class of a Broadway show. The show is slick, tuneful, inspiring, and a crowd pleaser. Anyone who grew up listening to the Four Seasons on AM radio will be tempted to sing along….but a Starlight video prior to curtain time forewarns patrons to NOT sing along.
Starlight Theatre’s production of “Jersey Boys” brings the WOW factor back to Starlight. The show has the audience rising to their feet as the curtain call begins. By the time bows are completed and the crowd wants more, two encore songs encourage the hand-clapping, party atmosphere that signify success.
Opening night crowd was heavy. Only the side terrace seats in the Plaza section and some of the back corner seats remained empty. As the week continues, those seats will, predictably be filled. “Jersey Boys” is a crowd pleaser, and the music is superb. The quartet sounds amazingly like the Four Seasons. Of course, no one sounds exactly like Frankie Valli, but once the show gets rolling, no one notices that the lead singer is anyone besides Valli. Great job by a strong cast.
“Jersey Boys” continues through Sunday at Starlight Theatre. Tickets may be purchased online through the Starlight website. www.kcstarlight.org
Tags: “Jersey Boys”, Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Theater, Theater