By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel
WALK LIKE A MAN – Jarrod Spector, Drew Gehling, Jeremy Kushnier and Steve Gouveia. Photo by Joan Marcus
JERSEY BOYS – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons re-opened Tuesday night at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre with a captivating brand new quartet. The show remains as glamorous and powerful as was Opening Night, 2006. But on with a fresh foursome – Jeremy Kushnier (as Tommy DeVito), Steve Gouveia (as Nick Massi), Drew Gehling (as Bob Gaudio), and Jarrod Spector (as Frankie Valli). The performances are superb, rivaling the original Broadway cast , and warranting a revised release for another Four Seasons. Looking for the perfect gift? JERSEY BOYS can’t give you anything but love. Ba-yay-by!
JARROD SPECTOR – as Frankie Valli. Photo by Joan Marcus
As Frankie Valli, Jarrod Spector is at his best with ” Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and “My Eyes Adored You“. In these numbers – Spector exudes all that stuff under a very hungry spotlight. No imitation falsetto here. Just a warm and legitimate, no-nonsense recital. Jarrod Spector is an appealing Leading Man.
DREW GEHLING – as Bob Gaudio. Photo by Joan Marcus
In an entirely other strata and with a smooth set of vocal chops is Drew Gehling as Bob Gaudio . Gehling’s renditions of “Cry For Me” and “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” are enough to jump-start and reawake a new era for the Romantic Standards balladeer. Songwriters! Call me when you have a Gaudio-type number.
Jersey Boys – Broadway on Broadway 2006
JEREMY KUSHNIER – as Tommy DeVito. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jeremy Kushnier is a natural for Tommy DeVito. With the guys in the suits keeping an eye on his IOUs, Vito keeps our eyes on the REAL story behind the band’s success and strife. Without him, he claims, there would be no Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Jeremy Kushnier is the classic lovable schmuck. In the early days, DeVito is constantly changing the group’s name, booking gigs in bowling alleys and low-neighborhood nightclubs. As “The Lovers”, the group winds up at a joint called “The Four Seasons” – its name blazing in neon clear across the Interstate. “Look at that!” declares the awe-struck DeVito. “It’s a sign!”
It’s a sign! THE JERSEY BOYS. Photo by Joan Marcus
STEVE GOUVEIA – as Nick Massi. Photo by Joan Marcus
Steve Gouveia as Nick Massi makes this new JERSEY BOYS quartet shine. When cut down to a trio for “Stay“, Gouveia’s mellow presence and warm baritone keeps the song a hit and the boys’ hopes high. Flip to his Act 2 tight-necked diatribe detailing DeVito’s unharmonious hygiene. “For ten years!” – has he endured DeVito as the no-tell/motel roommate; all his towel-hogging / wearing the same underwear for three days / double-ironing his dress shirts! Steve Gouveia is husband material. He makes it easy to accept Massi’s departure from the group – he wants to be a father to his children.
TEAM JERSEY BOYS – (left to right) Rick Elice (book), Bob Gaudio (composer), Marshall Brickman (book), Des McAnuff (director)
JERSEY BOYS is a clear sign that well-written material withstands the Test of Time. The music of Bob Gaudio and the lyrics of Bob Crewe (portrayed by Craig Laurie) are timeless, straight from the garden, motivating, romantic, danceable and quickly taken to heart. Frankie Valli says the show is a taste of reality. “It’s about four guys that grew up in a certain way, in a certain period of time who – with all odds against them – became successful.” Songwriter Bob Gaudio spoke about a friend who came to see it and exclaimed, “You know, I think this show is going to be bigger than you guys were.” Gaudio response? “Terrific!”
To order tickets on-line: JERSEY BOYS
See Seán’s recent articles and reviews:
TAKE ME OUT – At NCTC, San Francisco
LA VIE EN ROSE (La Môme) – Biography of Edith Piaf A Sensation at the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival
SPIDER-MAN 3, An All-American Cinematic Marvel
RIGOLETTO – SF OPERA Broadcasts on Classical 102.1 KDFC
JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records in SAN FRANCISCO
NORMA SHEARER – Headlines the 12th ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo
San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on AllExperts.com . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.