Oh, what a night. New Jersey Nights is a fun celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The setting of this new touring production begins in an imaginary bar where the voiceover invites the crowd to enjoy the show that is about to take place.
Four suited singers, six dancers and a three-piece band knocked out back-to-back vintage numbers and Emma Rogers’ choreography ensured there was always something to catch your eye on stage.
The four tenors (Joshua Dever, William Hazel, Duncan Heather and Ricky Rojas) share the parts in the arrangements, allowing each to show off their Valli-esque falsetto range. Rojas’ riff-tastic rendition of ‘Earth Angel’ was a particular highlight for me.
The repertoire wasn’t exclusively four-part male harmony numbers: Carole King’s ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ featured as did other numbers Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons covered throughout their career. Briefly, the gents left the stage leaving the three female performers (Shauna Olley, Sarah Owen and Abigail Porter) to entertain the crowd recreating The Ronettes’ performance of ‘Be My Baby’ and The Crystals’ ‘Da Do Ron Ron’. It was a shame this portion of the show only had the women miming behind microphones pretending to sing instead of a more elaborate choreographed number, as they had fabulously demonstrated in other parts of the show.
Unfortunately, during a series of A Capella numbers, the boys had to stop due to starting in the wrong key but they made the most of the situation, gaining extra laughs from the crowd, reminding us that it was live theatre we were viewing. However, they continued to corpse throughout the entire song which was a little off-putting – either a severe case of the giggles or an indicator of the backstage camaraderie between the actors.
With no fewer than 29 numbers and a Mega Mix at the end, the ensemble transported us from the 1940s through to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. We were on our feet for the finale and apart from that single pitching issue, this was overall a very slick performance.
Review by Fiona Scott
New Jersey Nights is a spectacular celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and takes the audience on a nostalgic musical journey through the career of one of the biggest selling groups of all time.
From the back street studio in New Jersey where it all began, this vibrant production includes all of The Four Seasons greatest hits, including Sherry, Rag Doll, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man and many more.