Fans keep working their way back to ‘Jersey Boys’

“Jersey Boys” is here to stay.

A decade after Broadway smash about the rise of the 1960s pop group The Four Seasons began its national tour at the Curran Theatre, the show is back in town at the Orpheum — not to mention continuing record-breaking runs in New York, London and Las Vegas – and all is quite well.

The performers portraying the harmonizing guys are as appealing as their predecessors: Aaron De Jesus kills the falsetto vocals as the Frankie Valli, whose lead defined the band’s distinctive sound; Matthew Dailey plays Tommy DeVito, the mouthy wheeler-dealer and shady businessman indebted to the mob; Keith Hines is Nick Massey, the understated guy in the background with a deadpan sense of humor; and Drew Seeley is Bob Gaudio, the youngest member and creative catalyst, who had a hit with “Short Shorts” at age 15 and went on to co-write (with producer Bob Crewe, played here by Barry Anderson, less flamboyantly than in previous tours) some of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits.

Of course, the hit songs (“Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Beggin’,” “C’mon Marianne,” “Stay,” “”Let’s Hang On,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Working My Way Back to You,” “Rag Doll,” “Who Loves You”) are as thrilling as ever.

But, especially on repeated attendance (most audience members already have seen the show, apparently) the meaty book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice — based on the real lives of the New Jersey guys who made their way up the Billboard charts in the 1960s-’70s — really stands out. Not a word is wasted, and there are emotional moments, too, among the jokes and clever “Rashomon”-style storytelling; each boy gets to tell his version of the tale.

Even though audiences familiar with the musical may not be going quite as wild upon hearing the first strains of the No. 1 “Sherry” (which doesn’t occur until more than 30 minutes into the show), “Jersey Boys” remains full of fun, humor and pop sensibilities, from the prelude “Oh, What a Night” to the finale, when the guys make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,

REVIEW

Jersey Boys
Presented by SHN
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1 p.m. Sundays; closes Feb.14
Tickets: $45 to $212
Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

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