Can’t take eyes off ‘Jersey Boys’ 

click to enlarge From left, Michael Lomenda, Nick Cosgrove, Miles Jacoby and John Gardiner play the Four Seasons in “Jersey Boys.” - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • From left, Michael Lomenda, Nick Cosgrove, Miles Jacoby and John Gardiner play the Four Seasons in “Jersey Boys.”

According to Bob Gaudio, one of the original Four Seasons whose lives are chronicled in the hit musical “Jersey Boys,” the typical fan has seen the show three times.

As a new member of the club, this writer can vouch for the show’s ongoing appeal. The national tour of “Jersey Boys,” onstage through April 28 at the Curran Theatre in The City, is as exciting — if not quite as sharp or thrilling — as ever.

Although the sheer intensity of the event doesn’t register as high upon repeated viewings, the musical remains a thoroughly engaging and invigorating experience, the kind of thing to enjoy with companions who haven’t yet seen it — or are seeing it again, too.

Of course, while the Four Seasons’ catchy songs provide the backbone of the show, they’re complemented by an informative and emotional story based on the real lives of four New Jersey guys who made their way through the pop music world in the 1960s and ’70s.

Each fellow gets to tell his version of the tale, which follows them from their humble beginnings playing bowling alleys and singing backup, to a succession of top-10 hits (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man”), to their eventual business troubles and breakup.

As in previous casts, the performers don’t simply imitate the real singers in the Four Seasons, yet they get the job done nicely.

Nick Cosgrove, whose vocals are commanding, takes the reins as Frankie Valli, whose famed falsetto arguably was the primary defining factor of the group and a primary reason for its hits.

His cohorts are equally colorful: John Gardiner plays Tommy DeVito, the fast-talking wheeler-dealer in the group who takes much of the credit for their success.

On opening night, understudy Tommaso Antico (filling in for Miles Jacoby) was cute as Gaudio, the youngest member. The creative catalyst for the group, he had a hit with “Short Shorts” when he was 15 and went on to co-write (with producer Bob Crewe, played with verve by Jonathan Hadley) some of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits.

Michael Lomenda portrays Nick Massi, the self-admitted Ringo of the group. (That’s one of the best lines in the remarkably clever book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.)

All four sing together like a dream, and, in the end, that’s what keeps the show the winner it is. In fact, in seeing “Jersey Boys” as a repeat experience, the scene where they hit it big with their first chart-topper is as much of a thrill — if not a bigger thrill — than the first time out.

Jersey Boys
Presented by SHN

  • Where: Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., S.F.
  • When: 8 p.m. most Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. most Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. most Sundays; closes April 28
  • Tickets: $45 to $210
  • Contact: (888) 746-1799,

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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