Huge congratulations to Charlotte Griffin in Year 13 for winning the opportunity to attend the press night for ‘New Jersey Nights’ at The Orchard.
Charlotte attended in her capacity as a Young Reporter and beat off many other contenders from students participating in the scheme throughout the London area.
On 2nd January, I was given the opportunity to see New Jersey Nights at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford. The show is performed as a homage to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The show is currently on the U.K. stretch of the world tour; visiting seven well-renowned theatres in 2018, concluding the tour of the U.K. which started in 2017. The show includes many original songs such as Let’s Hang On, Working My Way Back to You and Big Girls Don’t Cry as well as other songs that the Four Seasons found influential at the time. New Jersey Nights has a parallel show, Jersey Boys, which has been on the West End and Broadway and is now touring the world. These two shows are similar in story, however completely different in performance. Where Jersey Boys follows the story of the Four Seasons and their progression through the years, New Jersey Nights acts as more of a tribute towards their music and a celebration of their careers.
New Jersey Nights does not follow a set storyline so the cast does not have definitive roles to play, with all four singers taking the lead vocals on different songs. This means there is more freedom for the cast in how they portray Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The show sees the Four Seasons joined on stage by a three-piece band and six dancers (three men and three women). The dancers also get their time to shine as the women cover Da Do Ron Ron by The Crystals and Be My Baby by The Ronettes. The men also get a larger dance number wherein they are able to showcase their talents. However, the strongest bond on the stage is by far the friendship of the Four Seasons. Even though they are acting/singing up on the stage, there does seem to be a genuine sense of camaraderie between the main members of the cast; Joshua Dever, Adam Dougal, William Hazel and Duncan Heather. This became apparent when a mistake was made on stage – whether it was accidental or written into the show, the singers depicting the Four Seasons shared a moment of true friendship with the audience. This allowed the audience to see how performances would have been with the original Four Seasons up on the stage and how true their friendships were.