The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

21/11/2020 - 30/01/2021

Production Details


Audiences will be humming the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons this summer as global sensation Jersey Boys takes over Christchurch’s Court Theatre.

Making its South Island premiere, this worldwide sensation tells the rise and fall of hit 1960s band, The Four Seasons, famous for hit songs Sherry; Big Girls Don’t Cry and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

Described as a “musical-mentary” by director Stephen Robertson, this spectacular show goes behind the music, charting the rise and fall of this legendary band, characters communicating directly with the audience as their journey unfolds.

Described as “too good to be true,” with Four Tony Awards and a string of five-star reviews to its name, this showstopping musical is set to be the show of the summer, running from 21 November – 23 January, with the first three weeks of performances almost sold-out!

With a talented crew of local actors and musicians, all aspects of this show have been produced on-site at The Court, from the construction of the set to the outfits and wigs that each character wears.

Jersey Boys is staged with a small but hugely versatile cast who get to showcase their vocal, dancing and acting ability,” explains Robertson. “It will be spectacular, with a live band onstage throughout, adding to the energy of the production with the wonderful music.”

The Court’s Jersey Boys will be played by a cast of incredible local performers, including internationally renowned Rocky Horror Show star, Kristian Lavercombe. Having returned home due to Covid-19, Lavercombe is famous for over 1,800 performances as Riff-Raff, including the West End and Cinema live productions!

“I’ve performed in Rocky Horror more than anyone in its 47-year history. It has become a part of me and I adore it!” explains Lavercombe. “However, there is nothing more exciting than learning a show that you haven’t done before, getting to know a new character, new music and a new cast.”

Kristian’s fellow crooners will be played by Isaac Pawson as songwriter Bob Gaudio (known for his role as Tick in Showbiz Christchurch’s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert); Fergus Inder as trouble-maker Tommy DeVito (Jesus Christ Superstar; Chicago) and Cameron Douglas as bass player Nick Massi (an original cast member of That Bloody Woman).

“Frankie Valli’s story is an absolute rollercoaster. Those men did some amazing things with their lives – but also made some awful mistakes along the way,” says Lavercombe. “It’s a true story that’s told warts and all. Combine that with some of the most iconic music of the 20th Century and it’s a win-win situation!”

Described as having the best collection of pop-hits since Mamma Mia, audiences can expect stunning renditions of Walk Like a Man; My Eyes Adored You; Beggin’ and Who Loves You to name just a few.

With theatres around the world closing their doors, bringing this musical to life during Covid-19 is a bold decision, but The Court’s Chief Executive, Barbara George, assures The Court is confidently forging ahead with Covid plans in place.

“Safety measures have been planned in case we move up in Alert Levels, with our key priority to protect our patrons and our teams,” she explains. “It’s been a difficult year and we’re so excited to bring audiences this joyful musical, with a Plan B in place, if need be.”

“We feel so fortunate to be getting back to what we do best,” adds The Court’s Artistic Director Dan Pengelly. “Creating world-class theatre right here in Ōtautahi.”

“In this post-Covid world, this production is a big investment of faith,” Robertson notes. “However, we are extremely lucky to be able to bring this production to New Zealand audiences and give our talent employment during such uncertain times.”

Lavercombe counts himself as one of those lucky performers, saying “I think Covid has given everyone the occasion to rethink what is truly important to them. Being in lockdown made us realise how essentialcommunity is for our happiness and sanity. Theatre gives us an opportunity to come together and share a combined experience. There aren’t too many places where we can do that anymore, so we must encourage all Kiwis to rediscover this experience – because nurturing our theatres also nurtures our society.”

Jersey Boys
The Court Theatre
21 November 2020 – 30 January 2021.
Monday & Thursday 6:30pm
● Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat 7:30pm
Forum 6:30pm Monday 30 November
Matinee Performances 2pm Saturday 12 December & Saturday 9 January
Adult $81 – $86
Senior $74 – $79
Supporter $69 – $74
Group (6+) $65
Community Services or KiwiAble Leisure cardholders $50
30 Below (aged 30 & under – limited numbers) $30
Bookings: phone 03 963 0870 or visit

Frankie Valli:  Kristian Lavercombe
Bob Gaudio:  Isaac Pawson
Tommy DeVito:  Fergus Inder
Nick Massi:  Cameron Douglas
Frankie Valli Understudy/Others:  Josh Johnson
Bob Crewe:  Nick Purdie
Gyp DeCarlo/Others:  Jack Marshall
Mary Delgado/Others:  Monique Clementson
Lorraine/Others:  Jane Leonard
Francine/Others:  Nomi Cohen
Female Cover/Dance Captain:  Hillary Moulder
Norm Waxman/Nick:  DeVito/Others Ben Freeth
Joey/Others:  Tom Worthington
Barry Belson/Others:  Lewis Frances
Charlie Calello/Others:  Jake Byrom

Musical Director/Keyboard 1:  Richard Marrett
Bass:  Michael Story
Guitar 1:  Michael Ferrar
Guitar 2:  Heather Webb
Drums Mitchell:  Thomas
Keyboard 2/Keyboard 1 Cover:  Caelan Thomas
Keyboard 2 Cover:  Kimberley Wood

Director/Choreographer/Costume Designer:  Stephen Robertson
Musical Director:  Richard Marrett
Set Designer:  Harold Moot
Sound Designer:  Tane Hipango
Lighting Designer:  Grant Robertson
AV Designer:  Dave Spark
Wig Stylist:  Sarah Greenwood Buchanan
Stage Manager:  Erica Browne 

Theatre , Musical ,

A wonderfully life-enhancing production

Review by Tony Ryan 22nd Nov 2020

Wow! . . . . . . just . . . WOW!  

