This December, the touring production of “Jersey Boys” hits the 10-year point, and November marks its Broadway debut 11 years ago. The production returns to Boston for a two-week run at the Boston Opera House this Tuesday, but many productions of the Tony, Grammy and Oliver Award-winning hit musical, which tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, are winding down.
The Las Vegas show just closed after eight years, making it the longest running Broadway show on the strip — the Broadway production closes in January and the West End production in London closes next March. Meanwhile, the touring production, which is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff and stars Matthew Dailey (Tommy DeVito), Aaron De Jesus (Frankie Valli), Keith Hines (Nick Massi) and Drew Seeley (Bob Gaudio), is scheduled only into next summer. Let’s just say it’s going out on a high note.
“This show won’t ever go away. It will be back,” says De Jesus, who joined the cast almost five years ago in the Vegas production, but in another role. He moved center stage playing the real-life group’s lead vocalist a year ago.
“I understudied the role of Frankie while I was playing Joey. It gave me a fair amount of experience,” says De Jesus. “It took me about a month to find my groove as Frankie; now I’m having the time of my life.”
If there’s a favorite moment for him it’s singing “Working My Way Back to You.”
“I get to interact with the audience on that one, because it’s performed like it’s a concert,” he says. “For the audience, you feel like you are at a play, but also a concert.”
The story about the lives of these everyday Jersey boys who became the group behind such 1960s pop R&B hits as “Sherry” and “Rag Doll,” puts the audience behind the scenes, too.
“One of my favorites moments is at the end of Act 1, when the song ‘Dawn’ begins and you see what the camera at the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ sees. Then the entire thing turns 180 degrees and the audience is backstage looking at what it’s like to be in the group.”
De Jesus says it really helps being in a long-running musical if you genuinely love the songs.
“After four and a half years of being in this show, if I am in an elevator and ‘Sherry’ comes on, I don’t cringe or roll my eyes,” he says. “In fact, I will start tapping my foot and smiling. I can’t say that about other musicals I’ve been in.”
If you go:
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston
From $44,800-982-2787, BroadwayInBoston.com