With “Jersey Boys,” the tale of the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the musical grabs you from the start. When the group that helped shape a generation explains their options as they came of age, “join the Army, get mobbed up or become a star,” you’re hooked. No matter how enjoyable it is to learn about the Jersey handshake or the code on the street, however, the real show begins when the music starts.
From the first strains of “Sherry,” heads are bobbing, toes are tapping and the audience is hooked. It doesn’t even matter that the quartet on stage at the Colonial is only slightly better than a tribute band. “Walk Like a Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Oh What a Night” make the crowd sing, dance and swoon.
Unfortunately, this production isn’t entirely swoon-worthy. The pacing is off, the choreography is sloppily executed and the electrifying energy of its predecessors (2009 and 2010) is nowhere to be found. Even the incredible scene where the audience experiences a moment under the stage lights is more like retina damage than rock and roll heaven.
And though the “Boys” are competent, they never capture the magic of the four guys who made it against all odds. As Frankie, Nick Cosgrove feels sporadically cartoonish while making it look like he’s trying too hard. Michael Lomenda fares better as Nick Massi, while John Gardiner delivers the most noteworthy performance as Tommy DeVito.
Local native Miles Jacoby struggles vocally, but the real problem is the Boston accent he fails to check at the door. Nobody ‘pahties’ in Jersey.
Through March 3
106 Boylston St., Boston