Jersey Boys is a Broadway drama that tells the story of The Four Seasons, the group whose signature sonic moment was the falsetto of singer Frankie Valli. Anyone who has seen Behind the Music will recognize the plot variations on that show’s standard tales of rags-to-riches-to-excesses-back-to-rags, ending, of course, in a beyond-all-expectations comeback with a twist.
But unlike rock bands whose music often reflected the turbulence of their times, The Four Seasons were a relentlessly upbeat hit machine totally divorced from rock culture. They had one foot always in the doo-wop of the ’50s (though their first single arrived in 1962), and shared nothing with the youth culture that emerged in the ’60s. Yet, guilty pleasure or not, The Four Seasons managed to keep the charts packed with hits for most of the decade.
Bob Dylan described the bemused sensation of hearing The Four Seasons’ take on one of his dark, brooding songs as “Sort of like adding rouge to a bloodless stone,” and, similarly, Jersey Boys’ narrative pours real blood into the veins of The Four Seasons’ members, bringing to life the times and culture that produced them. The actors produce flawless renditions of the timeless “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”; even Frankie Valli’s hopelessly irritating solo hit “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” becomes a moment of personal redemption.