Kennedy Center stages Four Seasons jukebox musical ‘Jersey Boys’

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Jersey Boys' at Kennedy Center (Part 1)

The Tony Awards may be over, but another hit Tony winner is making its way to D.C.

The acclaimed jukebox musical “Jersey Boys,” which won Best Musical on Broadway in 2004, arrives at the Kennedy Center on Tuesday and runs through June 26.

“Jersey Boys” tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and “how these four guys that grew up in Belleville, New Jersey, through trials and tribulations, become one of the best-selling rock ‘n roll bands of all time,” Jon Hacker told WTOP.

Hacker plays lead vocalist Frankie Valli, who formed the band with Tommy DeVito on guitar and Nick Massi on bass before adding keyboardist and songwriting genius Bob Gaudio.

“When they first came on the scene, they had what they called The Big Three of No. 1 hits, which everyone knows: ‘Sherry,’ ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ and ‘Walk Like a Man,'” Hacker said. “Then you hear iconic songs at the end like … ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.’ When my parents came to see the show, they said, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize they sang these songs!”

By the end, the audience will be dancing along to “December 1963 (Oh What a Night).”

“Honestly, that’s when the audience starts standing up and they start clapping and they realize that, wait, this is a little bit more of a concert at the end!”

It’s no easy task capturing Valli’s signature falsetto, but Hacker is game for it. He said his “great parents” raised him on The Four Seasons, as well as The Beach Boys and The Beatles” — great bands with great falsettos,” he said. “So I grew up trying to emulate guys like Brian Wilson and Frankie Valli. I started to act in my younger days and get into musical theater. Once I found ‘Jersey Boys,’ I was like, ‘This is the perfect show for me.'”

In 2016, Hacker joined the Broadway production to play the role of Joe Pesci, a real-life childhood friend of DeVito before he became an actor.

We see not only recreations of 1960s New Jersey but vibrant suits.

“They were known for having these immaculate suits, big ties, tie bars — they were just gentlemen and always groomed perfectly, so our costumes mirror that,” Hacker said. “People come to see the beautiful costumes and sets. We have a beautiful LED wall that just shows these great graphics from each decade going through the years. It’s amazing.”

Most creatively, the show is broken into four seasons told from each guy’s perspective.

“The costumes, colors and sets change with the seasons,” Hacker said. “Tommy DeVito is spring; Bob Gaudio is summer; Nick Massi is fall, and Frankie Valli is winter, and it all just culminates at the end when they all come to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame together.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Jersey Boys' at Kennedy Center (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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