August 20, 2011

Jersey Boys Is Captivating In Columbus!

August 20th, 2011

Jersey Boys LogoThe Ohio Theatre hosted a “press night” for its three-week run of JERSEY BOYS, as the national tour sets up shop in Columbus through September 4. Below are sneak peeks of the first two rave reviews:

Michael Grossberg, The Columbus Dispatch: The singing and acting is superb while the staging, orchestrations and design are top-notch in the long-awaited national tour, which finally made its Columbus debut Friday night to applause, laughter and more than a few tears at the Ohio Theatre.

What makes this Broadway hit superior to so many other so-called “jukebox” shows – up to and including Mamma Mia, still the reigning dancing queen of the oft-derided genre – is the emotionally compelling way that co-authors Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman have structured the two acts for maximum drama.

Each of the “boys” narrates his own seasonal section from his perspective, which intriguingly differs from the others.

Because Elice, Brickman and director Des McAnuff make you wait a good while to hear Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man and the other early hits, you come to appreciate first how hard the band members had to work to form their group and pay their dues.

D.A. Steward, Queer Corner: So why then does “Jersey Boys” still rock the house in 2011? Again, it goes back to a cliché. Brilliant storytelling will always pay.

Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s Tony-nominated book breaths new life into the Bob Gaudio music and Bob Crewe lyrics that made The Four Seasons legends. Brickman and Elice perfectly build the first act, filled with the ruckus behind Four Seasons originator Tommy DeVito’s (Matt Bailey) shady tactics, toward that first hit that finally put the quartet on the map. When Joseph Leo Bwarie (Frankie Valli) sings the last note of “Sherry” the crowd erupts with satisfaction. Brickman and Elice somehow transports you back to 1962, it’s as if you’re actually watching the group “make it” in real time.

Bailey, Bwarie, Steve Gouveia (Nick Massi) and Quinn Vanantwerp (Gaudio) are a harmonizing dream team as the four leading men. It’s as if Valli’s signature falsetto was transplanted into Bwarie’s vocal chords.

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