November 24, 2011

DC Can’t Take Their Eyes Off Jersey Boys!

November 24th, 2011

Jersey Boys LogoDC critics are adoring the return of JERSEY BOYS to the National Theatre! Check out excerpts of the latest reviews:

Gail Choochan, “Jersey Boys,” onstage at the National Theatre, chronicles the journey of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with such nostalgic gusto that you’ll wish you could step back in time.

Right off the bat, the music is loud, the lights are bright, and the singers and dancers are giving it their all, and the stars have yet to take the stage. What a night this is going to be, indeed.

Each of the Four Seasons takes a turn telling a side of the story, and how they became to be the Four Seasons. Tommy (John Gardiner), the talker he is, gets to go first. He’ll tell you about his other bands and how he discovered Frankie Castelluccio, or Frankie Valli. And he’ll tell you how he showed the young kid the ropes in the business and with women.

As Valli, Joseph Leo Bwarie is a revelation. With his angelic features and high-pitched delivery, he perfectly embodies the legendary crooner. Not only is Bwarie the voice of the Four Seasons, but he’s also the voice of “Jersey Boys.”

When he’s up onstage with the rest of the guys, it’s just pure magic. “Jersey Boys” is not just a musical, it’s a concert experience, and the volume is cranked up to the highest level. Audience members were bouncing in their seats; I’m just glad people weren’t singing along.

Doug Rule, That opening hip-hop number is the 2000 French version of ”December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night).” It’s performed here by the phenomenally versatile Donald Webber Jr., who adds pizzazz to every small part he plays in the show

Ultimately, though, aside from a few curse words and some suggestive sexual content and intimations of violence — and a little jarring French hip-hop — this show is about as non-threatening as it gets. It’s also as crowd-pleasing as Broadway comes. At a performance last week at the National Theatre, the crowd could barely contain its glee after the actors playing the band gave spot-on traditional covers of ”Sherry,” ”Big Girls Don’t Cry” and ”Walk Like A Man.” The three songs are performed one after another to signify that once the Four Seasons finally solidified itself and broke through to the mainstream, it was an unstoppable force.

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