When someone begins to belt out the words of “I love you baby, and if it’s quite alright I need you baby, to warm a lonely night,” many millennials would be mistaken for crediting the song to Heath Ledger, from his romantic gesture scene in the 1999 film, 10 Things I Hate About You.
But the iconic song, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, actually dates back to 1967 and was originally written for and performed by Frankie Valli, the lead singer of The Four Seasons – a ‘60s rock group made up of four mismatched men from New Jersey.
The quartet’s journey is chronicled in the musical, Jersey Boys, currently playing in Sydney, bringing to life many of their No. 1 hits from the ‘60s.
From a shy teenage boy living in Newark, Francesco Stephen Castelluccio went on to become Frankie Valli, with his four-octave vocal range wowing audiences around the globe.
The musical tells the story of the group’s origin, struggles and success and felt like I was being taken on a trip back through time. The casting choices, for Valli in particular, with his classic New Joy-sey accent, made me feel as though I was listening to the real deal during The Four Seasons’ heyday,
In his solo career, Valli was responsible for the hit song Grease – made popular by the movie of the same name, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.
Portraying the role of Valli was Ryan Gonzalez, who could easily be mistaken for the star himself, alongside Cameron McDonald as hit song-writer Tommy DeVito, with rising star Thomas McGuane as youngest member Bob Gaudio and Glaston Toft as Nick Massi.
Together, the quartet performed many of the groups popular songs including Walk Like a Man, Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry which made it incredibly hard not to get up and dance!
As a huge fan of Valli, I was listening to Spotify’s Four Seasons playlist for days after the show.
One thing that’s for sure, is that the pop and rock stars of today, simply don’t make music like they did in New Joysey.
Jersey Boys is playing at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre until Dec. 16 before the show heads to Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre for from Jan. 2 – 20. Purchase tickets here.