By Patricia Hall, Fairfax Family Fun
We were walking from the school bus stop last year, with me carrying my son’s backpack, when I realized that — as often is the case — I had a perfect song for that. “Carried your books from school, playing make-believe you’re married to me…” I jokingly sang “My Eyes Adored You” by The Four Seasons. “Hey,” I jokingly told my kid “you’re in sixth grade. If you like a girl in fifth grade, this could be your song!”
Because of this fun little memory and my fondness for playing songs I grew up with (even those that predated me), I knew that my preteen would know some of the songs featured in Jersey Boys. The Tony award-winning show, now though Jan. 5, 2020, at The National Theatre, features the well-loved music of Franki Valli and The Four Seasons. Still I wanted to be sure my kid would have a good appreciation for the production, so I started playing some of the songs in the days before we attended. Of course he knew “My Eyes Adored You,” but it was time for more.
“Surely you know this one,” I said, as I played “Who Loves You.” Nope. Same for “Can’t Take My Eyes of You” and even “December 1963 (Oh What a Night). I was surprised, but not as surprised as when I played even older songs such as “Sherri” and “Walk Like a Man” and it turns out he DID know these tunes.
That’s the nice thing about music that has endured for so long — it makes its way, sometimes surprisingly so, to future generations. Jersey Boys, a musical that captures a band’s decades-long success, is a show that several generations of fans can enjoy.
The show takes you behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, following the Jersey Boys from their street performances to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s a story about friendship, determination, discovering talent, being adaptable, and finding your own voice. But it also includes questionable business practices, affiliations with a criminal element, physical coming-of-age experiences, fights, infidelity, and other mature content that renders this show best for adults, teens, and older kids. Because of the content, which includes “authentic, profane Jersey language,” it’s best for guests ages 12 and up.
We knew this ahead of time and were prepared for the multiple “F-bombs” and other language (which, I can assure you, most preteens have heard by now). My bigger concern was whether the storyline would be interesting enough for my 12-year-old, given his limited knowledge of the band. “Is it going to be boring?” he asked ahead of our visit. No, I assured him. It’s not.
Thankfully, he agreed. With great music, likable characters, simple but quick-changing scenery, a fast-paced story with no real “lulls,” and even some humor, Jersey Boys will keep even the most casual fan engaged and entertained. The run time is approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, including intermission. Tickets are available at the National Theatre box office and online.