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October 30, 2008

Joseph Leo Bwarie–The Role of a Lifetime in Jersey Boys!

October 30th, 2008

Joseph Leo Bwarie
Photo by Joan Marcus.

Stephen Johns of Torontoist.com has a terrific story on Joseph Leo Bwarie! According to Johns, Bwarie doesn’t walk into a room, he bounces in. Maybe that’s because he is living a dream, having worked his way into the enviable position of doing exactly what he loves best for a living. For him, playing Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys has been a year-long odyssey which has taken Bwarie all across the United States (and included extended layovers in San Francisco and Las Vegas) before bringing him to Toronto for three months. It’s also the culmination of a lifelong journey which began with Bwarie and his brother, John, putting on shows in their parents’ living room back in Los Angeles.

Reflecting on playing the legendary Valli, Bwarie states,
“You never want to do an impersonation unless you’re doing an impersonation. [Jersey Boys] is capturing the essence of a man, the life of a man, and not just bringing to it the glamorous, successful rock n’ roll star portion of his life.”

Read the entire article on Torontoist.com.

42 Comments »

  1. I saw this talented guy perform for the first time in Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas this summer with a couple from Chicago and WOW…we can’t wait to see Joseph again in the very near future…you absolutely rocked the house in TX!

    Comment by NewJerseyLasagna — October 30, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

  2. I got to see Joseph in Dallas and then got to meet and chat with him at the stage door. What a great talent and nice guy. He really has the Valli sound and I can’t wait for the opportunity to see him in the role again. Congrats to Joseph!

    Comment by GLADYS MARLIN — October 31, 2008 @ 7:20 am

  3. I had the chance to meet Bwarie in Vegas and experienced that bounce the writer speaks about; I still need to see him onstage in the role of Frankie, though, and it can’t come soon enough!

    On a separate note…
    Seeing JLB pictured handsomely in a suit, I always wondered what these Frankie’s think when they pursue acting and end up wearing a suit a good portion of their ‘work day’. Just not what you envision as an actor, I’m guessing.

    Comment by Audrey — October 31, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

  4. JLB was AMAZING in the Toronto production. I went twice in one week to the show (had to take my mom after hubby took me for our wedding anniversary) — Joseph was the reason we had to go back.

    While I am sure the new crew will do this story justice, Joseph Leo Bwarie made this production better than the one on Broadway.

    Bravo.

    Comment by Jody Vance — November 27, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

  5. Saw:”Jersey Boys” matinee yesterday in FLL. How could Broadway outclass this guy? He splits, knee slides to sing and the vocal range! He makes the production which is too too terrific! What energy!

    Comment by John F, Rouse — April 27, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  6. P.S. Singing:”Fallen Angel” tells it all; every success to this great talented performer!!

    Comment by John F, Rouse — April 27, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  7. Joseph-
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You were terrific! Saw you 5/19 in Orlando for my anniversary. What a perfect evening! I will seek you out in the future. You have the best voice I have heard on stage in years and I go to Broadway every year! My husband is SAG and Equity and currently teaches so he is very informed and up-to-date. He loved you too. What a performance!!!
    Cathy Colangelo

    Comment by Cathy Colangelo — May 20, 2009 @ 8:26 am

  8. Joseph – just saw you Tuesday, June 16th in Jersey Boys in Atlanta. What a great job! Fantastic! My friends and I loved the show.

    Comment by Barbara — June 18, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  9. Joseph – We were front row in Raleigh NC yesterday. Show was AWESOME! I carried my 83 yr. old dad. He has always loved music! He has suffered several mini strokes and can’t talk or walk very well anymore. He doesn’t really react or show much emotion either. But Yesterday was an exception. To see him sitting there patting his foot and dancing in his seat brought tears to my eyes!! He cried when we got home thanking me for taking him. He said that was the best show he had ever been to and he’s seen many! I totaly agree! Thanks for bringing the Joy back to my dads face!!!!

