August 12, 2012

Farewell to Joseph Leo Bwarie: Share Your Favorite Memories and Well-Wishes!

August 12th, 2012

Joseph Leo Bwarie
Joseph Leo Bwarie (Photo by: Joan Marcus)

As we all know, Joseph Leo Bwarie’s final performance as “Frankie Valli” in the JERSEY BOYS first national tour will be this evening in Portland at the Keller Auditorium.

Joe has been with JERSEY BOYS for over four fabulous years–first as the two-show “Frankie” in Las Vegas, then of course, in his current position, traveling the country (and Canada) since the summer of 2008. Joe has received phenomenal reviews in every city and a fan base that keeps going and going and going (Sorry, I always quote Brickman & Elice!). Seeing JLB a few weeks ago in Portland in his portrayal as the pop legend will be something I will never forget! Not only did he sing “like an angel,” but his “Frankie” had such a heart that honestly, I’m “tearing up” just thinking about his extraordinary scenes–during the breakup with Mary, when the song that almost never saw the light of day sold three million copies, and when he was the father who lost Francine.

While starring as Frankie Valli, Joe recorded his debut CD “Nothin’ But Love” with legendary arranger and producer (and former Four Seasons member) Charles Calello! His gorgeously smooth vocals with the 40-piece orchestra are nothin’ but phenomenal!!

We thank JLB for being an awesome and phenomenal Frankie all these years and for sharing his amazing talents with the world on “Nothin’ But Love”! Although we will miss him in JB, we are looking forward to following his exciting career and wish him continued success!

We would love for Jersey Boys Blog readers to share your Joseph Leo Bwarie memories! In the comment form below, please add anything you’d like to share–your experiences seeing him play “Frankie”; your meetings with him at the stage door; seeing his special benefit appearances, etc. –and of course, your well-wishes to Joe as he moves on to new opportunities! We’d love to hear from you!


  1. During the second round of JB in Cleveland, he made my friend, Bernice, feel like she was special. Several people were gathered around buying his CD, waiting for him to sign it. Bernice had him sign hers and told him how much she loved watching him as Frankie. She asked for a picture and he asked everyone else to step back because his No. 1 fan was going to take a picture. She took two. Both came out very blurry, but he made her day. She still talks about it. Thanks Joe. Good luck with whatever comes next.

    Comment by Deb — August 12, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  2. I first saw Jersey Boys in Milwaukee, we went to the Saturday matinee and I was expecting to see the number two Frankie. Imagine my delight when I found that Joe did two shows on Saturday. His performance was all I expected and I will never forget the chill that went up my spine when he swung around and hit the notes of “I love you baby” in CTMEOY. It was one of the greatest things I have ever heard.

    I’m sad he won’t be coming to Madison in November, but I wish him only the best. The whole world should discover this talented performer.

    Comment by Kay Fellows — August 12, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  3. I had the pleasure of seeing JLB twice (Raleigh & Charlotte)…and what a wonderful experience! I have tickets for JB when it comes to Durham (NC) in Nov. and I will truly miss seeing JLB on stage. I wish JLB the very best!

    Comment by Barbara McCormick — August 12, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  4. Thank you Joe for being a spectacular singer and
    actor. I saw you in Tulsa and was blown away by
    you and the show. Wishing you the best but also
    know if you do nothing else, you made a lot of
    people happy.

    Comment by Karen S. — August 12, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  5. I saw Jersey Boys for the first time in Boston, Ma in January of 2011. Joseph Leo Bwarie was AMAZING! He truly blew me away! I was now obsessed with Jersey Boys and Joseph Leo Bwarie. Once i heard the show was going to Hartford,CT i had to go see Joe again, he’s just too good to be true! So my family and I went for the second time and again he was AMAZING! I’m also going again in February 2013 when it comes to Boston again and the show will just not be the same without him. I wish the BEST of luck to him in the future with Nothin But Love and all the other wonderful things he does in his career. He will definetley be missed in Jersey Boys.

    Comment by Connor King — August 12, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  6. Such a wonderful performer and even more wonderful person! We loved having you in St. Louis. Your shows were awesome. Your friendship is forever cherished! Can’t wait to see what you do next! “Nothin but Love” to you from your St. Louis family.

