Play by play: September 18, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  September 17, 2009

JERSEY BOYS | Those would be the Four Seasons, four boys from Newark who in the early '60s gave us "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk like a Man," "Candy Girl," "Dawn," and "Rag Doll." And with its tale of internecine loyalty and resentment among a hardscrabble quartet from the industrial badlands near Newark and its irresistibly tight white-boy harmonies, the 2006 Tony-winning musical chronicling the rise, fall, and resurrection of the prolific pop group is a well-put-together and well-executed if schematic affair that is head, shoulders, and string ties above most jukebox musicals. What's more, the lavish touring edition serves up a knock-your-socks-off quartet who really do sound like the Four Seasons, from Joseph Leo Bwarie's channeling of Frankie Valli's unearthly falsetto to Steve Gouveia's gargling of the goofy bass interpolations of "silly girl" into "Big Girls Don't Cry." Tony winner (for Big River and The Who's Tommy) Des McAnuff directs. | Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St, Boston | 866.348.9738 | Through September 26 | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm Sun | $49-$99

KISS ME, KATE | Why does this swell 1948 Cole Porter musical turn up so seldom? It's got a better-than-average-for-a-musical plot (theater company tries to stage a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew while the divorced husband and wife who're playing Petruchio and Kate flaunt their new sweeties) and a ton of great numbers like "Too Darn Hot" (but will the original "According to the Kinsey Report" line get reinstated?) and "Wunderbar" and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" and "Tom, Dick, or Harry." No Ann Miller in this Lyric Stage Company of Boston production, but credit artistic director Spiro Veloudos for taking it on. | 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through October 10 | Curtain 2 pm [September 30] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$54

MISTER ROBERTS | New Repertory Theatre's 2009–2010 season starts with something old: this 1948 Tony-winning comedy/drama by Thomas Heggen and Josh Logan based on Heggen's novel about his experiences in the South Pacific in World War II. Our heroes are aboard a backwater cargo ship that's not going much of anywhere. Junior grade lieutenant Doug Roberts would like to see some action, but he's kept busy defending his crew from the tyrannical Captain Morton and trying to keep his friend Ensign Pulver out of trouble. Thomas Piper, Paul D. Farwell, and Jonathan Popp star in the roles played by Henry Fonda, James Cagney, and Jack Lemmon in the 1955 film; Kate Warner directs. | Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | 617.923.8487 | Through October 3 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed [September 30] | 2 pm [September 17] + 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3:30 pm [no September 19] + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7:30 pm [no evening September 20] Sun | $35-$54; $7 discount seniors; half-price students

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