    Comment by Lisa — June 30, 2009 @ 12:25 am

  10. Hello Joseph!
    I was in the 3rd row at the Fox Theater for your final performance on Father’s Day.To me, I had the best seat in the house! You were “Fantastic”! to say the least!You are by far the most handsome, most talented performer in all the Jersey Boy casts..There was one scene where the stage went dark and a spot light beamed on the spiral staircase and I was the only person in the audience that also got caught in the glow of that light and for a few short minutes, I felt I was a part of the wonderful positive energy that was bursting from that stage and to look around and see people well into their sixties, singing along, swaying to the music, memories in their eyes, wow! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! and you made it one for many many people.I hope to see you perform again one day soon, until then,”bye bye baby” God Bless and keep you healthy, happy and well.

    Comment by Denise — July 1, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

  11. I recently saw your performance at the Raleigh Memorial Theater in North Carolina, and I have to say it was one of the greatest performances I have ever seen. Your voice was extraordinary and the show was phenomenal. You have been blessed with marvelous talent, and I hope that you continue performing for a very long time so that even more people will have the privilege and joy of hearing and seeing you on stage. Thank you so much for the wonderful show, I was honored to have seen it!

    Comment by Mary — July 21, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

  12. Hi Joseph,

    I saw your WONDERFUL performance today at the Shubert Theatre in Boston. Your vocal interpretation of Frankie Valli was truly amazing as was the physicality of your performance !! It is difficult to express what a joy it was to experience !!
    You are blessed with soo much talent. May you enjoy many, many years of continued success !!

    Thanks for the memories !!

    Claire Vitale

    Comment by claire — August 23, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  13. I saw one of your final performances in Boston yesterday. You were extraordinary! I loved the show and hope to see you again in either this role or in whatever you appear in in the future. You have the most wonderful voice. Best wishes to you.

    Comment by Cathy S. — September 27, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  14. I saw this guy perform last night at the National Theater in Washington D.C. and he was just amazing! I didn’t want the show to be over. Keep going and when you come back, I’ll be there singing and cheering for the show!

    Comment by Jessica — November 19, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

  15. I saw the show at National Theater In Washington, D.C., November 8th matinee. After the matinee, we went to the Old Ebbitt Grill, then came back in front of the theater…..I wanted to go back in and see the show again. I hope you come back to DC again….!!
    You were so nice to people in the lobby giving donations to Broadway Cares and posing for photographs. If they ever make a movie of Jersey Boys you should be the one to play Frankie Valli.
    You are fantastic!!!!!!! You have the voice!!!!!

    Comment by Evangelyn P. — November 21, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  16. I saw the show at National Theatre last night and JLB was fantastic :) . I wish I can go see it tonight or Friday again.

    Comment by CW — December 10, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

  17. This is the best show I have ever seen and JLB is absolutely amazing. I saw it three times at the National Theater in Washington and I only wish I could see it three more times. If it comes back around again I am there! I agree, if there’s a Jersey Boys movie, then JLB should be the obvious pick for the lead.

    Comment by CLF3623 — December 12, 2009 @ 12:25 am

  18. Hi Joseph!! I saw you on Christmas Day, the 8 o’clock performance. You were amazing!!

    Comment by Karleen — December 26, 2009 @ 12:34 am

  19. I just last night saw him in Jersey Boys in Memphis . He was absolutely perfect . And those notes seemed effortless to him . It was my first time seeing it and I’m very happy he was Frankie when I saw it :)

    Comment by Mckenzie — February 3, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  20. I saw Jersey Boys in Memphis on February 11. If Joseph Leo Bwarie doesn’t play Frankie Valli in the movie, I may not go!

    Comment by Chris — February 22, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  21. I usher at the Barbara Mann in Ft Myers Fl and saw the show 15 times. You guys are just great. Loved you all. What talent. Got to talk to you and the fellow that plays Bob Gaudio. What tremendous singers. You are the best. Good Luck and come back to Ft Myers. You all kept us hoping.

    Comment by helen — March 8, 2010 @ 1:03 am

  22. Got to see JLB at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. He and the rest of the group were just sensational! I’ve seen a lot of shows, but this was the first time I could have stayed in my seat and watched the entire thing over again as soon as they took their last bow. What extraordinary talent! I haven’t stopped humming the songs and talking about the magical night watching Jersey Boys.

