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Edited and Published by Robert W. McDowell

April 28, 2022 Issue
PART 4 (April 30, 2022)

A FREE Weekly E-mail Newsletter Covering Theater, Dance, Music, and Film in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill/Carrboro Area of North Carolina Since April 2001.


Jersey Boys Is a Jukebox Musical with a Lot of Heart

The Jersey Boys tour starred (from left) Jon Hacker, Eric Chambliss, Corey Greenan, and Michael Milton (photo by Joan Marcus)

The Four Seasons was (and still is) a beloved musical group that had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. And, despite the time that has passed, the band's music lives on. Almost anyone can hum at least a little of "Big Girls Don't Cry" or "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." However, it's not just the music that's enduring. The band itself has an interesting history, one that is explored in Jersey Boys, a delightful hit musical directed by Des McAnuff and onstage now at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Featuring a heartwarming book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, as well as some of the band's biggest hits, Jersey Boys is a fun celebration of friendship, life and, of course, music. It shows the band's rise to the top ... as well as all the struggles it took to get there. More importantly, it takes a look at the unique, intense relationships that form between the members and paints a sympathetic, human picture of each one individually.

Understudy Bruno Vida (subbing for Jon Hacker) was tasked with playing the legendary Frankie Valli at Friday's opening-night performance at DPAC. But with his powerhouse voice and buckets of charm, it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. In fact, it's hard to believe Vida isn't actually a young Frankie Valli in the flesh.

Also stepping in on opening night were Sean McGee (subbing for Eric Chambliss) as Bob Gaudio and Alec Michael Ryan (subbing for Matt Faucher) as Nick Massi. McGee plays his character as believably sweet, and Ryan's Nick adds to the show's humor.

The Jersey Boys tour cast included (from left) Ashley Bruce, Amy Wagner, and Connor Lyon (photo by Joan Marcus)

The last leading "boy" is portrayed by Kevin Patrick Martin, another opening-night understudy who subbed for Devon Goffman. He's got just the right looks and just the right attitude for the role of troubled-but-talented Tommy DeVito, and Martin also knows how to show the softer, more vulnerable side of this flawed character.

The script is full of ups and downs and highs and lows as it follows the band's long journey, but the one constant? The incredible music! Viewers will be able to sing along with old favorites and maybe even find some new meaning, too. Plus, Sergio Trujillo's lively choreography and the unique staging add to the fun and the aesthetic appeal. Also appealing is Klara Zieglerova's high-tech set, which features a background screen that sets the literal scene and season.

Jersey Boys is a big, over-the-top musical that pulls out all the stops. But underneath all of that, it's a simple story about friendship and the power of perseverance. Its themes are relatable to everyone -- famous rockstar or not. In fact, that's probably why the production has had such a long life and continues to please viewers, and this latest iteration is no different. It inspires and entertains, much like the music it celebrates. And, whether you're a long-time Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons fan or just a lover of music, you'll find something to love here. Don't miss it!

The Jersey Boys tour starred (from left) Corey Greenan, Jon Hacker, Eric Chambliss, and Michael Milton (photo by Joan Marcus)

Bob Gaudio, Bob Crewe, Marshall Brickman, and Rick Elice's JERSEY BOYS (In Person at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 30th and May 1st), presented as part of WRAL Greatest Hits of Broadway at DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham). TRAILER: THE PRESENTER/VENUE:,,,, and DIRECTIONS: PARKING: DPAC COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS: THE TOUR:,,,,, and TOUR CAST/CREATIVE TEAM: FRANKIE VALLI AND THE FOUR SEASONS:,,,, and TICKETS: $33.50 and up, plus taxes and fees. Call 800-982-2787 or click here to buy tickets. GROUPS (10+ tickets): 919-680-2787,, and INFORMATION: 919-680-2787 or

EDITOR'S NOTE: Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh's Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read more of Susie Potter's writings, click,, and


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