Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: While visiting relatives in San Diego last Christmas, our group went to see a stage show in La Jolla.

The program that night turned out to be based on the music of the 4 Seasons and included some of their hits in the 1960s.

Much to our surprise, this show turned out to be every bit as good as anything you'd find in New York, on Broadway.

Are any of the real 4 Seasons in this musical? I know Frankie Valli is still performing.

I would also be interested to know if anything ever came of this show, such as moving on up the ladder of success. Or did it just fizzle out?
—Marla Shields, Chicago, Ill.

DEAR MARLA: After sizzling in La Jolla, this show certainly did not fizzle. It climbed the proverbial ladder of success, with the next rung being Broadway's Virginia Theatre.

The production that thrilled you is titled “Jersey Boys,” and is based on a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

You obviously caught “Jersey Boys” at the La Jolla Playhouse, the venue chosen for the show's stage debut. “Jersey Boys” opened there October 4, 2004, and by the time it closed (Sunday, January 16), 120 performances later, it ranked as the longest running production in La Jolla Playhouse history. Much of this year has been spent recasting, all now completed with many changes made since your California visit.

In New York it is John Lloyd Young taking on the role of Valli. This will mark Young's Broadway debut.

David Norona portrayed Frankie Valli in La Jolla.

Besides casting Young as Valli, the three other Seasons in “Jersey Boys” are Christian Hoff as Tommy DeVito, Daniel Reichard as Bob Gaudio, and J. Robert Spencer as the late Nick Massi.

“Jersey Boys,” so titled since the four boys formed in Newark, in 1955, does not include any of the original 4 Seasons as themselves, although Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe are on the creative team. Besides being a group member, Gaudio composed most of their music. Writing partner Bob Crewe is responsible for most of the lyrics heard on the hits of the 4 Seasons.

Opening night at Broadway's Virginia Theatre for “Jersey Boys” is Sunday, November 6.

DEAR JERRY: In the late '70s, a dee jay in Jacksonville played Roy Orbison's version of “Danny Boy.”

I have searched off and online looking for this song, but with zero results.

It must be on an album? Any chance you know which one?
—Bill Zawistowski, Milton, Fla.

DEAR BILL: It is and I do. So too shall you.

“Danny Boy” is one of 11 tracks on Roy's 1972 album, “Memphis” (MGM SE-4867).

Copies of “Memphis,” which does of course include “Memphis, Tennessee,” frequently pop up on eBay for about $15 to $20.

You should have no problem adding “Danny Boy,” a six-minute masterpiece, to your Big O collection.

IZ ZAT SO? Marshall Brickman, “Jersey Boys” co-author, has worked in films as a director, producer, and an actor.

But music lovers will be interested to know that Brickman spent about two years (1963-'65) singing and playing as a member of the Tarriers.

Though the Tarriers worked constantly during the mid-'60s folk music boom, they will always be best remembered for their two Top 10 hits in 1956: “The Banana Boat Song” and “Cindy, Oh Cindy,” the latter with Vince Martin.

By the time Brickman signed on to front the Terriers, two of the original trio had departed for greener pastures. Alan Arkin established himself on stage and in films (“The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming; “Wait Until Dark,” etc.) and Erik

Darling formed the Rooftop Singers, and then topped the charts with “Walk Right In.”

Another Tarrier at that time was Brickman's pal Eric Weissberg — the same “Dueling Banjos” picker heard on the smash hit instrumental from the film “Deliverance.”

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