    My congratulations to the entire cast for an exceptional performance. We were in the third row right in front of the spiral staircase – great seats for a wonderful show. Thanks!!

    Comment by Carol — March 24, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  23. I just saw Jersey Boys 3 times in 2 weeks at The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (1st with hubby & kids, then with friends) and I could have seen it 3x3x3….more times! We all loved it!!! Great show – Joseph and the rest of the cast were sensational and phenomenal! Still humming the tunes.
    “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” – so beautifully sung and one of our several wedding songs – brought back beautiful memories and the way it was sung makes you fall in love all over again.
    Thank you, cast, for a fantastic show! Hope to see you all again – please come back to South Florida!

    Comment by Norina — April 8, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  24. Just saw Jersey Boys in Des Moines, Ia. It was wonderful!! A bunch of our friends drove our old 60′s classic cars that added a little period flare! JLB was gracious enough to take pictures with us and chat after the show. What a very talented singer/actor he is! The whole cast was great! Thank you all for such a wonderful memory for all of us!!

    Comment by Sharon — July 23, 2010 @ 12:38 am

  25. Saw Jersey Boys in Louisville, KY. 7/28/10, AWESOME, AWESOME,AWESOME, LOVE THE WHOLE STORY AND CAN RELATE TO IT. I’M ITALIAN TOO, AND YoU ALL SOUND JUST LIKE MY FAMILY IN CLEVELAND, OHIO. THE VOICES OH THE VOICES,WERE FABULOUS, THIS WAS OUR FAVORITE GROUP, MY HUSBAND IS A HALL-A-FAMER IN SOFTBALL AND REALLY NOT A MUSICAL KIND OF PERSON, BUT WHEN HE HEARD YOU ALL WERE COMING TO LOUISVILLE, HE SAID GET THE GOOD TICKETS AND WE DID 4TH ROLL. IT IS GREAT THE YOU ALL ARE SHOWING THE HISTORY OF THE FOUR SEASONS, BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES. THEY HIT THE JACKPOT WHEN THEY FOUND YOU FOR THE BIG ROLL, JOSEPH YOU WERE GREAT. THANK YOU ALL
    BILLY 63 AND KATHY 61 FROM GEORGETOWN, IN.

    Comment by Billy & Kathy Haller — July 28, 2010 @ 11:43 pm

  26. Just saw him in San Antonio on Sept. 23 and I was so overwhelmed that I cried mostly throughout the performance and as left the theatre.

    Comment by Yvonne — September 24, 2010 @ 7:31 am

  27. I flew from Dallas to San Antonio on Sept.25 in a rain storm…lightning actually hit the plane! It was all well worth it to get to see JLB and Jersey Boys again. My 4th time!! Got to meet him and have my picture taken with him at the stage door after the show, wearing my Jersey Boys t-shirt! Love this show, the cast, the music….everything!!! Not enough words to describe what a great, feel-good show this is. Thanks so much. I hope to see it again soon!

    Comment by Linda — September 27, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

  28. Saw the show in Philly on Nov 14, Joseph you were awesome, I can’t imagine the Broadway original cast could be half as good. Thanks for the best show I’ve ever seen.

    Comment by Marie — November 21, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  29. My wife and I saw Franki Valli perform at Melody
    Tent on Cape Cod this summer and just saw JLB at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on Christmas Eve.
    What a delight to hear Sherry, Dawn, Walk like a Man, and all of the 4 Seasons hits twice in one year by absolute performing Geniuses.
    JLB,,,,,,,,You have an amazing gift

    Comment by Larry Bornstein — December 28, 2010 @ 10:03 am

  30. OMGosh- Haven’t been to a show in years and Jersey Boys in Baltimore was AMAZING. Joseph was incredible. Such talent he has. Thank you for such a wonderful evening, I could listen to your voice FOREVER. You rock!

