Seeing a production of Jersey Boys has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I thought I had missed my chance once it left Broadway. But lucky for me, the show about Belleville natives, The Four Seasons, made its New Jersey premiere this past weekend at the historic State Theatre New Jersey and kicked off the theatre’s Broadway Series. The Jersey girl in me could not pass up an opportunity to see this Tony award-winning show at the landmark New Brunswick venue.
Located right in the heart of downtown New Brunswick means you are able to grab a bite to eat beforehand at one of the city’s many fabulous cafes and restaurants, and after the show walk around its charming streets or grab a post-show nightcap. It also means you have the convenience of seeing a Broadway production right here at home, so you don’t have to sit in hours of traffic going into the city and you don’t have to spend a fortune on parking once you made it across the river. Strolling up to the 1,850 seat theatre, I was in awe of its magnificent beauty. The renovated 1921 silent-film house, was built as a grand movie palace in the heyday of vaudeville. After undergoing a $3 million restoration in December 2003, the theatre was returned — as closely as possible — to its original appearance.
Upon entering through the large wooden doors and into the lobby, one immediately feel as if they’ve been transported back to the golden age of theatre, with its lush red carpeting, gilded walls, and ornate detailing. After grabbing a drink at the elegant bar, I was ushered into the auditorium by a warm and gregarious attendant to my cozy, ruby-hued seat, where I again was awestruck by the venue’s splendid allure. Looking around the room at the sold-out venue, the other patron’s faces seemed just as enthralled as I was. The room then darkened, up the curtains went as the music began to crescendo, and the show began.
The Jersey Boys cast certainly deserved that riveting standing ovation. I loved the gritty ‘documentary’ style of the show, which told the story in four parts (by each member) of how a bunch of blue-collar boys from Belleville became Franki Valli and The Four Seasons, one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. The acting and singing was spectacular, and I was utterly blown away by the vocal range of Jonny Wexler, who portays Frankie Valli. They performed all the big hits including “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What a Night,” and “Walk like a Man.” I, like most of the audience, was bopping along and clapping as the boys busted out all of Frankie, Tommy, Bob, and Nick’s infamous moves and signature vocals. The actors did not miss a beat and they had the audience laughing, crying, singing and dancing. The show touched on just about every emotion.
It was such an honor to see Jersey Boys in my home state at such a historic and notable theatre. I had such a wonderful experience at State Theatre New Jersey, that I’m already planning my next visit.
The state’s second largest non-profit presenting hall has a diverse roster of entertainment, including international orchestras, Broadway, comedy, and family events. It has so many amazing shows coming up during its Broadway Series such as “The Sound of Music,” Dec. 22-24, “Cinderella,” Feb. 9-10, 2018, and “Motown The Musical,” March 23-25, 2018, “A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder,” April 6-7, 2018, “The Wizard of Oz,” May 4-5, 2018 and “Cabaret,” May 18-19, 2018. Decisions, decisions.
Check out State Theatre’s website for a full list of upcoming shows and to purchase tickets.