June 27, 2011

Jersey Boys National Tour’s Return Rocks Cleveland!

June 27th, 2011

Jersey Boys LogoThe JERSEY BOYS national tour’s return to Playhouse Square in Cleveland is getting the thumbs-up from critics & bloggers! Check out excerpts from the first reviews:

Andrea Simakis, The Plain Dealer: There is a moment in “Jersey Boys,” the gleeful musical creation myth about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that opened Friday to a packed house at the State Theatre, that just might take your breath away…As staged, the meeting marks the first time the four sing together, and the way their voices tentatively meet, mingle and finally build to that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sound is electrifying.

Though the actors have performed the number night after night, in city after city — Steve Gouveia, who plays Massi with an infectious, just-between-you-and-me drollness, was in the original Broadway cast, and Joseph Leo Bwarie has been “Sherrrrrry bay-yay-bee-ing” for nearly four years as Valli — they manage to make the all-important scene feel organic. It’s as though they were experiencing the potent chemistry for the first time.

That sort of freshness is unexpected in a show as well-known to audiences as “Jersey Boys.” As of this spring, the Tony- and Grammy-winning 2005 Broadway smash had been seen by 12.5 million people, grossing more than $1 billion worldwide. (Northeast Ohio fans are responsible for $7.7 million of that take, thanks to a record-breaking run here in 2008.)

Tuned In To Pop Culture Blog: Friday evening’s audience especially enjoyed “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” performed by Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie Valli. After he finished, the crowd gave him a semi-standing ovation. I’ve never seen a mid-performance reaction quite like that. Bwarie himself looked somewhat taken aback by the reaction, but allowed the crowd to applaud before continuing the performance.

My favorite parts of the show include the Four Seasons’ TV appearances, which are filmed and projected on a big screen behind them – how neat! I also love the group’s big stage performance: The clever use of bright lights puts the audience on stage with the Four Seasons, seeing exactly what they would have seen.

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