    Comment by Wendy — February 12, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  31. One Word: AWESOME! Saw the show today in Baltimore. Joseph can do it all, act, sing, dance.

    Comment by Eveline — February 13, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

  32. We saw you Friday night in Baltimore and you were fantastic.I was disappointed we couldn’t get a CD of the show with your performance on it. I’m looking forward to buying your new CD.

    Comment by Betty Bickell — February 14, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  33. WOW! Saw Jersey Boys at the Hippodrome in Baltimore 2/13 and JLB knocked my socks off! I grew up with Frankie Valli songs being played at all our dances, on the radio, and in my home. Joseph, you were amazing and gave us a trip back to a “happy place”. Not just your voice, but your acting made for a wonderful, long awaited night in Baltimore! Thank you and Good Luck to you.

    Comment by carole — February 15, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  34. I usher at the Hippodrome Theater and have so far worked Jersey Boys 8 times (by the end of the month will have worked it 16 times) and just love this show. It far surpasses the production I saw in NY 2 years ago. Joseph, you are just phenominal, you have a great voice and what wonderful singer and actor. And what energy night after night!!! You definitely carry the show. It should be like the energizer bunny, just keep going and going and going. I never want it to end. Quinn VanAntwerp is very good also, very good voice as are all the guys. Keep up the good work.

    Good luck with the rest of our career.
    Kathie

    Comment by Kathie Alascio — February 18, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  35. I was very fortunate to see Joseph Bwarie’s fantastic performance as Franki Valli. No question he is absolutely the best performer that I have seen in this role. His performance was electric and his voice was phenomenal..it blew me away. I look forward to the day when I can see him perform in this role again and hope that Jersey Boys returns to the Baltimore/Washington area some day with JLB in the lead.

    Comment by Gayle — February 28, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  36. Saw JLB in Jersey Boys in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and will be seeing it in Cleveland this summer. Love, love, love the show, and he is outstanding!

    Comment by Cindy — March 3, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

  37. Ushered several times at the Hippodrome in Baltimore during Jersey Boys and fell in love with Jersey Boys and JLB. Loved the show, and loved JLB’s performance! It was outstanding. He’s “just too good to be true” and absolutely the best “Frankie” out there. The songs are still running through my head!

    Comment by Donna — March 9, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  38. Saw you tonight in Minneapolis, you were totally awesome! Can’t wait to hear your new CD this year. Let me know when I can get it. Keep doing what your doing because your absolutely wonderful.

    Comment by Jenny — May 3, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

  39. Saw you yesterday in Appleton Wisconsin! You all were so unbelievable, I am taking my husband to see you in Milwaukee, as the Four Seasons were his favorite group,as they were mine also. Your voice is like nothing I have ever heard before! When you sang “My Eyes Adored You”,I was almost in tears! Please let us know when your CD comes out! I will be first in line to buy it. Can’t wait to see you all again in Milwaukee!

    Comment by Shelley — June 5, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

  40. Saw you in Cleveland Saturday matinee, the last weekend there. The show was a gift from my sons. You are superb. I saw Frankie Valli 35 years ago in that same theatre. Looking for your album, which I should have bought in the lobby. Best wishes for continued success in your awesome work. I am 75 years old–if I were younger, I’d be “chasing you around the block”. By the way, I’m an Italian Jersey girl, raised in Newark. MLM

    Comment by Mary Lou Manning — July 17, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

  41. P.S. OK, so now where else can we purchase your album,”Nothin But Love”, besides the theatre lobby?

    Comment by Mary Lou Manning — July 17, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  42. Saw you tonight in Jacksonville, FL: Times Union Moran Theater. Absolutely amazing show. So much energy, and it looked as if the cast was having as much fun as the audience (it looked like you all were). Joseph Leo Bwarie you are one talented man! You put 110% into tonight’s performance, and we loved it. Love your voice & talent and and the joy you spread tonight. You honor Frankie Valli with your performance, what a gift!
    Thank you for helping me be proud to be a Jersey Girl who grew up “harmonizing” with Frankie and the Four Seasons. Great time tonight.

    Comment by Diane — March 17, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

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