Court Theatre’s 2020-21 summer show, Jersey Boys, never misses a beat. After two-and-a-half hours we are all on our feet, spontaneously and vociferously showing our appreciation for this exceptional opening night performance of a stunningly effective show. 

The depth of talent on the Court Theatre stage tonight is simply astonishing. Who needs Broadway or the West End? As a doyen of New Zealand theatre in tonight’s audience said to me, “This production is far better than the one I saw in the States some years ago.”

If Kristian Lavercombe’s incarnation of the Four Seasons’ frontman, Frankie Valli, is a tour-de-force of characterisation and vocal brilliance, several other ensemble members demonstrate talents that could equally fulfil the demands of such a role, most notably Lewis Francis and Ben Freeth, both of whom contribute hugely impressive vocal qualities in their occasional opportunities to do so.

And the three other members of The Four Seasons line-up are easily a match for Lavercombe’s leading-man dominance. Isaac Pawson, Fergus Inder and Cameron Douglas complete a quartet of singers whose musicianship, harmonic blend and tonal opulence is effortlessly captivating, and would be hard to beat anywhere in the world.

As Jersey Boys is the story of the members of The Four Seasons, the female parts in this show get little opportunity to shine, although the (slightly contrived) appearance of a supporting vocal trio (Monique Clementson, Jane Leonard, Nomi Cohen) brings an effective and welcome contrast to the male quartet. The women in this story are otherwise relegated to representing the long-suffering wives and girlfriends of the group, all of whom they play with effective and, often, affecting skill. The other cast members also bring convincing individuality to a wide variety of characters.

Director Stephen Robertson has truly outdone himself in this production. If the show has all the usual Robertson hallmarks of polished professionalism, visual impact and stylish design, it also has a beating heart. In Jersey Boys his actors are given the freedom to develop real and believable personalities to whom we can respond emotionally and share in their successes, failures and tragedies. Sometimes Robertson can polish the life out of a show but here we are given the full, life-enhancing humanity that makes this production of Jersey Boys something very special indeed.

The director’s extensive and notable abilities as a choreographer and costume designer are also very much in evidence, especially with a cast in which every single member is able to carry off the considerable demands of his colourful and inventive imagination with aplomb. Robertson is more than ably supported by a creative team whose abilities add considerably to the effectiveness and ‘heart’ of the show. Harold Moot’s seemingly simple but cleverly varied set design contributes ideally to the flow and continuity, while Grant Robertson’s subtle yet atmospheric lighting enables both cast and director to fully realise their aims. Dave Spark’s AV contributions are also notable, especially in the black-and-white projections of the group’s first television appearance and, later, on The Ed Sullivan Show. And Sarah Greenwood Buchanan’s wigs are quite a special feature of the show’s 1960s stylisation.

The show itself is a winner! If the list of thirty-four songs in the programme looks dauntingly excessive, not one fails to hit its mark in the context of the story and, especially, when the performances are so outstanding and engaging.

Not many of the songs are performed complete, of course, but all are used in a way that reflect and enhance the story of The Four Seasons and the stories of the group’s individual members. And to those of us whose teenage years coincided with the appearance of such hits as ‘Sherry’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Walk Like A Man’ and so many more, a show like Jersey Boys has enormous added appeal, especially when, unlike the similar use of a well-known group’s hits in Mama Mia, the songs are used to tell their creators’ story. In Act II, the tantalising build-up to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ ends with a heart-rending release in a performance of such charismatic potency that it’s worth the ticket price alone.

Throughout this production, the on-stage band, enhanced by Glen Ruske’s vivid, well-judged sound design and led by Richard Marrett, is no mere accompanist. All six members are superb musicians and every song benefits from their total involvement, technical wizardry and musical refinement. In the centre of the group, drummer Mitchell Thomas provides such tight, unifying and diverse rhythmic leadership that it’s almost as if he’s the heartbeat of the whole show. 

The Four Seasons’ lyric writer, Bob Crewe, is acknowledged in the programme but almost totally ignored in the show itself. And if we’d got to know Frankie’s daughter, Francine, before her late introduction into the plot, we might have shared his grief at her death more deeply. But whatever minor flaws in this brilliantly conceived show and Court Theatre’s wonderfully life-enhancing production of it, as my wife says as we leave the theatre: “It’s a long time since I’ve enjoyed a performance that much.”

Anyway, with Broadway and West End theatres firmly closed for now, how lucky we are to have this show right on our own doorstep. I’m told tickets are selling fast, so get in now; don’t miss this! And if you live out of town, book your flight today! Such nights in the theatre are rare.


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