© 2024 WVIK
Listen at 90.3 FM and 98.3 FM in the Quad Cities, 95.9 FM in Dubuque, or on the WVIK app!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

REVIEW: Jersey Boys at Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse

Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse
Jersey Boys Cast

OMG…I struck the Baby Boomer Bonanza at Circa ‘21’s current production of Jersey Boys, The Story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons headed up by Director Michael Ingersoll and Music Director Ron May. And, oh, what a night it was. This blockbuster of a show runs close to three hours but flies by like a Kansas tornado with a whopping 35 musical numbers, most of which are hits from the group’s decade’s long career.

What really makes this show stand out is the tightly woven book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. This isn’t just an amalgam of The Four Seasons’ hits that plays like a tribute band. Instead, the musical numbers punctuate the story – the history and evolution of the quartet’s rise to fame, fortune and, sadly, misfortunes and heartbreaks.

Ingersoll has done a stunning job of casting. These characters came from a rough New Jersey neighborhood and two of them had multiple run-ins with the law and spent some time in jail and, once the group began to hit it big, none of them were angels when on tour.

Joe Collins as Tommy DeVito – who discovered Frankie Valli and was the initial driving force of the group – gives a perfectly nuanced portrayal as an almost Wise Guy. Bear Manescalchi is brilliant as Frankie Valli – close your eyes and you would swear that it’s Frankie himself on stage and – along with Bobby Becher as singer/songwriter, Bob Gaudio, and Kelly Brown as Nick Massi – the harmonies literally soar. It was hard to keep from singing along. This masterpiece deserved every minute of the “Standing O” it received.

Not to be outdone, the Bootleggers pre-show was an awesome prelude to the main event. We were deliciously ushered through about six decades of the evolution of boy bands. It was another toe tapping treat.

I should mention that there is some salty language in this show. Discretion is advised if you’re thinking of taking children.

So, hey there, Frankie Valli: I “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” because “I Go Ape” just thinking about this show and “My Eyes Adored You.”

Jersey Boys continues at Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse, 1828 – 3rd Avenue in Rock Island through July 6th with matinee performances on Wednesdays, evening performances Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and Dinner performances on Sundays.

I’m Chris Hicks…break a leg.