I have just returned from Pittsburgh (thanks to a Delta Air Lines fare I simply couldn't refuse!) and I must say that this show is rolling right along and is just as good as ever. I was fortunate to see many new cast members in the roles we have become accustomed to which makes it new and exciting for this veteran fan.
Graham Fenton assumed his matinee role as Frankie and brought a whole new meaning to the term "matinee idol." His strong suit is clearly singing and he could easily be fronting his own band outside of the show. He plays Frankie a bit rougher than some of the other actors and he was convincing that he could have easily been from the wrong side of the tracks. He had many friends and fans waiting at the stage door and understandably so. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon and his own personal fan club was there to cheer him on. I managed to get in a quick "hello and congratulations on a great job." Strikingly handsome up close but, sorry ladies, he's a newlywed.
Erik Bates was out and Matt Bailey stood in. He gave a strong performance as Tommy. His boyish looks certainly didn't deter from his sneaky underhandedness. He also sported the most perfect pompadour I have ever seen: very neat and not overstated. Not at all like the exaggerated pompadour wig that some actors wear for the gunshot scene. It was slick and fit his character perfectly.
Josh Franklin is the new Gaudio and fits nicely into the ensemble. He certainly has that innocent Gaudio "look" and packed some really good one-liners. He got a good laugh where no other Gaudio has gone regarding the cheap cigar that the sleazeball record producer Al smokes. He brought it back home during his final monologue when he states, "I'm perfectly happy spending my days on a boat with my beautiful wife and a...FINE cigar!" The audience really ate that up and got quite a boisterous laugh. He's a great addition to the cast.
Steve Gouveia was the standout performer in today's show (there's always one you know) and the audience just loved him all around. He garnered a HUGE applause for the Ringo line. which I have never witnessed before. He certainly endeared himself to the Pittsburgh crowd considering it was a matinee and those audiences aren't usually as energetic as the evening crowd.
Christopher DeAngelis was on as Bob Crewe and Ryan Strand assumed Matt Bailey's roles as Handsome Hank and Mika. They both gave fine performances.
Renee Marino is the new Mary and her portrayal spells "Joisey" all the way. It's very clear that she's a true Jersey girl and it shows in the performance. Her Jersey pride is, well...ubiquitous! She blew me a kiss up to the balcony at curtain call and that endeared me to her for life! She's as sweet as she is pretty and an absolute joy at the stage door.
So much for a "brief" review and now I can't wait to see the show again. I'm tempted to head up to Toronto or London but it's just too dang cold right now! Try and catch the Sherry tour if you can. They're headed south in Spring and better than ever!