Luke Matthews

‘Jersey Boys’ reminds me of early music memories

‘Jersey Boys’ reminds me of early music memories

(Disclaimer – I was provided two complimentary tickets to Jersey Boys by Des Moines Performing Arts)

Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of music. I received a heavy dose of KIOA when my mom and I were driving anywhere. (What great fortune to now work for one of KIOA’s sister stations!) My mom also liked to put on a pile of records while she cleaned the house. The first artists I can remember hearing run from The Buckinghams to the Monkees to Chicago. I also remember hearing a lot of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It’s hard to not remember a voice like Frankie’s. It’s one of the most distinctive in all of rock and roll.

This didn’t occur to me when Jersey Boys first came to town in 2010. Last night, as I was leaving the Civic Center, it all started to come back. I was picturing those early days of my life, living on E. 27th Court and beginning a long obsession with music. I was able to equate childhood memories with the songs written by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe.

That’s the great thing about Jersey Boys. It’s a show that tells the story of one of the most successful groups of not just the 60s, but of all-time. The Four Seasons sold more than 175 million records and Frankie Valli still tours to this day. In fact, he’s coming to the Civic Center on October 4!

The songs are simply timeless. You can’t help but sing along to “Sherry,” “Rag Doll,” “Walk Like a Man,” and the song that turns into a showstopper, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The performances are great too. I love the portrayal of Four Seasons’ bassist Nick Massi by Brandon Andrus. He’s one of my favorite characters in the show and brings the most laughs. Nicolas Dromard’s Tommy DeVito and Jason Kappus’ Bob Gaudio are as fantastic as I remember. Nick Cosgrove was spot on as Frankie Valli. It got me thinking during the show that this must be one of the hardest roles to cast on Broadway. You have to have a pretty incredible falsetto to nail the notes that Frankie Valli does.

You can’t go wrong when it comes to Jersey Boys. Even if you saw it back in 2010, it’s still fantastic the second time around. You’ll sing along, you’ll laugh, and you’ll see folks young and old around you dancing and swaying in their seats. Every music fan needs to know the story of The Four Seasons, and I can’t think of a better way than to see Jersey Boys.

Jersey Boys officially closes the 2012-2013 Willis Broadway Series at the Civic Center. What a season it’s been. Book of Mormon, Million Dollar Quartet, and Beauty and the Beast were highlights of the series as were returning favorites like Rock of Ages, Jersey Boys and Les Miserables. I’m greatly looking forward to the 2013-2014 season with The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Once, American Idiot, Sleeping Beauty, and the return of my favorite show of all-time, Wicked. I can’t wait to get back into my seat at truly one of the best places in Des Moines, the Civic Center!

Jersey Boys plays at the Civic Center through August 4.

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