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Stephen Mahy, Scott Johnson, Bobby Fox and Glaston Toft. All images: © JEFF BUSBY 2010


The Jersey Boys, by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice

Theatre Royal, Sydney | Tickets currently on sale to 7 November but season very likely extended at least well into next year.

It’s likely the first thing you’ll want to do when you walk out of Sydney’s Theatre Royal after a performance of Jersey Boys, is to walk right back in and see it all over again.

This blockbuster musical opened in Sydney last week after a 14 month sell-out run in Melbourne and all the superlatives rained down on the show since it opened on Broadway in 2005 still don’t seem enough.

Jersey Boys overtakes all its hype. It is more than thrilling, far more than wonderful, better than joyful.

The storyline sweeps you away, the dynamic hit songs of the ’60s have you stamping your feet and clapping your hands, and as for Bobby Fox, the lead who plays Frankie Valli ... well, more about him a minute.

Jersey Boys tells the story of four young blue-collar guys from the wrong side of town who became one of America’s biggest pop sensations.

From the opening scene we follow Valli, Bob Gaudio (Stephen Mahy), Tommy DeVito (Scott Johnson) and Nick Massi (Glaston Toft) as they join forces and go through a series of rejections and name changes until they become The Four Seasons and find overwhelming success.

Mob connections, comic lines, snappy dialogue, stunning choreography and excellent New Jersey accents have the story bubbling along at a cracking pace. And the music ... those much-loved and enduring lyrics draw you irresistibly into each thrilling note of every perfectly performed song, including Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What a Night, Rag Doll and Working My Way Back to You.

The Four Seasons made pop history when they wrote their own songs, created a unique sound with Frankie Valli’s three-octave voice and sold 175 million records — all while they were still in their 20s.

Everyone gives compelling performances, but my eyes adored Bobby Fox playing Frankie Valli. The diminutive star hails from Ireland and has an award-winning background in Irish dance. He captivated the audience with his vibrant performance and powerful presence. As he sang song after song in his pure falsetto voice, I fell hopelessly in crush with him.

 Towards the middle of the second half, with my crush almost out of control, I was certain he’d grown to seven foot. When he sang Can’t Take My Eyes off You it was all I could do to stop myself from leaping up on the stage and on to him.

The stage settings and costume changes were as smooth as liquid chocolate, there were laughs aplenty, many yelps of delight, and towards the end in a particularly poignant scene, lots of sniffles in the packed audience.

Jersey Boys has won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and more than 9 million people around the world have seen the show.

No wonder The New York Post raved “Too good to be true”.

Organisers envisage a long run for the show and the best way for country and interstate fans to enjoy this theatrical coup is to incorporate a Sydney stay.

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth has a luxury package which includes two premium tickets and overnight hotel accommodation priced from $282 per person per night. With a $10 million enhancement program, the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth presents up-to-the-minute facilities while retaining the lasting charm for which it has long been known.

Sofitel’s Garden Court restaurant has a special pre-theatre menu if you want to make a big occasion of it — and you should. A two-course menu, with choices and a glass of wine, costs $45, and as the Theatre Royal is an easy 10-minute walk from the hotel you have plenty of time to enjoy it.

Disclosure: Ann Rickard was a guest of Tourism Australia, Sofitel Luxury Hotels and Jersey Boys.

Above and below: Bobby Fox.

Lisa Adam and Bobby Fox.

Bobby Fox, Stephen Mahy, Scott Johnson and Glaston Toft.

Lisa Adam, Katherine Rodrigues and Verity Hunt-Ballard.