Directed by Amy Copeland, music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe.
Wollongong locals So Popera Productions took to the stage at Wollongong Entertainment Centre with an accurate and powerful portrayal of the musical Jersey Boys.
Jersey Boys is a jukebox bio-musical about the 60s/70s rock group the Four Seasons. It tells the story of a group that started as four boys from New Jersey under a streetlamp as they become the huge stars that made them influential for decades to come.
Frankie Valli’s falsetto is what makes his voice one of the most recognisable in music history and Jayden Sierra executed Valli’s range expertly. The other three members of the Four Seasons: Tommy DeVito (Robert Jeffery), Bob Gaudio (Kyle Nozza) and Nick Massi (Tyler Hoggard) rounded out some of the most beautifully executed 4-part harmonies that Wollongong theatre has seen to date.
This high energy show was driven by the entire cast: Katherine Akele, Hannah Garbo, Kristie Beedie, Roberto Galanti, Alexander Morgan Jamal Rizk, Justin Huntsdale, Lachlan O’Dea and Alexander Perritt. The entire supporting cast skilfully executed their roles with strong Jersey accents. Some stand outs were Akele’s jersey accent and portrayal of Mary Delgado and Morgan’s portrayal of the flamboyant music producer Bob Crewe. The show’s director Amy Copeland, guided the cast to present such strong acting across the board.
Peter Copeland’s musical direction gave the audience a spectacular rendition of a sound that many know and love. The band for this show was exceptional, many even stepping into the light with onstage appearances. The talented drummer Brody Toombs was showcased as a member of the band throughout the scenes where the Four Seasons were performing.
The Four Seasons had some smooth dance moves, as is typical of polished 1950s boy bands. Choreographer Dane Sanderson captured the essence of this style in his choreography through every movement, and even had the horns section showcasing their step taps with ease.
The set design and construction team (Amy Copeland, Mal Copeland, Donna Copeland and Anthony Keen) attempted to make the space more appropriate for a small cast in such a large venue. The lighting design by Jasmine Rizk was nothing short of a spectacle and helped immerse the audience into the performance. While the set and lighting helped transport them into the world portrayed onstage, there was something lacking when such an intimate show was produced in such a large venue.
So Popera productions did such a magnificent job producing a well-loved show. Audience members could be seen singing and dancing in the streets as they left the building. Wollongong’s community theatre scene is truly thriving in 2021.
Jersey Boys played from 6th – 9th May at the WIN Entertainment Centre.
Reviewer’s comment: I acknowledge that I may have some bias in writing this review as the Choreographer is my brother.