    Comment by Jenny Pappas — August 12, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  7. I am fortunate to know Joe from pre-Jersey Boys. So thankful that we were able to re-connect and that I was able to see his spectacular performance in Jersey Boys. Congrats, Joe on a phenomenal run as Frankie and can’t wait to see what you do next! Pam

    Comment by Pamela Tanner — August 12, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  8. Went to college with Joseph, hadn’t seen him since graduation. Went to Boston with my mom to see him. It was so amazing to see all his hard work in action! And, as a true professional, kept his cool when someone was disrupting the show and being kicked out… during the most touching part of the show. All the best to your next adventure! xoxo

    Comment by Amelia — August 12, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  9. The day I met Joseph Leo Bwarie, my wife and I were walking from a restaurant back to our cars in Center City, Philadelphia. We had just finished dinner and a cocktail, still in awe from our first Jersey Boys show. It just happened that JLB was also walking back, from the theater to his hotel. The encounter was fantastic. We met the nicest guy. He stopped for a brief conversation. We wish you the very best in your career (frankie)

    Comment by Rene Rincon — August 12, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

  10. Two shows at the National Theater in Washington. You are one of a kind. You will really go places. The fact that you have Lebanese roots makes me love you even more. Thanks for the beautiful memories!

    Comment by Regis Mahoney — August 12, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  11. Congrats Joe on a great run! Know you are enjoying friends and family there to celebrate this achievement in your career! Best Wishes!

    Comment by Dannise — August 12, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  12. Bravo Joe!!!

    Comment by Joan — August 12, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  13. You are a great talent! My friends and I have enjoyed your performances and wish you the best. All the Jersey Boys performers are so nice at the stage door but you are very welcoming to your fans. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

    Comment by Dsc — August 12, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  14. I was told I must see Jersey Boys if it ever came to town. Well, it did and I did. Absolutely the best stage production I’ve ever seen, totally rife with talent. JLB made such an impact that my subsequent research led me to Nothin’ But Love, which totally blew me away. While I’m certain that he’ll be a tough act to follow as Frankie Valli, I can’t wait to see what we will see next from him. All the posts on Facebook and Twitter are evidence that there are many that share my feelings. I’ll be watching for you. Nothin’ but love and success to you Joe!

    Comment by Bari — August 12, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  15. I do not know where to begin… I saw Jersey Boys a few years back and was dumb founded at the talent before me! I bought the CD and played it everyday~! My 10yr old son became so used to hearing that music that he wanted to only listen to the Jersey Boys in the car. It was ver ammusing to listen to a 10yr old sing these tunes as if they were on the radio today! So when the Jersey boys returned this past year in Charlotte I knew that I had to get tickets so that he could experience it in person. ( Although the language is a bit harsh i decided he has probably heard worse on cable) I am so glad that I made this decision because if not he would have missed out seeing JLB play Frankie!I am sure there are other “Frankies” in the other JB troups but I cannot imagine them coming close to JLB!He made you laugh when he seemed like such a kid and brought tears to your eyes when he was playing a father that lost his child! It is a great loss that he has decided to go onto other things but I am sure he will be a great sucess! I have already downloaded his NOTHING BUT LOVE album and am wearing out also. GOOD LUCK JLB! we have enjoyed you as Frankie and we will continue to enjoy you as Joseph!

    Comment by Tammy B — August 13, 2012 @ 12:21 am

  16. I have been blessed to have seen Joseph as Frankie in various cities. His voice is incredible and thank goodness we now have “Nothing But Love”. I hope there are more CD’s to come. My favorite memories are of meeting him at the various stage doors and how gracious he was with his time. I love all of the pictures I have with him. I will never forget that smile or those beautiful eyes. I wish him only the best in all of his future endeavors. Thanks Joseph for the wonderful memories.

    Comment by Gladys (Phillygalg) — August 13, 2012 @ 4:34 am

  17. How extremely disappointed I am with your leaving the tour. I have tickets to see the JB in Pgh in Sept., but I am trying to sell them, as there is no other “Frankie Valli” other than you. I even was attempting to get back stages passes to meet you in person. I am trying to sell my tickets because you won’t be here in Pgh. However, best of luck in your future endeavors!!!!

    Comment by Rita S — August 13, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  18. All the best to you, Joseph. I not only enjoyed your wonderful performances so much, but always loved watching the various interviews you did where your sense of humor really came through. Thank you for so many great memories.

    Comment by Rose — August 13, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  19. Dan and I wish you all good happenings ahead!
    Having enjoyed several of your performances, and many listenings (your CD)…Cheers.

    Comment by Linda White T. — August 14, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  20. Now that it’s been a week since Joe’s final show, I can post my comments without feeling a huge sense of loss. I first saw JLB as Frankie in Washington DC — November 2009. I have seen his Frankie approximately 70 times in 11 cities, and his performances have never failed to move me. Wonderful actor, incredible singer, terrific dancer…Joe was the complete package as Frankie Valli. Not only were his performances wonderful, but he was extremely gracious and generous with his time at the stage door. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen three performances by Joe at BC/EFA benefits, which were fabulous, and I saw his performance at SXSW last March, which was also fabulous. His voice is extraordinary. I am thrilled that he is working on a follow-up to his phenomenal “Nothin’ But Love” CD, and I look forward to sharing his future musical adventures. I wish Joseph Leo Bwarie the very best of luck…and nothin’ but love!

    Comment by Shell — August 20, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

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