A star is reborn in Jersey Boys when the puppyish John Lloyd Young takes vocal wing, channeling the legendary thrills and trills of Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli. As Young's bright falsetto rings through the air, the August Wilson Theatre becomes a rejuvenation room, transforming baby boomer women into screaming Valli girls in the throes of Young love.
With Jersey Boys, the Broadway musical has finally done right by the jukebox, presenting the Four Seasons' infectiously energetic 1960s tunes as they were intended to be performed. True, the script adheres closely to the dramatic beats of a VH1 biopic: building bridges in the first act, delving into tunnels in the second. But under Des McAnuff's sleek direction, the result feels canny instead of canned. And Bob Gaudio's music, as sung by a dynamic cast and shaped by Steve Canyon Kennedy's exemplary audio design, sounds as good as it ever did (and sometimes---blasphemy!---even better).
That the audience responds to the actors as though they were the Four Seasons themselves is testament to Jersey Boys' equanimity in its treatment of its lead characters, who include the affable Gaudio (Reichard) as well as the incorrigibly delinquent Tommy DeVito (Hoff) and the inscrutable Nick Massi (Spencer). As each of these men---clean-cut singers with rough-hewn pasts---tells his side of their history, it becomes clear that although Young may lead the pack, this is a ultimately a show for all Seasons.---Adam Feldman
Running Time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.