July 23, 2011

Jersey Boys Is Marvelous at the Marcus Center!

July 23rd, 2011

Jersey Boys LogoThe JERSEY BOYS national tour production is rockin’ in Milwaukee! Check out excerpts from the first two reviews:

Mike Fischer, JSOnline.com: “Jersey Boys” succeeds because Des McAnuff – one of the most talented directors of his generation – has always understood that no matter how good the music is, it must also tell a story.

The Four Seasons’ hardscrabble lives – featuring jail time, mob connections, broken marriages and hard-earned lessons about loyalty and friendship – provide plenty of material, and “Jersey Boys” weaves it into the very fabric of their songs, giving the music a compelling, driven quality.

So do the four leads, led by a galvanic performance from Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie, whose wailing falsetto charges high notes before hitting them, reflecting a man for whom each day marks a new battle to prove he belongs where he is going, even as his haunted eyes remain focused on where he is from.

Matt Bailey’s Tommy persuasively embodies that past – from his swaggering efforts to walk like a man to the shucking and jiving that repeatedly confirm he’ll always be a punk. As Nick and Bob, Steve Gouveia and Quinn VanAntwerp enrich the harmonies and the story, offering deadpan humor and a lighter touch.

That blend is one of the hallmarks of Marshall Brickman’s and Rick Elice’s book, which can be both very funny and incredibly sad, in a show with a range extending far beyond the sounds made by Valli’s unearthly voice.

Matthew Reddin, ThirdCoastDigest.com: And the crowd goes mad.

Beyond the music, this show is funny. Laughter-and-applause-stop-the-show funny. Hilarious.

It’s funny in ways you wouldn’t expect, because going in you don’t really know these Jersey boys. The image of The Four Seasons for most people is the one flashing on screens during television commercials for Jersey Boys: Four guys in smart suits with a little flash, all the edges smoothed right out.

That’s not them. They’re working class. They worked for those suits. They’re smart-asses with a gritty side. The show’s plot reminds us of the Four Seasons’ roots, but the comedic edge prevents the show from becoming a “behind-the-artist” special.

Jersey Boys is a hit because it reminds us of two simple facts: The Four Seasons were a really cool group. And they still are.

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