"Oh, What a Night." 'Jersey Boys' at the Landmark Theatre

Jersey Boys Who The Landmark Theatre/Famous Artists  Where 362 S. Salina St., Syracuse When Through Oct. 28 Tickets $30-128 Review by Eesha Patkar

The Tony award-winning musical Jersey Boys is a compelling song-and-dance trip down the memory lane of famous ‘60s band The Four Seasons and their struggles followed by rousing success and eventual dissolution.

Coming to the Landmark Theatre on its second national tour, Jersey Boys boasts an extraordinary cast with music composed by original band member Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.

Based on the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, this jukebox musical pays homage to the rock group by fashioning their story around the yearly four seasons. Each of the band members—Tommy DeVito (Colby Foytik), Bob Gaudio (Jason Kappus), Nick Massi (Brandon Andrus) and Frankie Valli (Brad Weinstock)—embodies the spirit of a season, bringing it a new flavor with every performance.

Spring is full of DeVito’s slick, devilish presence; summer welcomes Gaudio to the stage and propels the quartet to the peak of their success. In Act II, a stoic Massi metaphorically ushers in the fall of The Four Seasons, while Valli regales the audience in all earnestness through winter.

DeVito commands the stage in Act I with cocky pontifications recounting his initial start-up of a failing musical trio and discovery of Frankie Castelluccio (later-to-be Valli). With songs like “Silhouettes” and “You’re the Apple of My Eye” marking their early struggles, the racing rhythm of this act practically rushes us through 10 years of The Four Seasons’ history.

Signing on Gaudio brings a fresh set of eyes and a new level of talent to the group. His easy-going personality and growing friendship with Valli puts the macho DeVito from the ‘hood in the backseat. But nothing can stop The Four Seasons’ claim to fame as they belt out hits like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk like a Man.”

All good things come to an end for our flawed heroes in Act II as the truth about DeVito’s escalating financial jeopardies come to light. After a difficult compromise, DeVito is forced to sit out while the band attempts to shoulder on. Tired and weary, Massi eventually quits as well, leaving Valli and Gaudio to contemplate their future through the song “Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got).”

As an uncomfortable Gaudio steps back from the spotlight preferring to compose instead, he ensures the transition for Valli into Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Playing the charming protagonist, Weinstock’s brilliant falsetto notes really shine through in “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” the sensational number that clinched Valli’s return to the music empire.

The smooth transitions from scene to scene while keeping in pace with the fast tempo are an excellent testament to the direction of Des McAnuff. To top it all, Sergio Trujillo’s engaging choreography blends in easily to add texture to this musical masterpiece.

Klara Zieglerova’s set design reinforces the glamorous atmosphere of the show business. In a clever twist, the zany comic art in the background (a sly wink at the ‘60s pop culture) iterates the finer points of the story. Gaudio and Valli’s handshake sealing their partnership is adroitly recreated on screen to drive home an important moment in the band’s history.

No musical would be complete without beautifully crafted costumes, and Jersey Boys is no exception. Suave suits for the men and delightful designs for the women complement the lighting in a delicious harmony of colors.

Entertaining, poignant and mesmerizing, Jersey Boys is guaranteed to bring you to your feet with applause.