Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kravis Center: Jersey Boys (2 reviews)

The National tour of Jersey Boys opened at the Kravis
Center for the Performing Arts
on March 10, 2010.
This is the story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30! (winner of the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album and the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical)
The book is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by, of course, Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons. Des McAnuff directs a cast that includes Joseph Leo Bwarie, Matt Bailey, Ryan Jesse, and Steve Gouveia.

Reviews from its stop at the Broward Center last year.

Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper: (is) the show that demonstrated that “jukebox” did not have to be a pejorative, thanks to a compelling script full of Garden State attitude by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice -- both musical theater neophytes -- taut, cinematic staging by Des MacAnuff and a cast that was as capable with the dramatic script as they were replicating the The Four Seasons’ signature sound.
Just as the group was soon overshadowed by Valli, the musical belongs to diminutive Joseph Leo Bwarie, who has the acting chops and freakish vocal range to be a very convincing Valli. Still, Matt Bailey, Steve Gouveia and Ryan Jesse each get their spotlight moments as his back-up singers, with Bailey a standout as abrasive, irresponsible group originator Tommy DeVito.
...go enjoy Jersey Boys and notice how well-crafted it is.
Jan Sjostrom reviewed for the Palm Beach Daily News:
Jersey Boys has a lot going for it catchy hits freighted with nostalgia, a snappy delivery, a rags-to-riches story with a Sopranos-style reckoning, crisp choreography.

What the production currently at the Kravis Center doesn’t have is the kind of acting that makes you forget you’re watching a show and thrusts you inside the story. Instead, you wait around for the hits to keep on coming.
Fortunately, they do. Ryan Jesse (Bob Gaudio) Joseph Leo Bwarie (Frankie Valli), Steve Gouveia (Nick Massi) and Matt Bailey (Tommy DeVito) are at their best in this Four Seasons biomusical when they’re dancing in lockstep and Bwarie’s thrilling falsetto is glancing over the surface of their seamless harmonies.
..the chart-toppers... roll out like fireworks at the Fourth of July.
Quieter numbers fare well, too, and Bwarie proves to be as capable a singer in the velvety solo passages of Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and My Eyes Adored You as he is in the full-group dazzlers.
For really convincing acting, though, look to the smaller parts, such as Kara Tremel’s mouthy Mary Delgado and Jonathan Hadley’s savvy Crewe.
Jersey Boys plays at the Kravis Center through March 28, 2010.

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