By Alison Baumgartner
They had a look and an attitude that was all their own, and it might have landed them in jail if they hadn’t become one of the greatest musical acts of the 1960s.
Before the members of The Four Seasons even turned 30, they had sold 175 million records worldwide. Despite this, history hasn’t institutionalized them the way it has with the Beatles. Perhaps that’s why fans are so hungry for their music, and their incredible story.
While many people know Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons for their multitudes of classic hits like “Sherry”, “Walk Like a Man,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” they don’t know the whole story of the group’s rise to fame. Jersey Boys, the Tony Awarding-winning Best Musical, tells the heart-wrenchingly honest story of Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons. It’s a story about how four New Jersey hoodlums established a brotherhood that would see them through the wild successes and traumatic lows of pop stardom.
“In many ways, the band was a reflection of the people who were buying their records,” notes Rick Elice, co-writer of Jersey Boys. “They didn’t have long hair or accents. There was no glamour quotient to them at all, which is why they were never written about. For fans of the band, the show is an edification of who they are, because the cultural establishment ignored them too.”
They were blue-collar kids, first-generation Americans and high school dropouts who were flirting with careers in crime. “It was the archetypal American rags-to-riches story: You start with nothing, achieve success and then try to navigate your life through the waters of success,” says Elice. Friendship took them from the mean streets of Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “That was a very powerful hook,” says Elice.“We all know what it’s like to want acceptance, to want respect and to try to find a sense of home with people that are not just the family we’re born into but the family that we choose.”
Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center, Nov. 30–Dec. 2. Tickets start at $20 at LCtix.com.