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Jersey Boys (2005 Original Broadway Cast

Broadway & Vocalists, Pop, and Soundtracks album by Anik Oulianine, Belinda Whitney, Bill Hayes, Bob Gaudio, Bob Milikan, Cenovia Cummins, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, Dave Spier, Deborah Hurwitz, Debra Shufelt, Donnie Kehr, Eric de Gioia, Erica

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The 4 Seasons Live On

  • Apr 21, 2009
Broadway musicals based upon the music catalog of an artist or artists is increasingly becoming popular. The majority aren't that good, though some are much better than others, e.g. MAMMA MIA! and MOVIN' OUT. I hadn't seen or heard a catalog-based musical that I thought was outstanding. That was until I heard the soundtrack to JERSEY BOYS. I admit that many of the songs I had heard growing up because of my parents (they only listened to 1950-1960s music and Frankie Valli was a favorite of my Mom's). Still, even if I hadn't grown up listening to these songs, I think I would have enjoyed this album. The music is exceptionally done! Usually for a soundtrack I list some of my favorite songs from the album, but I enjoyed all of the music on JERSEY BOYS. I guess my favorite is "Ces Sorees-la" because I had never heard a foreign language version of "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" before. I also enjoyed how there are snippets of the show's dialogue scattered throughout the album. It helps to tie things together and give a listener an idea of the general plot of the musical. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys good music. You don't even have to like musicals to enjoy listening to this album.

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Although it squarely falls in the "jukebox musical" category,Jersey Boysdoesn¹t try to integrate its songs in an artificial plotline. The show tells the story of the early-1960s groupthe Four Seasons, and the musical numbers tend to be introduced in context, as when songwriter Bob Gaudio comes up with a tune, or the quartet performs a show. This allowsJersey Boysto flow better than some of ill-fated peers, and the actors can shine without having to bend backward to accommodate an inane book. The show's most (only) daring move is to start with a hip-hop-tinged French-language version of "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)," an actual hit in France in 2000. After that it's all VH1-biopic territory, but it's done with so much flair, taste and energy that the ride's a fun one. The Four Seasons had enough hits ("Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Rag Doll," etc.) to easily fill an evening at the theater, so it's left to the cast to do right by them. And it does, particularly John Lloyd Young as the band¹s star lead, Frankie Valli. Young hits all the falsetto notes and brings real freshness to the part. His "Can¹t Take My Eyes Off You," a second-act peak, is signed, sealed and delivered with a star's acumen.--Elisabeth Vincentelli
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