May 5, 2006

Orlando Reviewer Loves Jersey Boys

May 5th, 2006

In her Orlando Sentinel blog, Elizabeth Maupin reviews Jersey Boys. Maupin admits that Four Seasons’ hits “never did it for her” –until seeing Jersey Boys, a musical that had her grinning from ear to ear. She notes that a lot of Jersey Boys is very funny, with writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice doing a terrific job bringing out that humor and melding it with a surprisingly dramatic story. She also is impressed by the spectacular young cast and the whiz-bang direction of Des McAnuff.

What else makes Jersey Boys so appealing to Maupin? She raves about the surefire story, with three poor kids from the gritty streets of Newark and thereabouts, in and out of trouble with the law until they signed up an even younger songwriter and hit the big time. There are also four quirky personalities; close to 30 hits, from 1962 to the late 1970s; and four competing tales of what made them tick.

John Lloyd Young, who’s making his Broadway debut, makes Frankie Valli a quiet, opinionated little thing who does indeed “sing like an angel,” as someone says — if angels have three-octave ranges and strange nasal falsettos. Christian Hoff makes Tommy DeVito a pint-sized scrapper; J. Robert Spencer is cool and weird as Nick Massi, the group’s quiet bass player; and Daniel Reichard (also in his Broadway debut) finds the charisma in young Bob Gaudio, the songwriter whose handshake partnership with Valli lasted more than 40 years.

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