HughE Dillon: “Jersey Boys” In Town

VIPs turn out to see all-new cast in the hit musical

The second national tour of the Tony- and Grammy Award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys opened last Friday at the Forrest Theatre. Since it was the first showing with all-new actors, a lot of VIPs were in the audience, including Bob Gaudio, an original member of The Four Seasons.

After the final curtain call nearly half the theater headed over to the invitation-only opening night party at Smokin Betty’s. Below: Colby Foytik (Tommy), Brandon Andrus (Nick), Brad Weinstock (Frankie) and Jason Kappus (Bob Gaudio), pose in front of the delicious Jersey Boy cake. A real Jersey Boy, Brandon Andrus was born in Willingboro, but he grew up in Langhorne and graduated from Neshaminy High School in 1998. He tells me it’s great to play in front of his hometown audience, but he’s used to playing with his parents in the audience cause whenever he’s in a touring play they follow him all over the states to catch him. How nice is that?

Below: Director Des McAnuff is introduced by cast member E. Clayton Cornelious for recognition at the after-party, as the rest of the cast looks on. Brandon Andrus told me he saw The Who’s Tommy directed by Des McAnuff when he was growing up, and that to work with him is a dream come true, and very inspirational.

Below: Production supervisor Richard Hester (right) runs “Camp Frankie” to evaluate and train the actors who are going to play Frankie Valli in productions across the world. Also in the photo, Jeff Parvin and Paula Maldonado.

Below: Brent DiRoma and Kathleen Rooney. Brent plays several characters, and he’s the understudy for the Bob Gaudio character.

Below: Stephen Cerf (understudy and plays Bob Crewe) and Jennifer Cordiner. Bob Crewe was the producer who helped get The Four Seasons off the ground, and continues to work with them today, nearly 50 years later.

Below: Tara Rubin, Tara Rubin Casting, Jack Noseworthy (who’s recently been cast in a movie with Collingswood resident Kelly McGillis), Sergio Trujillo, choreography, and Greta Brina.

Below: Bob Gaudio, and daughter Lisa Gaudio. Bob is a founding member of The Four Seasons. His song, “Sherry,” in the early ’60s, launched the group’s incredible string of hits. Bob tells me he’s probably seen the show more times than anyone. Each time he finds a little nuance he’s missed by what the actor brings to the stage that evening or the audience reaction. Bob also produced and co-wrote with his wife, Judy Parker Gaudio, one of my favorite tunes, “Who Loves You,” as well as everyone’s favorite “December ’63 (Oh, What a Night),” which is one of Billboard Magazine‘s longest-charting singles (54 weeks). Judy couldn’t make it this trip, but I just photographed her at her step-granddaughter’s wedding in October.

Below: Carol Drumsta and Maureen Masi Story enjoyed their Jersey Boys night. “Jersey Boys was awesome! Nothing like front/center on opening night with folks like Bob Gaudio right near us!”

Below: Carole Morganti, Taylor Morganti, Rachel Goldman and Janet Lynn, here with Brad Weinstock (Frankie), loved the show just as much the second time around. It’s my second time seeing it too, and I loved it. I mean, do you ever get tired of listening to your favorite songs? Plus the story just reinforces the statement that there are no coincidences. How did these wayward boys create an American music legacy? It’s all at the Forrest Theater until January 12th.