Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: 'Jersey Boys' at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel

From left: Jeff Leibow (Nick Massi), Graham Fenton (Frankie Valli),
Ro Marnell (Bob Gaudio) and Deven May (Tommy Devito).
(production photos: Joan Marcus)
'Jersey Boys' playing the Paris Las Vegas Hotel continues to be the crowd-pleaser wherever it plays. After seeing the show on Broadway, London and Toronto the overall quality is not lost in its Vegas incarnation. The original sets and costumes are duplicated but it's the energetic and talented young men who play the Four Seasons and their performance of the group's hit songs that do not disappoint.

This Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2006 tells the story behind the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from the streets of Newark to the top of the music charts. All of the groups major hits are featured in the show. Among them include "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't' Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "My Eyes Adored You" and "Walk Like A Man"

Tonight's Frankie Valli is Graham Fenton, who alternates in the role with Travis Cloer (each playing four performances per week due to the vocal demands of the part), is in fine voice as the lead singer of group never sounding strained to duplicate Valli's vocals. Though the character is given some of the most dramatic scenes especially in the second act which he handles ably, character growth is mainly offered up through narration (a fault of the show's book writer). However this device does keep the show moving at a clipped pace.

If there is a standout performance among the four it is Rob Marnell as Bob Gaudio (the songwriter of some of group's biggest hits) who plays the role with boyish charm and mature keenness. Deven May as Tommy DeVito offers the standard tough Jersey attitude (maybe a bit tad too rough) for the character and Jeff Leibow as Nick Massi, as the least developed character of the four musicians, is given a couple of fine moments including a scene of comic relief where he describes DeVito's obsession with towels.

The ensemble make do with the bit background characters they are assigned. As a company some of the most dazzling scenes is when the entire cast is up on stage in fully choreographed numbers especially in the finale. If we only get an outline about the rise of the Four Seasons at least the musical is entertaining from the start to its very last note.

Unlike some other Broadway musicals that were transplanted to Vegas, the show retains the full running time in lieu of being condensed to 90 minutes. But it should be noted that the 15-minute intermission is dispensed with in favor an eight-minute pause. Patrons are encouraged to hot foot it to the restrooms or bar during this short break. But during the pause, those who choose to remain seated are treated to black and white filmed images of America during the era of the Four Seasons.

I have to admit I was shocked at the sky high ticket prices to see this show. Topping at $226.80, I did not have the opportunity to check if discounts tickets were available. So instead I picked up a mid-price orchestra seat for $171.80 which put me in a fifth left orchestra row three seats off the aisle. This evening the house was not full and there was a huge gap of seats between those seated in the front orchestra and those sitting in less expensive mezzanine seats. I'm not sure if the ushers at the Paris Theatre were Nazis about patrons remaining in their paid seats but it was unusual to not notice anyone moving a few rows forward during the break.

The Vegas production originally opened at the Palazzo in 2008 and after over three years closed at that venue and moved to the Paris (according to press reports under more favorable terms) where the musical is playing an open-ended run. With the announced closing of 'Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular,' 'Jersey' will be the only Broadway musical playing the Strip.


  • Website:
  • Venue: Paris Theatre (Le Theatre des Arts) click HERE for seating chart
  • Location: Paris Las Vegas Hotel
  • When: Tue & Sat 6:30 & 9:30pm; Wed-Fri & Sun 7pm
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 10 min (with eight minute pause)
  • Ticket Prices: $100.30-$226.80
  • Opening: Mar 6, 2012
  • Closing: Open Ended Run
  • Book Online:
  • Reservations: 702-777-7776
  • Cast Recording: 2005 Original Broadway Cast Recording


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