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Hornsby Musical Society: Jersey Boys - Review by Selina Wong

You know you’ve watched a good show when the first thing you do is search for the soundtrack on Spotify and go down the rabbit hole of googling the biography of the group. The fast paced and high energy production of Jersey Boys follows the history and hits of The Four Seasons through clever storytelling and phenomenal music of the Hornsby Musical Society.

The story behind the band’s formation, successes and adversities was easy to follow through the narration of each original band member. Jordan Galleos in the role of Tommy DeVito sets the scene for the production when he states, “If you’re from my neighborhood, you got three ways out. You could join the army. You could get mobbed up. Or—you could become a star”. It is upon the backdrop of New Jersey’s 1950s Italian-American community that The Four Seasons are catapulted into fame. It doesn’t surprise me to learn that director Jacob Macri grew up in an Italian household as the Italian-American dialogue, humorous mobster references and swearing was authentically peppered throughout the production.

Galleos was first to narrate the formation of the band and he truly commanded the stage from start to finish; not to mention the amazing consistency of his thick Italian-Jersey accent. Galleos’ portrayal of DeVito’s street smarts, tough attitude and flaws was masterfully humanised and left me genuinely invested in his character. My Mother’s Eyes and I’m In The Mood For Love.

Lachlan Ceravolo as Frankie Valli was sensational. He took on such a huge role with iconic vocals and tough falsettos that Ceravolo attacked with confidence. He played a naive teenager, protege to DeVito to a successful superstar. Ceravolo’s character development also portrayed vulnerability and grief which was a pleasure to watch. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love really showcased the depth of his voice. Rachel Bendeich who played Valli’s rambunctious wife Mary Delgado, was the epitome of power and I simply couldn’t get enough of her.

Nick Heibl really brought Bob Gaudio’s character to life. His vocals were incredible and his on stage manner really characterised the convictions of his character; that the band’s success was not to be determined by producer Bob Crewe. I was thoroughly entertained with his interactions with the fabulous Myles Burgin who played a convincing flamboyant, Bob Crewe. The audience was in stitches when Bob loses his virginity December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) due to Galleo and Dobb’s hysterical carry on.

Samuel Dobb who played the quiet dreamer Nick Massi was the clear crowd favourite. As the band member who narrated last, the audience lapped up his insightful perspectives and his humorous outburst about rooming with Tommy, who was “not properly socialised”. He was the character who spoke least but had the most stage presence. Dobb really made The Four Seasons complete. A personal favourite was Sophia Macri’s fabulous portrayal of Joe Pesci. She injected an authentic sass and swagger to the character.

Choreographer Lauren Oxenham did an exquisite job all round. The versatility of the ensemble was particularly impressive due to its large size. Not only did they play backup dancers, club patrons, opening acts and crowds, they flawlessly repositioned set pieces, props, and even assisted with the revolving door of the band members’ glitzy suit jackets. The ensemble style of movement and costuming transported the audience through the passage of time in which The Four Seasons popularised. Standouts included Benjamin Gibiec, Logan McArthur, Michael Kinglsey, Karl Elbourne and Max Cirene whose adaptability was notable.

The simplistic two storey set designed by Tony Macri, Bob Williams and Jacob Macri, allowed for seamless transitions between scenes. The two staircases were also used effectively as passages through time and the second storey featured the several locations where The Four Seasons performed. The effective use of the two levels was showcased best during Ceravolo’s emotional My Eyes Adored you. Singing to the audience, Bendeich appears later to join in a duet which was harmonised to perfection. The best feature of the two storey set was the production band's constant visibility on stage which reiterated that music was really the heart of this production.

Towards the end of the production, I was left feeling sad that this amazing group broke up at the height of its fame.It is a testament to Ceravolo, Gallegos, Dobb and Hiebl when it felt like home when the original group members of The Four Seasons performed at the Rock Music Hall Of Fame in the final scene.

As an inspiring rags to riches story, Jersey Boys balances these elements with humour and heart. The result is a compelling narrative that resonates with both fans of The Four Seasons and those new to their music. All four had perfect harmonies and I’m sure their onscreen rapport extended backstage. I give this show 4 Jersey handshakes out of 5.

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