Oh, What a Night at Capital Rep!

The perfect jukebox musical combines a fantastic score, singable songs and an engaging
story. The story should stand on its own without the musical interjections. The musical
score should provide the audience a concert like feeling, leaving audiences satisfied if
they were to receive only one or the other. To provide the two together, treats the
audience to the quintessential jukebox musical; the perfect amount of peanut butter and
jelly sandwiched between thick slices of a delicious homemade bread. Capital Rep‘s
production of Jersey Boys serves up that special delectable meal.

theREP’s JERSEY BOYS / Doug Liebig

TheRep was filled to capacity Tuesday night for the show’s opening. Wonderful to see
the Capital Region audiences returning once again, chasing the allure of fine
theatre. They will certainly not be disappointed – with Marshal Brickman and Rick Elice’s book, and music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe, Jersey Boys follows the ups and downs of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from their humble beginnings under a street lamp on a Jersey street corner, to their induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The story is told in a documentary style with each of the original members taking a
season in the life of the group. When we look at their story from the outside, they
achieved the great American dream. When you see the back story you realize that dream
came with a very gritty, tarnished life. Everything from arrests, drug abuse, gambling,
infidelity and more. Through it all they fought together and sang together, and they were
family. You feel empathy, sympathy, and if you are of a “certain age” a very relatable-
ness to the music and the people.

What makes this production work so well is the jam packed talent on the stage.
Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill (The Rep’s Producing Artistic Director) said “this
was the most difficult musical I have ever directed, 35 scenes in the first act alone that
all had to move seamlessly.” And well, they do. The entire production moves seamlessly
under her deft direction.

Todd Olsen’s musical direction moves his cast effortlessly through thirty plus musical
numbers and reprises. The hits never stop, from “Sunday Kind of Love”, “Earth Angel”,
“My Mother’s Eyes” (which becomes a very important keystone in the show), “Sherry”,
“Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Dawn”, “Go Away”, “Oh What a Night”, just to offer a taste of
the evening. Freddy Ramirez has recreated much of the Four Season choreography,
either in duplication or interpretation, as well as adding his talented imprint on the
balance of the cast production numbers.

The production is beautifully supported by David McQuelllan Robertson’s set design,
Travis McHale’s lighting and David Orlando’s projection design. The production is
rounded out technically with Howard Tsvi Kaplan’s perfect costume interpretations and
Michael Dunn’s spot on period wigs.

The cast of JERSEY BOYS / Doug Liebig

All of the technical is meaningless without the talent to back it up. The relatively young
cast of professionals takes the ball and runs with it. Evan Jay Newman as Frankie Valli
matches the original Valli note for note, and does so in spectacular fashion. Jeffrey
Kringer, James Scott Brown, and Brian Michael Henry as Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito
and Nick Massi respectively, inhabit fully the mind, body, and voice of each of the original

Supporting cast members, many playing multiple roles, all step into their parts with
polish and finesse, drama, and comedic timing. Nick Anastasia as Joey Pesci (yes, that Joe
Pesci) inhabits his character’s body like a well worn glove. Returning Rep vets, Buzz
Roddy, Taylor Hilt Mitchell and Shannon Rafferty’s performances all make it apparent
why they have been asked yet again to return to theREP stage. Kyle Garvin is a bundle
of dynamite as he moves across the stage in whichever character he happens to be

Jersey Boys is the perfect package. Great music, a compelling story and a true history
most of us will know at least parts of. Talent is the key word that keeps popping up here.
From the technical to acting to the vocals, this production of Jersey Boys is loaded with

You’ll love taking the journey with The Four Seasons. You’ll have trouble not singing
along with the cast, as our seat neighbor did on opening night. But please don’t join in.
Many have paid good money to watch and hear the talent on the stage. Let them enjoy
the performance and keep the singing in your own mind, at least until the show’s end.
Parking can be a bit tricky, but that issue is being dealt with; a new lot will be ready by
the venue’s next production. There is some strong adult language and themes throughout the

Make it a point to join the party going on at The Rep, 251 North Pearl St., Albany,
through August 21. Ticket prices range from $27.50 to $69.50. Masks are required
inside the theatre. For more info or reservations go to www.capitalrep.org or call 518-

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