Jersey boy’s roots stem from NEPA

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First Posted: 11/7/2014

With the buoyant “Jersey Boys” (2014, Warner, PG-13, $30), director Clint Eastwood finds a way to stay true to the hit Broadway show while also digging deeper into the personal lives of Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) and the Four Seasons (Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza).

Before they became chart toppers, the Garden State crooners had run-ins with the police and the mob. Even after they found success, they ran up debts, squabbled over women and suffered personal losses.

So, what’s the local tie? Well, there’s a number of them.

Valli’s mother, who is depicted in the movie, was born and raised in Dunmore and Valli has often spoken about how, when he was growing up, he’d spend summers in NEPA at his grandparents’ house.

He once described his stints in Pennsylvania as “some of the best times of my life.” Valli’s first wife Mary Mandel, who is prominently featured in the film is also, coincidentally, from Northeastern Pennsylvania.

As “Jersey Boys” makes clear, what kept the guys together was the music. And there’s plenty of it from “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man” to later hits like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “My Eyes Adored You.”

At its best, “Jersey Boys” is a powerhouse.