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Engeman’s “Jersey Boys” Just Too Good to Be True!


Joey Lavarco is Frankie Valli, or at least Saturday night’s enthusiastic Engeman audience believed this to be so! They showed Lavarco the same love, adoration, and affection they would have lavished on the real Frankie Valli. The three other superstar leads, Nick Bernardi, Stephen Cerf, and Sean McGee, were equally showstopping. I’ve never seen an audience respond so physically to a show: they sang, bopped, oohed, aahed, clapped, and danced along to the many chart-topping hits that made The Four Seasons one of the top ’60s bands. 


For those of us who grew up listening to the Four Seasons, their hit tunes became our generation’s anthems and the soundtrack of our lives. However, people of all ages can relate to the universal themes explored in this well-crafted jukebox musical: brotherhood, loyalty, responsibility, betrayal, and what do I do with my life, when I grow up? Once you see this show, you will understand why “Jersey Boys” had such a long run on Broadway and why it picked up four Tonys and an Olivier Award, including the 2006 Tony Award for “Best Musical.”


This crowd-pleasing show, with music by Bob Gaudio, orchestrations by Bob Crewe, and a book by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman, dramatizes the rise and fall of The Four Seasons. Written like a VH1 biopic, the plot structure uses a narrative style. Each band member addresses the audience, telling his version of what it was like to be a part of a legendary quartet, one that scored 40 Top 40 hits, including eight number-one singles.


The Engeman’s electrifying production of “Jersey Boys,” brilliantly directed and choreographed by Paul Stancato, captivated the audience from the moment the mega-talented cast stepped on stage, right through the high-voltage finale, “Who Loves You.”  Kudos to the Wojcik Casting Team for finding dynamic singers who looked, moved, and sounded like The Four Seasons, delivering pitch-perfect renditions of their massive catalog of hit songs. A big round of applause goes to Orion Forte for outstanding projections and to Dustin Cross for his glamorous, glittery ’60s costumes.


Tommy DeVito, a charismatic con man and the founding member of the beloved foursome, is the first band member to tell his side of the story. Nick Bernardi gave a stellar performance as Tommy DeVito. Bernardi, with his sexy swagger and onstage cockiness, captured the essence of this talented man, who also happened to be an unrepentant degenerate gambler. Sadly, DeVito’s excesses ultimately led to the band’s demise. With his velvety baritone vocals and strong stage presence, Bernardi gave an unforgettable rendition of the ultimate Doo-wop rhythm and blues hit “Earth Angel.”


Act I closed on a high note with Bob Gaudio, the keyboardist and writer of many of the band’s greatest hits, reflecting on his roller-coaster experiences with the band. Sean McGee rocked the role of Bob Gaudio with his charismatic stage presence, and his high-energy rendition of “December, ‘63 (Oh What a Night)” was a showstopper.  


Act II opened with Stephen Cerf’s riveting performance as the bass singer and bass guitarist Nick Massi. Cerf had the audience in stitches when he delivered his comedic “ten-year sentence speech,” listing a million reasons why Tommy DeVito was the world’s worst man to share a motel room with. Cerf’s powerful voice added dimension to the group numbers, such as: “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,”


Frankie Valli, portrayed by Joey Lavarco, was the last to share his story. This seems fitting since Valli was the only original band member who continued to perform onstage in any capacity as The Four Seasons. Lavarco delivered a powerhouse performance as the frontman of the iconic quartet, and his moving rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” was worth the price of admission. His heartrending delivery of “Fallen Angel” was an unforgettable onstage moment.


The finale takes place in 1990 when the defunct quartet reunited for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed their smash hit “Rag Doll.” Each band member closed the show with a heartfelt, funny monologue.


The spectacular ensemble includes Carey Blackburn, Jonathan Cobrda, Kate Coffey, Lexxi Frilles, Katelyn Harold, Stephen C. Kallas, Mike Keller, Dale Obermark, Dominic Pagliaro, Justin Wolfe Smith, Loren Stone, Jake Waford, and Dwayne Washington. Loren Stone as the actor Joe Pesci and Jonathan Corbrda as Bob Crewe received some of the biggest laughs of the evening, and Mike Kellar gave a command performance as the mob boss Gyp DeCarlo.

Content Advisory: This show contains mature themes and adult language and may not be suitable for all audiences. 


Ring in Spring with The Four Seasons! Tickets are going fast, so much so that the show’s run was extended through Sunday, May 12, 2024. To purchase tickets, call 631-261-2900, go to the box office at 250 Main Street, Northport, or visit www.engemantheater.com

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