A reimagined live performance manufacturing of Jersey Boys is the most recent providing from Brisbane-based Prospero Arts, the primary of its live performance sequence for 2024. Below ex-dancer Hayley Johnson’s administration, the corporate began life in Brisbane in 2022. Its well-received live performance model of Singin’ within the Rain was adopted by an equally spectacular The Wizard of Ouncesin 2023.
Johnson created the corporate to resume skilled music theatre in Brisbane, on the similar time, offering extra alternatives for native expertise to thrive. The combo of established and up-and-coming performers and creatives in Jersey Boys, a lot of whom are Queenslanders, is each admirable but in addition warranted. 4 ex-graduates of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith College’s musical theatre course are a part of the 14-member solid.
The worldwide success of this musical on Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons is as a lot concerning the advanced story of their particular person lives, as it’s concerning the astonishing music they created. On this manufacturing, the jukebox musical is delivered with nice panache, repeating its earlier profitable format of a cleverly semi-staged model alongside a first-rate solid and wonderful musicians.
The Live performance Corridor stage gives an digital backdrop emblazoned with the title “JERSEY BOYS”, additionally used to depict related imagery and video of the various scenes, cleverly designed by Craig Wilkinson with manufacturing by Optical Bloc. A sequence of platforms and ranges variously signify live performance staging, nightclubs, avenue and home scenes, and are well-utilised.
Minimal props and furnishings preserve the motion transferring, whereas Ben Hughes’ lighting provides depth and environment, extremely efficient through the supply of the songs. Penny Challen’s costume designs are splendid, catching the environment of the 60s beautifully, within the many glowing jackets worn by The 4 Seasons and the tight glittering frocks of the ladies.
Course and motion by veteran director, Martin Croft, who has famously been concerned in each skilled manufacturing of Jersey Boys in Australia over the previous 15 years, is slick, fast-moving and filled with vitality. The narration is taken up by every of the principal 4 Seasons in succession all through the present, and that is dealt with with aplomb, thoughtfully highlighting the traits and values of every band member.
Jersey Boys opens with a French rap model of ‘O, what an evening’ with energetic dancing from the ensemble, demonstrating how worldwide the band had turn out to be. Transferring again in time, it then morphs into ‘Silhouettes’, with only a trio of musicians in an evening membership earlier than Valli joins the band. Croft’s route goes at a break-neck pace right here, perhaps as a result of he felt the opening story lacks engagement and there’s a want to maneuver on. Whereas there are some nice songs, together with ‘I Can’t Give You Something However Love’ and ‘Brief Shorts’ the manufacturing actually solely comes alive later within the first act. When Bob Gaudio joins the band – writing three nice songs, ‘Sherry’, ‘Massive Ladies Don’t Cry’ and ‘Stroll Like a Man’ – the present actually takes off each onstage and for an elated viewers.
The Jersey Boys are performed respectively by Josh Mulheran (Valli), Jack Saunders (Gaudio), Glaston Toft (Nick Massi) and Conor Crawford (Tommy Devito). All are splendid, with robust musical theatre backgrounds and having carried out in earlier Jersey Boys productions. Moreover, Toft has performed Massi in each skilled manufacturing of the present in Australia, with a complete of some 1600 performances.
As Valli, Mulheran offers a robust, plausible dramatic efficiency, whereas his potential to emulate Valli’s distinctive vocal falsetto is astonishingly good. We see him change from a gauche younger singer with a wavering voice early in Act 1 by way of to a assured soloist in Act 2, rendering such songs as ‘Bye Bye Child,’ ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ and ‘Workin’ My Method Again To You’ with nice vocal energy. A terrific all-round efficiency.
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Saunders is his match as Gaudio, the inventive author and member of The 4 Seasons. Saunders’ dramatic persona on stage is superb and his first music for the band, ‘Cry For Me’, is fantastically realised. Because the second narrator of the story, he has some nice traces and is superb on this position.
Toft is charmingly laid-back with a scrumptious morose high quality as bassist, Massi. Justifying the cut up within the band, as narrator, he has some telling traces to the viewers: ‘You promote 100 million data and see the way you deal with it.’ When he lastly activates Tommy, who has been his room-mate on tour for 10 years, with quite a lot of expletives, it’s hilarious and splendidly delivered. He’s a vital addition to the staff.
Crawford’s Devito is suitably cocky and certain of himself and his talents, with a fantastic Jersey accent and the morals of a gutter rat. Because the opening narrator, he’s excellent and we get his measure instantly. His character weaknesses are all too obvious, however he performs and sings his position fantastically.
The timing of their actions and music supply is collectively first-rate with some terrific choreography offered by Dan Venz.
The cameo roles are all well-realised and delivered, together with Loren Hunter’s robust Mary, the annoyed spouse of Valli. Glenn Hill’s splendid portrayal of the report producer, Bob Crewe, is spot on, as is Dale Pengelly’s mafia boss, Gyp de Carlo. Matthew Casamento’s Joey Pesci and Oliver Lacey’s Hank, later members of The 4 Seasons, are a robust addition.
Conductor and Music Director, James Dobinson, steers a spread of prime charge musicians who present wonderful backing to over 30 songs delivered all through the present. Their collective enjoying on ‘Rag Doll’ and ‘Who Loves You Child?’ because the finale, is especially spectacular.
All in all, this can be a great, fun-filled, night time within the theatre providing a extremely polished, skilled semi-staged manufacturing with a fantastic solid of one of many traditional musicals.
Jersey BoysDirector: Martin CroftMusical Supervision: David YoungMusical Director: James DobinsonChoreographer: Dan VenzSwing-Affiliate Choreographer: Emma HawthorneLighting Designer: Ben HughesSound Designer and Operator: Geoff McGahanCostume Designer: Penny ChallenVideo Designer: Craig WilkinsonProducer: Hayley JohnsonCast: Josh Mulheran, Jack Saunders, Connor Crawford, Glaston Toft, Glenn Hill, Dale Pengelly, Matthew Casamento, Maxwell Simon, Emma Wilby, Sophie Perkins, Loren Hunter, Oliver Lacey and AJ Pate
Jersey Boys has a restricted six-performance run, enjoying till 11 February on the Live performance Corridor, QPAC.