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Act II

June 28, 2010

I attended Jersey Boys the other night.  After its awkward opening—oddly daring to turn off its audience a la “Springtime for Hitler” in The Producers—it proved to be entertaining.

I went with a large group—some friends and their coworkers.  We sat amongst the rafters and spotlight operators.  One of the more mature fellows was afraid that younger members of our group wouldn’t know the music of the Four Seasons.  I am pop-music impaired; I can never match songs with their respective artists or ensembles.  I can say with absolute certainty, though, if one has attended a white person’s wedding reception in the last thirty years, then one knows the songs of the Four Seasons.

Jersey Boys put the music of the Four Seasons in context with an engaging history of the band.  I enjoy music more when it tells a story; it gives me an emotional handhold to grab onto.  I doubt I’ll never hear “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You,” without smiling now.  (Although I appear to have missed Heath Ledger giving the song new life in 10 Things I Hate about You.)

Some in my group liked the first act of Jersey Boys better than the second.  True.  That’s common for musicals, I think.  The first act immerses you in the lives and worlds of characters.  Then some tragedy befalls them in the second act.  I’m tempted to leave after the first act of Fiddler on the Roof whenever I see it.

The gloomy second act is also a common theme of the get rich movie story.  I hate that.  Why can’t people get rich and be happy?  Why do they always end up miserable?  Gone with the Wind, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Funny Girl—the heroine becomes rich and famous but is lonely and crying by the end of the movie.  Suffering through the miserable conclusions of these stories was a running theme of my childhood.  I was voracious for get-rich tales, but inevitably I was disturbed and depressed by the ending.

Annie was the only one (recalled in a moment’s reflection) who pulled it off.  She got rich and she was happy.  She bounced back from the news of deceased parents and merrily tap danced on the steps of Shadow Lawn Mansion.  That’s the way my life story is going to end.  Tap dancing.  I’ll need to take some lessons in that.

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One comment

  1. I, too, was shocked that I enjoyed the show so much. Maybe it was all the F-bombs dropped that made me feel so comfortable? I can tell you that at the intermission, I thought it was going to be the longest musical in history if the second act was as long at the first. Then, I looked at the program. Whew!



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