August 4, 2009

Four Seasons Story Dazzles Boston!

August 4th, 2009

Another rave review for JERSEY BOYS national tour in Boston! Here’s what Carolyn Clay had to say:

With its tale of internecine loyalty and resentment among a hardscrabble quartet from the industrial badlands near Newark and its irresistibly tight white-boy harmonies, the 2006 Tony-winning musical chronicling the rise, fall, and resurrection of prolific pop group the Four Seasons is a well-put-together and well-executed if schematic affair that is head, shoulders, and string ties above most jukebox musicals. Rather than shoehorn their iconic songbook into Greek-island or Shakespeare-inspired fantasies, as Mamma Mia! and All Shook Up do, the book by Oscar winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice tells the rags-and-reformatory-to-rock-riches tale of the original Four Seasons, its narrative ball passed among them. And just as the still-running Broadway production is reported to do, the lavish touring edition serves up a knock-your-socks-off quartet who really do sound like the Four Seasons, from Joseph Leo Bwarie’s channeling of Frankie Valli’s unearthly falsetto to Steve Gouveia’s gargling of the goofy bass interpolations of “silly girl” into “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

And director Des McAnuff (The Who’s Tommy) keeps it running like a 1962 Chevy fueled by some irresistible pop tunes — the lion’s share recorded between 1962 and 1967 — and some ethanol-like infusions of emotion, among them Bwarie’s lush, aching rendition of the 1974 “My Eyes Adored You,” here pushed back a few years to reflect on the break-up of Valli’s early marriage to Mary Delgado. Choreographer Sergio Trujillo’s amalgamation of standard ’60s finger snapping and mic tipping with some very sharp footwork is as slick as McAnuff’s direction. But what carries the production are the chops and the vitality of the young performers so uncannily replicating the Seasons. In a coda tied to the original quartet’s triumphant 1990 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Valli describes himself as the Energizer Bunny. But the veteran crooner has nothing on these hustling, heartfelt imitators.

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