Date:  Oct 12, 2010
Title: The Jersey Boys Are Back and Better Than
Band:  The Jersey Boys
Venue:  The Palazzo Hotel
Place:  Las Vegas, NV
Author: Robin Roth
Photos: Robin Roth
Editor: Mark Lewis
Posted:  Oct 22, 2010
 
 

 

 

               “THEJERSEY BOYS”

        TONY AWARD WINNING BROADWAY SHOW 

          IS ROCKIN STRONGER THAN EVER!

 

BY: Robin Roth

 

The Jersey Boys at the Palazzo hotel was an instant hit the moment it opened over two years ago and remains a huge hit show to this day. The show is fast paced, electrifying, exhilarating and exciting from the moment it begins, until the very last amazing note. You will not have a single moment to think or mentally wander off. The story and music is so captivating you will be mesmerized every moment. The Jersey Boys recounts the rags-to-riches story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The story reenacts how a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, created their very own identifiable, unique sound, sold 175 million records worldwide and all before the age of thirty. The boys went from jail, all the way to the top of the charts. They are bona fide genuine icons.

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I was fortunate enough, to see the show a few years ago. I was eager to see if it was still fresh and powerful as time has passed by. I was more than thrilled to find out that the show has lost none of its power, luster, impact, vigor, or excitement. Time can not tarnish a true gem. I was just as elated, moved, and enthralled as I was the last time and even the first time I saw the Jersey Boys for that matter. This is a show you can and should see over and over and over. Honestly, one can not get tired of the music and/or the story. It is such a great, moving, and enjoyable musical. As far as I am concerned, it is, without a doubt, the best show by far in Las Vegas today. There is no fluff, and there are gimmicks here. What you will find is brilliant music, a stellar true storyline, talented and brilliant acting, singing, staging, and directing at work.

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The legendary songs are meticulously, cleverly, artistically, and carefully placed into the show to tell the Four Season’s story. The show features at crucial moments such hits as 1962: "Sherry",  1966: "Working My Way Back to You”, 1975: "Who Loves You", 1963 (Oh, What a Night)", 1962: "Big Girls Don't Cry", 1963: "Walk Like a Man, 1964: "Dawn (Go Away)", 1964: "Rag Doll #1, 1964 "Big Man in Town", 1965: "Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye) 1965: "Girl Come Running", 1965: "Let's Hang On!", 1967 "C'mon Marianne",  “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” and of course one of Frankie’s biggest all time hits, the 1975 "My Eyes Adored You"; a song that no one believed in other then the duo, and Gaudio made it happen by himself investing his own time and money to make this gigantic hit come to be.

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While enjoying the musical, you will no doubt want to sing along, I know I totally did. And, NO, I didn't care one bit about the faces everyone was giving me. I was moved and didn't care!!!  Granted, I should have sung a wee tad softer than the cast but, WHATEVER! The Jersey Boys Las Vegas show will no doubt take you on a ride down memory lane. The show is not only simply put, “outstanding”, but extraordinary and an absolute must see, feel good show. The Jersey Boys story is real, which makes it all the more amazing to be a part of.

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As I looked around the Palazzo Theater, all I could see was an whole audience, smiling, singing, laughing, enjoying, and totally consumed into this amazing true story musical and incredible ‘Seasons’ music. It’s not hard to understand why the show has captivated audiences from around the world.  The show will bring you a true magical evening that you will never forget.

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Of course there is only NO voice that is as brilliant and distinct as Frankie Valli with an “I”. However, if one must try to copy his out-of-this-world voice, the two talented performers at the Palazzo Theater capture and accomplish the almost impossible task! Travis Cloer and Rick Faugno bring young Vali back to life. With their more than stellar, dazzling, stunning performances, their talent, astounding vocals and phenomenal acting skills help us to see the real Frankie right before our eyes. I extend major kudos, to both of these brilliant performers. Each actor portraying the Four Seasons was remarkable. They give 100%, which in itself is miraculous after performing night after night and keeping it fresh for years. However, all of the actors on stage are wonderful. Jeff Leibow who plays Nick Massi is so honest and magnificent it’s surreal.  Deven May who plays Tommy Di Vito so amazingly it is breathtaking and uncanny. Peter Saide who plays Bob Gaudio (who is the newest Season to the show) is believable as he displays the same humble and talented traits as the original Gaudio. Peter is remarkable.

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I know the bands today rock-out in a whole different way and universe, but without the heritage paved out by groups like Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, bands wouldn't have role models to bring them up to date. Valli and the Seasons were not only innovating and way ahead of their time, but they brought a sound to music that no one had ever heard before. What's more, their songs are still incredible to listen to today... These guys were nothing short of genius. Valli’s one of a kind voice was legendary. Let us not forget the miraculous master mind of Bob Gaudio, who wrote all of the music and lyrics for Frankie and the Seasons to shine.

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Which all brings me now to the absolute fact; Rock-and-Roll has never been more alive then at the elegant PALAZZO HOTEL. The Palazzo is now the place where, “THE JERSEY BOYS” is rockin' the house to sold-out crowds.

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Writing this story has been a total pleasure as everything about this show is a total pleasure. I would like to thank Rebecca Smith for helping make this feature possible. In my opinion, not only is the Jersey Boys the best show in Vegas, but the best show on Broadway as well. The amount of Tony Awards and accolades the musical has received proves just that!  My hat is off to the Jersey Boys in real life and to this fine cast and crew at the Palazzo Hotel. If you can only see one show in the wonderful city of Las Vegas, this is the show to see. This show is, “Just Too Good To Be True”!

 I rate Jersey Boys a solid A+ and add a huge BRAVO!

