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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Still love those "Jersey Boys"

I couldn't have been more excited to see "Jersey Boys" for the second time this weekend at the State Theatre.

"Jersey Boys" is a two-act musical about the Four Seasons told in - fittingly - four seasons. Each one of the Four Seasons narrates one of the four season:
  • Tommy DeVito narrates spring, the formation of the group
  • Bob Gaudio narrates summer, when he wrote hit after hit, launching the group to success
  • Nick Massi narrates fall, when tension in the group is high
  • Frankie Valli narrates winter, looking at the group's ups and downs through present day (including its Rock Hall induction)
"Jersey Boys" has received numerous accolades, and it's easy to see why. The show is tightly written with great music behind the dialogue, and the minimalist set allows for quick transitions for the fast-paced action. The show is almost like a Four Seasons concert, with a storyline bridging together hit after hit (see the musical numbers here). While the cast members aren't the Four Seasons, they perform the heck out of those songs. (I own the original Broadway cast recording and it rocks.)

Friday evening's audience especially enjoyed "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," performed by Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie Valli. After he finished, the crowd gave him a semi-standing ovation. I've never seen a mid-performance reaction quite like that. Bwarie himself looked somewhat taken aback by the reaction, but allowed the crowd to applaud before continuing the performance.

My favorite parts of the show include the Four Seasons' TV appearances, which are filmed and projected on a big screen behind them - how neat! I also love the group's big stage performance: The clever use of bright lights puts the audience on stage with the Four Seasons, seeing exactly what they would have seen.

My less favorite parts of the show: the giant graphic images projected on screens on the set. Several times in the show, the backdrop is transformed into a New Jersey skyline with changing colors in the sky, which I really like. But several more times in the show, giant graphic images that are generally related to what's happening in the show are projected on screens in front of that. They're a little cheesy.

Jonathan Hadley, as producer/writer Bob Crewe, was one of my favorite performances in the show. And can anyone confirm for me if the actors playing Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi were actually playing their guitars? Being able to act, sing, dance and play an instrument night after night in a successful touring show also would rank up there in my favorite things about "Jersey Boys."

The show is not intended for all ages. A sign posted in the lobby even warns the audience of bright lights, loud noises and "authentic profane Jersey vocabulary." But those who enjoy the Four Seasons are probably old enough to handle the mature situations in the show. If you like the ensemble's music, you're probably going to love the show, and you should do yourself a favor and get tickets before the show's run in Cleveland ends July 17.

More on the show

Click here to read Mark Meszoros' preview of "Jersey Boys," and what it takes to play Frankie Valli. Check back to later this week for Bob Abelman's review of the show.

Click here for information on the Cleveland portion of the "Jersey Boys" tour, or here for more information on the touring company.

Watch a montage of the Broadway show below:

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the actors playing Nick Massi and Tommy de Vito are actually playing their instruments as well as the
two actors who replace Nick and Tommy after they leave the group.

June 27, 2011 at 7:01 PM 
Blogger nhcheryl said...

How cool! Thanks for the info.

June 28, 2011 at 7:12 PM 
Anonymous Jersey Boys said...

At this time i am not happy at all to see the Jersey boys theater,i don,t know why but the same things are repeated that's why.

August 22, 2011 at 2:12 AM 

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