Jersey Boys | Durham Performing Arts Center | Stage | Indy Week


Jersey Boys

When: Oct. 30-Nov. 18 2012

I more or less loathe jukebox musicals, which often impose the thinnest of plots on greatest-hits collections and treat their live performance as something between a novelty and a winking in-joke. Every rule has exceptions, though, and one of them is Jersey Boys, the long-running hit about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The uncanny re-creation of their songs and style—"impression" feels like an insult—is half the achievement, but the show's great trick is how its book simply comes from interviews with the surviving band members, who often directly address the audience. It's an intelligent conceit that allows the group to become actual characters on stage, and it pulls off the trickiest but most necessary achievement of musical theater: making the songs an expansion and reflection of the emotions revealed in the non-musical scenes. Which is particularly hard when these scenes have to lead into numbers such as "December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)" and "Who Loves You." Warning: The show has been flagged for "authentic, profane Jersey vocabulary." Tuesday's opening performance is at 7:30 p.m.; this touring production, part of the Suntrust Broadway series, continues through Nov. 18. —Zack Smith

Price: $20+

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