If you enjoy listening to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, you won’t want to miss “ Jersey Boys,” a fixture at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas. It’s been playing for about a year now, and hasn’t lost its edge. It’s still bringing in the crowds, eager to hear the timeless songs and learn more about what brought this quartet together and how they ultimately parted company.
It’s a beautiful theatre, located in a comparatively new hotel on the Vegas Strip. It’s a true Broadway style show with an exceptional cast, some of whom have had experience in a touring company, others who’ve been on stage in New York.
Currently there are two actors who portray Frankie Valli, depending on the night: Rick Faugno and Travis Cloer, both whose voices are uncannily similar to Valli’s, hitting those high notes with clarity and apparent ease. Cloer was featured in the Broadway cast, while Faugno was on the national tour.
The live band is sometimes behind the scenes and often on stage, moving around the set depending on the scene. At times members of the cast pick up an instrument and perform as they sing, at other times the performances are left to band members offstage. It’s very cleverly staged with a screen behind and over the actors displaying cartoon drawings reflecting life in the 50s and 60s that parallel events on stage. Occasionally there are video clips of the Four Seasons on TV. When the group is singing “ Sherry” on stage, you’ll also see coordinated footage of their performance on American Bandstand. There’s another intriguing segment when they’re singing “ Dawn,” which we see from our viewpoint, then on screen where the original four are appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, and finally we see the actors from a backstage perspective as they’re looking out into an imaginary audience. Brilliant!
Half way through the show there’s a short, eight minute break, where we’re treated to old black and white footage of the band driving from coast to coast on three separate screens, as they stop in different cities from New York to L.A.
There are several dozen songs incorporated into the show, most of them songs they wrote and made famous, a few they performed early on, prior to their success. It’s hard to believe how many hits this group actually had. So many, in fact, that a good dozen of them had to be left out of the show. Most of the music was composed by Bob Gaudio who wrote his first hit “ Who Wears Short Shorts” at age fifteen, and went on to become a founding member of the Four Seasons and the band’s principal songwriter. Bob Crewe, the lyricist, was responsible for writing “ Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” which eventually became the 20th century’s fifth most played song.
Marshall Brickman, of “Sleeper” and “Annie Hall” fame, and Rick Elice wrote the book, and Des Mcanuff directed this spectacular production which runs most evenings: Mondays at 7, Tuesdays at 6:30 and 9:30, dark on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays 6:30 and 9:30 and Sundays at 7.
Tickets range from $65 for seats in the mezzanine to $135 for front orchestra seats.
The Palazzo Hotel
3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South