‘Jersey Boys’ NJ Premiere at State Theatre

"Jersey Boys," the musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is working its way back to the Garden State for the three-night Jersey premiere.

From left, Chris Stevens (Nick Massi,)Corey Greenan (Tommy DeVito), Johnny Wexler (Frankie Valli), and Tommaso Antico (Bob Gaudio), the current cast for the ‘Jersey Boys” national tour. See them at State Theatre on Oct 13-15.
From left, Chris Stevens (Nick Massi,)Corey Greenan (Tommy DeVito), Johnny Wexler (Frankie Valli), and Tommaso Antico (Bob Gaudio), the current cast for the ‘Jersey Boys” national tour. See them at State Theatre on Oct 13-15.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Jersey Boys, the musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is working its way back to the Garden State for the three-night Jersey premiere.

It’s not too good to be true! After 11 years on Broadway and touring more than a dozen countries, the jukebox musical is coming home for a five-show stint, from October 13-15, at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick. Tickets cost $35-$138.

The winner of the 2006 Tony for Best Musical and the 2006 Grammy for Best Musical Show Album, Jersey Boys features the group’s hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

The creative team includes two-time Tony-winning director Des McAnuff, script writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (who also wrote the screenplay), composer Bob Gaudio, lyricist Bob Crewe, and choreographer Sergio Trujillo.

“It might as well be called ‘American Boys,’” said Elice in an interview with Bert Baron for State Theatre’s All Access podcast. “It’s the story of people pulling themselves up by the boot straps and making something of their lives, which is really the American dream.”

The documentary-style musical opened on Broadway at August Wilson Theatre in New York City in 2005 and took its last bow in January 2017. It’s headed off-Broadway in November.

Originally, when Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio spoke to Elice and Brickman in the early 2000s, they wanted to create a Mamma Mia-style musical with an independent story set to the band’s hits. Instead, the script writers, who also co-wrote The Addams Family, realized the behind-the-music story of the Four Seasons—Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy Devito and Nick Massi—should be the focus.

“It’s a remarkably good script,” says Jersey Boys production supervisor Richard Hester. “It’s the quintessential American story about four guys from the wrong side of the tracks who made it.”

“It’s exciting that we’re in New Brunswick, it’s a great place for theater,” says Hester who noted the forthcoming New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. “Even after 14 years, to be able to have a few firsts is exciting.”

The cast of Jersey Boys singing "Sherry." State Theatre hosts the NJ premiere of the musical on Oct 13-15.

Cast Bios:

Johnny Wexler (Frankie Valli) is honored to be rejoining Jersey Boys as Frankie Valli after three seasons as Joe Pesci. Select Theatre: West Side Story (Action, New Canaan), Chasing the Song (Frankie Fontana, La Jolla), Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (La Jolla), Peter Pan (Peter, Drayton Entertainment), It’s A Wonderful Life (Clarence, Grand Theatre), The Music Man (Winthrop, Stratford Festival). Selected Film/TV: The Doodlebops (Disney/ CBS, 600+ live shows worldwide).

Tommaso Antico (Bob Gaudio) grew up in small town New Baltimore, MI, where he worked at his family’s Italian bakery. His love for the arts started in elementary school when he joined band. He later became involved in theatre and moved to New York at 18 by himself to study the arts. At 19, he went on the national tour of Cabaret and since has appeared Off- Broadway in Altarboyz, toured with Hairspray and has been in the films Revolutionary Road and Enchanted. He was recently seen in the closing cast of Jersey Boys on Broadway.

Corey Greenan (Tommy DeVito). Broadway: Mamma Mia! (Sky), Scandalous. National Tour: If/Then, Mamma Mia!. International Tour: Evita (Che). New York/ Regional: I Am Harvey Milk, Sweeney Todd, 42nd Street, Much Ado About Nothing. BA Pepperdine University (Theatre Arts).

Chris Stevens (Nick Massi) moved to NYC to be in Jersey Boys, and now, five years later, that dream is coming true! National Tour: Mamma Mia! (Sky), Cats (Rum Tum Tugger). Regional: Grease (Engeman), Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific (Walnut), Footloose (Fulton), Tarzan (WPPAC), Cats (TBTS) and The Sound of Music (Paper Mill) NYC: Solo Show UNWRITTEN at 54 Below.

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