Audiences will be humming the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons this summer as global sensation Jersey Boys takes over Christchurch’s Court Theatre.
Making its South Island premiere, this worldwide sensation tells the rise and fall of hit 1960s band, The Four Seasons, famous for hit songs Sherry; Big Girls Don’t Cry and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.
Described as a “musical-mentary” by director Stephen Robertson, this spectacular show goes behind the music, charting the rise and fall of this legendary band, characters communicating directly with the audience as their journey unfolds.
Described as “too good to be true,” with Four Tony Awards and a string of five-star reviews to its name, this showstopping musical is set to be the show of the summer, running from 21 November – 23 January, with the first three weeks of performances almost sold-out!
With a talented crew of local actors and musicians, all aspects of this show have been produced on-site at The Court, from the construction of the set to the outfits and wigs that each character wears.
“Jersey Boys is staged with a small but hugely versatile cast who get to showcase their vocal, dancing and acting ability,” explains Robertson. “It will be spectacular, with a live band onstage throughout, adding to the energy of the production with the wonderful music.”
The Court’s Jersey Boys will be played by a cast of incredible local performers, including internationally renowned Rocky Horror Show star, Kristian Lavercombe.
Having returned home due to Covid-19, Lavercombe is famous for over 1,800 performances as Riff-Raff, including the West End and Cinema live productions!
“I’ve performed in Rocky Horror more than anyone in its 47-year history. It has become a part of me and I adore it!” explains Lavercombe. “However, there is nothing more exciting than learning a show that you haven’t done before, getting to know a new character, new music and a new cast.”
Kristian’s fellow crooners will be played by Isaac Pawson as songwriter Bob Gaudio (known for his role as Tick in Showbiz Christchurch’s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert); Fergus Inder as trouble-maker Tommy DeVito (Jesus Christ Superstar; Chicago) and Cameron Douglas as bass player Nick Massi (an original cast member of That Bloody Woman).
“Frankie Valli’s story is an absolute rollercoaster. Those men did some amazing things with their lives – but also made some awful mistakes along the way,” says Lavercombe. “It’s a true story that’s told warts and all. Combine that with some of the most iconic music of the 20th Century and it’s a win-win situation!”
Described as having the best collection of pop-hits since Mamma Mia, audiences can expect stunning renditions of Walk Like a Man; My Eyes Adored You; Beggin’ and Who Loves You to name just a few.
With theatres around the world closing their doors, bringing this musical to life during Covid-19 is a bold decision, but The Court’s Chief Executive, Barbara George, assures The Court is confidently forging ahead with Covid plans in place.
“Safety measures have been planned in case we move up in Alert Levels, with our key priority to protect our patrons and our teams,” she explains. “It’s been a difficult year and we’re so excited to bring audiences this joyful musical, with a Plan B in place, if need be.”
“We feel so fortunate to be getting back to what we do best,” adds The Court’s Artistic Director Dan Pengelly. “Creating world-class theatre right here in Ōtautahi.”
“In this post-Covid world, this production is a big investment of faith,” Robertson notes. “However, we are extremely lucky to be able to bring this production to New Zealand audiences and give our talent employment during such uncertain times.”
Lavercombe counts himself as one of those lucky performers, saying “I think Covid has given everyone the occasion to rethink what is truly important to them. Being in lockdown made us realise how essential community is for our happiness and sanity. Theatre gives us an opportunity to come together and share a combined experience. There aren’t too many places where we can do that anymore, so we must encourage all Kiwis to rediscover this experience – because nurturing our theatres also nurtures our society.”