MEMORY LANE – Capturing the magic of many classic hits

Classic show pays tribute to legendary group

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons’s hits featured

Fans of the enduring classics won’t want to miss OH WHAT A NIGHT! A Musical Tribute To Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons set for Oct. 27 at the Memorial Centre.

It’s an exciting musical revue written by Motown producer and creative consultant George Solomon, directed by Michael Chapman with choreography by Paul Holmquist.

Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, My Eyes Adored You, Working My Way Back To You, Let’s Hang On and Who Loves You are just some of the hits audiences will enjoy from the songbook of those boys from Jersey – Frankie Vallie & the Four Seasons.

“We put this show together in the fall of 2008,” said Solomon, during an interview from his office in Los Angeles. “It’s all about the songs, and it’s done in a humorous way. You also get to know the four characters onstage. The audience also starts to really like the four individuals, and when the show is over they know their names.”

There are no big splashy special effects – just the power of the music, which is more than enough, he added. “It’s been crafted so well, you get really into it. You don’t need anything else but those four guys.”

Solomon describes himself as a huge fan of Valli, and recalls his older siblings listening to his tunes all the time.

“Even as a kid, (I found) his songs so catchy, and his voice was so accessible and irresistible. I find that even now when we have kids under 10 in the audience, they love this show. They come up to us afterwards, talking about how they love these songs, and how they listened to the words.”

These days, there are more than 50 guys divided into teams of four performing the show world-wide.

It’s a challenge to find the right performers, as producers aren’t just looking for one guy to ‘play’ Valli. “All four guys sing lead; all four are featured. You need four guys who can sing, have good comedy timing, who are good dancers and good actors on top of all of that, too.”

While the smash hit Jersey Boys is a musical biography of the group, OH WHAT A NIGHT! A Musical Tribute To Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons is a concert and tribute, which features all the original hits as well as top 10 releases not in Broadway’s Tony award-winning hit. This includes Valli’s biggest solo hit from the blockbuster movie Grease.

“I don’t think there is anybody, of any age, who doesn’t know that song. It was the very biggest hit of Frankie Valli’s solo career,” said Solomon, who is virtually a veteran performer having begun his professional career at age 15. While in New York City, he appeared in many theatrical productions and in a short time went onto receive a ‘Drama Critics Award for Best Actor’ in Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn.

Scouted by an ABC TV executive who prompted him to move to the west coast, Solomon landed a lead in the show Stars on 45, which went on to be filmed and released by Universal MCA. This led to a role in the critically-acclaimed musical Dream Street for which he was the recipient of the Las Vegas Entertainment Personality of the Year Award.

He was later spotted by Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., leading to an ongoing association with Emmy Award winning producer Suzanne Depasse.

Solomon was also asked to create a live production with Smokey Robinson.

The series Motown Review also gave Solomon the chance to perform with and for a variety of stars including Diana Ross, Bill Cosby, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Liza Minnelli among others.

“The only one that ever really left me speechless – think I stammered – was when I was face to face with Lucille Ball. She’s such a figure of our imagination from television, you just can’t believe she’s standing in front of you.”

In 1990, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To this day their music continues to thrill all ages. To that end, the cast of the show stay true to the recordings without trying to mimic or impersonate the group.

As for the songs’ enduring appeal, Solomon credits the songwriting finesse and Valli’s unique voice with much of its legendary nature.

“I think it’s the way the songs were crafted. I see them as little stories, and I think they had amazingly catchy hooks to them. If you hear one of the songs once, you can sing it – the melody would be in your head and the harmonies are so pleasing to the ear. And Frankie’s voice – that instantly recognizable voice.”

The musical revue that organizers say has been captivating audiences with its choreography, boundless energy, humour and, of course, pop songs that have become timeless.

“It’s a feel-good show with great music and great performers. It’s family friendly – something you can definitely bring the kids too. It’s ageless.”

For tickets, call the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre at 403-755-6626 or visit www.blackknightinn.ca.

editor@reddeerexpress.com

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