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Hit production ‘Jersey Boys’ returning to off-Strip showroom

Updated January 27, 2024 - 10:44 am

You cannot escape the sense of deja vu when Bob Gaudio reacts to hearing Frankie Valli sing for the first time.

“After eight bars, ” Gaudio says, “I knew I had to write for that voice.”

Again.

That revelation is a key plot point in the musical “Jersey Boys,” which is doubling down on nostalgia at The Orleans Showroom. The show opens 7:30 p.m. Friday. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Sundays, with 3:30 matinees Saturdays, dark Tuesdays (tickets start at $69.95; go to jerseyboys.vegas for intel).

The show is in a three-year engagement, the first ever at the showroom, steered by Vegas producer John Bentham of Ivory Star Productions. The company also presents which presents “Marriage Can be Murder” and Adam London’s “Laughternoon” at The Venue at the Orleans; and the hit comic performer Tape Face at MGM Grand.

“Jersey Boys” of course has impressive pedigree on the Strip. The musical biography of Valli and the Four Seasons opened at Palazzo Theater in April 2008, spurred by the success of its Broadway opening in November 2005. It moved to Paris Las Vegas in March 2011, closing Sept. 18, 2016.

The production’s revival is bucking trends across the Vegas landscape, starting with its off-Strip location. Proper stage shows — especially Broadway-style productions — have struggled amid ample competition from headliners and major-league sporting events.

And the show tests show-goers attention spans. This is the full-length, Broadway version of the show, running 2 hours, 15 minutes with a 10-minute intermission.

But this company is talented, unfazed and unflinching as it brings the Four Seasons’ triumphant saga back to life. The producer is confident it will find an audience, off the Strip, just to see “Jersey Boys.”

“The show has such a wide appeal because the story is both engaging and moving and the music is so universally loved,” Bentham said. “We have such an incredible cast and our 10-piece band brings incredible energy and life to the show.”

The new “Jersey Boys” cast performed the show for the first time for an audience in a dress rehearsal. Untangling the snags just before opening, the cast demonstrated terrific dance numbers and the tight vocal harmonies that carried the group to international fame.

The new show’s charge is simple, to remind anew of the Four Seasons’ musical appeal and rags-to-riches storyline. On this night, the Four Seasons were portrayed by Joey Barreiro as Frankie, who is toggling the role with Jared Chinnock; Kit Treece as Gaudio; Tyler Burk as Tommy DeVito; and Jonathan Cable as Nick Massi.

They are all newcomers, hired after a nationwide search for the Vegas cast.

Barreiro has performed in the “Newsies” national cast. Chinnock, originally from Pontypridd in Wales in the U.K., is in his third stint as Valli. Treece was in the off-Broadway company and was also Derek Hough’s stand-by in the “New York Spring Spectacular” starring the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. Burk, from L.A., is a recording artist who has been cast in “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” Cable has played Massi in the closing production of “Jersey Boys” off-Broadway, after two years on the tour.

Danny Austin (production Supervisor and associate choreographer) and Ron Melrose (music supervisor) are back with the production. Both worked on the show for the last two decades. Top Vegas entertainment pro Sarah Lowe (assistant director and choreographer) returns, having worked on the previous Strip production.

The beloved hits, too, are back, among them “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The show also returns the same set, music, and script from its previous Vegas incarnation.

As Bentham describes, the production has a licensing rights agreement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, which holds stage-performance rights to the show. The Vegas “Jersey Boys” show is operating with the “blessing” of original “Jersey Boys” producers Dodger Theatricals.

Seventeen actors, 10 musicians and three stage managers have signed on for the new “Jersey Boys.” The showroom has been outfitted with new audio and lighting.

Bentham says he is ready to bring the show back after an eight-year “dark.” As the producers says, “We are super excited to be presenting Jersey Boys in as close to its original, award-winning roots as has been done in nearly a decade.

‘Follies’ revival

A very, very off-Broadway revival of “Follies,” the legendary Steven Sondheim musical, is being performed at Access Showroom at Aliante hotel-casino. Six shows are scheduled from April 11-14 (the schedule has shifted some; go to showgirlscomehome.com for intel).

Tom Michel, David Robinson and Sean Stephenson produce. This triumvirate operated The Vegas Room, and later The Nevada Room — now The Composers Room — at Commercial Center.

Andrea McArdle, the Tony Award nominee best-known for originating the lead role in “Annie” on Broadway and the West End, is the show’s latest addition. She joins a cast of, well, not quite thousands, but 45 Vegas performers and the 26-piece Jazz Outreach Initiative orchestra.

Randal Keith (“Phantom,” “Les Mis,” “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers,” Michelle Johnson (Las Vegas’ First Lady of Jazz), Sam Holder (“Oklahoma”) and Christine Shebeck (“Metamorphosis”) in the lead roles. Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton-Holmes, four-time Grammy winner and one-time Pip Bubba Knight, comic legend Pete Barbutti and Metropolitan Opera star Frederica von Stade are all in this show.

Robinson directs. More to come on this show, including Robinson’s four-year relationship with Sondheim, back in the day.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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