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Columbus getting a taste of ‘Jersey Boys’

Courtesy of Joan Marcus

This season, Broadway is packing up the sets of some of the top musicals and taking them on a tour across America. The first to come to Columbus is “Jersey Boys.”

The show chronicles the story of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, and Nick Massi, better known as The Four Seasons, from their beginnings in New Jersey in the 1950s. The foursome created a brotherhood of music and harmonic voices, that is, when they weren’t caught in running from the cops, loan sharks, or getting out of prison.

Ready to leave the lifestyle they’d created in Jersey, the quartet set their sights on Hollywood.

Throughout the 1950s, the group performed in night clubs and pubs under the name The Four Lovers. However, the group decided to change their name to The Four Seasons one night when they saw the name on the sign at a bowling alley where they had performed. They say they took it as “a sign.”

The Four Seasons, along with music producer Bob Crewe, created one of the most popular songs for the group, “Sherry,” which was their first number-one song and catapulted them into rock ‘n’ roll history.

The group had their share of highs and lows, especially when the group split in 1965. But, when they reunited to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, they still had that brotherhood they had created about four decades ago.

In an interview with The Lantern, cast members Denise Payne and Kara Tremel said they have enjoyed the opportunity to share the story of The Four Seasons in Columbus.

“Every city has a personality,” Payne said. “In Columbus, you get the young, college kids mixed with the adults who are reliving the 60s.”

Tremel said the mixed age group at shows is a testiment to the Four Seasons’ music.

The songs from “Jersey Boys” have been passed through generations, an accomplishment which Tremel said is a credit to the writers of classic music.

“The Jersey Boys wrote classic songs,” Tremel said. “You can’t get that today. It’s like songs from VH1 meet ‘The Sopranos.'”

Payne credits the success of this Tony Award-winning musical to its ability to pull people from all ages bring them together to travel back in time.

“The passion of theatre is an escape,” Payne said. “We all need that two hours to take us back to our memories and ‘Jersey Boys’ does that for anyone who experiences the story.”

Both actresses say that the cast loved their first week in Columbus and is excited to continue exploring the city. They divulged that they have discovered Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and may have to order it online after they leave town.

“Jersey Boys” will run through Sept. 4. Other Broadway show coming to Columbus are “Mamma Mia!,” “Shrek the Musical,” “Blue Man Group,” “West Side Story,” “Memphis” and “Billy Elliot The Musical.” Dates and tickets for these shows can be found at BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com.

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