 

FYI:

 

At long last, The Four Seasons (group members 1960–1965) were most deservingly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Frankie Valli is still touring the states and the globe to this day. I saw him perform recently and his voice is better than ever!! What a musical giant! For Frankie it was never the money or the fame, it was and still is about the music. Rock on Frankie!

 

JERSEY BOYS Perform: Monday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday: 7:00 p.m. Tuesday: 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m., Saturday, 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Wednesday: Dark 

 

For more information 

phone: 702.414.9000

OR Email: tickets@Palazzolasvegas.com

info@jerseyboysvegas.com

 

 

I was very fortunate to have an exclusive interview with one of the Frankies, Rick Faugno....

 

Rick is such a brilliant shining star. What a rare talent. I enjoyed the interview as he was real, honest, humble, down to earth, grateful, and such an amazing performer that it was a joy to speak with him. Thanks Rick, you are just beginning to see your star rise.

 

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WHEN YOU MET FRANKIE FOR THE FIRST TIME WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU AND DID HE AUDITION YOU?:  When I first met Frankie and Bob Gaudio, I was at the final  call backs in New York for  the first national tour. I ended up playing Joe Pesci, for 6 months.  Later, I was moved up to playing Frankie twice a week.  A year later we were in L. A., Frankie came to see the show and I was nervous.  Frankie came to my dressing room and said,”Don't worry, just do what you do!"

We began a friendship and he later gave me the ok, to play Frankie in Las Vegas.   Frankie has the final say on who plays him.

 

BEFORE YOU PLAYED THE ROLE DID YOU STUDY FRANKIE'S VOICE?: I never sang in that style before the show. I was a legit Broadway singer, not rock and roll. So, I studied as much as I could before the auditions. I studied the part as I played Pesci and learned as much as I could on my own.  I had my own little conservatory.

 

HOW DID IT MAKE YOU FEEL TO WORK WITH THESE LEGENDS, THESE ICONS?   HOW DID IT FEEL TO HANG WITH THEM?:   I was nervous when Frankie was watching me in the show, I was nervous about  how he thought I did.  When I started hanging out with him as a regular guy it was great.  We spoke in L. A. about the history of the Four Seasons, his upbringing, singing, etc.  He was like a father to me in a way.  He is someone I look up to. He is a warm, generous and giving person. I knew about the Four Seasons, but was not aware of the amount of hits they had. We are pretty good friends today.  We speak every few weeks and shoot the breeze. We spoke about the death of his daughter. His step daughter also died the same year. Frankie lost his hearing that year as well. He spoke about how Frank Sinatra, stepped in and helped him get the operation that saved his other ear.

 

DID FRANKIE MENTOR YOU IN THE ROLE?:  He gave me the artistic background... where he came from, and how to sing the songs with the correct meaning behind the songs. He taught me the ideas about it all. There is a voice teacher, Katie, who trains the Frankie's around the world.  She gave me the technique and longevity to play the role. 

 

IS IT HARD TO PLAY THIS ROLE VOCALLY?:  I have gotten to the point now that my voice has become strong enough that I can take anything that you throw at it and I am ok.

It is difficult playing this role In Las Vegas; it is dry and I now have allergies because of the environment.  It is a real challenge getting used to performing here. My first year was very tough doing 6 shows a week and trying to acclimate to such a dry climate. It was a learning process. The role has a three octave range, so it is difficult with Vegas throat. I actually had to stay out for a while. You have to know when you can't do it.

 

HAVE YOU SEEN FRANKIE PERFORM LIVE?:  Yes and he is great. 76 years old and he still does it… His voice is tremendous. He keeps himself in great shape.

 

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?: It has been a great 2 and a half year run, a great platform and great door of opportunity.  I have also branched out and I am doing a, “One Man Show’ where I sing and dance and do what I like to do. I am not rushing to go anywhere, I am having a great time.

 

HOW DO YOU KEEP THE ROLE FRESH AND VIBRANT?: I love the part and it is such a challenge. I could probably play this role for 10 years and never get to the bottom of it. There is so much to do and so much depth to it, both from the acting and the singing. I am such a perfectionist; I want to get things as good as I can get them. The story and drama of the show sometimes sparks something in my own life which carries over. Reality and drama sometimes meet in the middle. It triggers real emotions and memories. It is normal; it is all part of acting.

 

WHAT ARE THE HARDEST SONGS TO SING?:  It is hard to say because there are songs that are hard for different reasons.  “Sherry”, “Big Girls don't Cry” and “Walk Like a Man”, are difficult because they are stratospheric falsetto. They are a difficult kind of animal. You go between a belt voice to a head voice.  It is difficult to ride that. In the second act, you have, “Can't Take My Eyes off of You” and “Working My Way Back to You”, which are right at the top of your belt range, which affects your voice the most and tires your voice the most. That can be a real challenge sometimes, especially because it comes at the end of the show. You really have to be in shape and at the top of your game when you get to those songs because they will eat you alive.

 

WHEN DID YOU START PERFORMING?:  I started dancing when I was 4 years old and singing for real at 12, when I started my first Broadway show.

 

ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT THE JERSEY BOYS?:  They are, They just announced in the past couple of weeks that the film rights were bought. In the next year and a half to two years it will be filmed.

 

WHO IS PLAYING FRANKIE?: No one has any idea who is playing who. That is something I am not even thinking about. The chips are going to fall where they fall. If it happens great; if it doesn't, that’s just one of those things.

 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT WE DID NOT DISCUSS?:  Well, I have a “One Man Show” at the South Point Casino Showroom called, “Songs My Idols Sang ( And Danced”)… I, also, have a film that I shot this past summer called, “Virgin Alexander”, coming out in the spring 2011.

 

THANK YOU RICK,  YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION!!!!

 

 

 

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