The Strip Sense: Working his way back to you
Frankie Valli gets some Vegas vindication at the premiere of Jersey Boys
It is hard to believe now, especially after the weekend that just was, that only a few years ago Frankie Valli walked out during a three-week contract at the Luxor and was declared by at least one entertainment writer to have essentially ended his association with Las Vegas once and for all.
Hard, that is, because on Saturday the town stood up and cheered as the pipsqueak Italian from New Jersey with the priceless falsetto blew out candles at one of the city’s most elaborate and expensive birthday parties in recent memory.
Move over, Paris and Nicole. The nightclubs, for whatever bizarre reason, may pay you to stand and wave on the anniversaries of your unfortunate arrivals, but would anyone stage a multimillion-dollar Broadway musical based on your life story and then have a major resort-casino time the premiere of it on the Las Vegas Strip just to honor you?
For Valli, there was no question that the moment was immensely gratifying and somewhat unique for Las Vegas. Sinatra, Rickles and Bennett never fell out of favor in such a way as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons seemed to and, thus, never had quite this sort of a spectacular comeback as is seen with the triumphant debut of Jersey Boys at the Palazzo.
Except don’t call it that. Valli’s not having any of this “comeback” nonsense. “Every once in a while when we had a resurgence, in the interviews people would ask, ‘How does it feel to be making a comeback?’ and I would say, ‘I had no idea we left!’” Valli said. “In all the ups and downs, there was never a shortage of work. There’s all the work I wanted.”
Perhaps, but the wonderful Jersey Boys not only returns The Four Seasons to the forefront of the pop-culture scene but also restores our faith in the future of musical theater in Las Vegas. If last week’s column pointed out how Steve Wynn must be driving convention-travel innovator Sheldon Adelson bananas by planning a huge new expo center, this week it must be noted that Wynn must be utterly depressed that his vision for great Broadway theater on the Strip has been realized not by his now-failed picks Avenue Q and Spamalot but by arch-nemesis Adelson’s knockout versions of Phantom and Jersey Boys.
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