I had the opportunity to attend the media preview of the Jersey Boys Movie at LA Live on Thursday, June 20th and absolutely loved it. Having just enjoyed the Vegas show at Paris Hotel and Casino, last week, the movie brought together several key points missing in the stage show.
Jersey Boys, the Movie starts out in Bellevue, New Jersey where Tommy DeVito (VINCENT PIAZZA) is part of a band which includes his brother Nick DeVito (JOHNNY CANNIZZARO) and friend, Nick Massi (MICHAEL LOMENDA). Tommy also works for mobster Gyp DeCarlo (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN). The group not only sings, but does their fair share of breaking the law and in the case of brothers, Tommy and Nick, spending time behind bars.
During one of the group’s performances, Tommy brings up little Frankie Castelluccio (JOHN LLOYD YOUNG) to the stage and the audience is instantly mesmerized by his voice. A blotched robbery sends Nick and Tommy DeVito to jail, leaving Frankie, who has changed his last name to Valli, and Nick Massi to struggle along. After Tommy’s release, he returns to the group and continues as a member and manager in charge of setting up gigs and running the group. Unfortunately Tommy also has a gambling problem which causes his downfall and subsequent departure from the group.
A fellow Jersey friend, Joey Pesci (JOSEPH RUSSO) introduces a young kid named Bob Gaudio (ERICH BERGEN) who after hearing Frankie sing, turns to the camera and says, “… I know I need to write for this voice”. Gaudio already has a hit record called “short shorts” on the charts and joins the group.
With Gaudio writing songs for Frankie’s voice, the group signs up with songwriter and producer Bob Crewe (MIKE DOYLE ) and finally get their first hit “Sherry”. The group’s popularity takes off and Bob writes hit after hit. Everything appears to be going great, until Tommy’s gambling debt is discovered and Frankie with the help of Gyp steps up to cover. As part of the deal, Tommy leaves the group and in a moment of anger, Nick also quits, leaving Bob and Frankie to pick up the pieces and continue touring. Although the movie focuses on the group struggles and rise to fame, Frankie’s relationship and marriage to first wife, Mary Delgado (RENÉE MARINO) are also featured as is the death of his daughter, Francine and his relationship with Lorraine (ERICA PICCININNI) his second wife.
The film combines the trials and hardships of four young kids from New Jersey from the early years through their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with the music from their incredible hits, like, Sherry, Dawn, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk like a Man, Rag Doll, December 1963, and many more, including my favorites, My Eyes adored you and Can’t take my eyes off of you. The movie gives us insight into how being on the road caused the destruction of Frankie’s home life and what fame and fortune can do to a person. It shows how spending time together as a group is never easy and finally it gives us a look into the strength and dedication of true friendship “Jersey Style”.
My favorite scene in the movie and there were many to chose from, has to be the finale. Choreographer, Sergio Trujillo put together the equivalent of a stage curtain call based on Mr. Eastwood’s vision. The finale gives us all of the actors in their respective decades wardrobe, singing and dancing down the streets of New Jersey (or in this case Warner Brothers backlot), to the biggest Four Seasons hits.
The actors did an amazing job portraying Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and for me growing up with their music, it was a wonderful trip down memory lane as I sang along to all my favorite songs. JOHN LLOYD YOUNG who stars as Frankie Vallie won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Award for his Broadway role in Jersey Boys. ERICH BERGEN as Bob Guadio, starred in the first touring production as well as the Las Vegas and Los Angeles productions of Jersey Boys. MICHAEL LOMENDA, who played Nick Massi, also starred in the first touring production of Jersey Boys, while VINCENT PIAZZA playing Tommy DeVito, was the only one of the four that did not have a musical background. Every one of these actors, made me feel, I was watching and listening to the real Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Director / Producer Clint Eastwood along with producers Robert Lorenz and Graham King and Screenwriters Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and the crew took the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to a new level. From Mr. Eastwood’s decision to have the actors sing the hits live on camera to the scenes where they use the fourth wall (talking into the camera), Eastwood, and his crew along with Frankie Valli and Bob Guadio as Executive Producers, have taken the stage production and turned it into a Hit Movie that will have you dancing and singing in your seats, yet also have you walk away with the knowledge of the hard work and sacrifice made by so many to bring us the music of the Four Seasons.
Don’t miss Jersey Boys, the Movie NOW in theatres. #jerseyboysmovie
My name is Loretta Garcia and I am a contributing writer for Socalthrills. I am also a travel agent with Destinations in Florida. Email me at [email protected] to book your next Amazing Magical Adventures to your favorite destinations.