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BWW Reviews: With Four Appealing Leads, JERSEY BOYS Is Ferociously Fun

June 9
9:14 AM 2013


Depending on your perspective, either celebrate or castigate Catherine Johnson.

The British playwright collaborated with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus to create "Mama Mia!," the trope popularizer of the jukebox musical. The ABBA fest spawned some very bad shows. ("Lennon," "Good Vibrations" and the "clueless verging on vulgar" mess called "Hot Feet.")

But there have been some good ones. And a few very good ones. There's also one so very, very good that it's the only jukebox musical to win a Tony for Best Musical - beating "The Color Purple" and "The Drowsy Chaperone" in 2006.

"Jersey Boys" is ferociously fun. And the four very appealing leads in the Salt Lake City cast of the national tour bring the musical vividly to life. Each actor is terrific in his role as a member of the Four Seasons.

Instead of a tribute show with impersonations of the Four Seasons, the focus of these superb actors is on creating engaging, dramatic portrayals.

Surprisingly enough, it was the first performance for Nicolas Dromard, making his debut as Tommy DeVito. He joins Nick Cosgrove as Frankie Valli, Brandon Andrus in the Nick Massi role and Jason Kappus as Bob Gaudio in the bio-musical of the early 1960s group.

"Jersey Boys" boasts a strong book by Marshall Brickman (best known for his screenplays with Woody Allen) and Rick Elice ("Peter and the Starcatcher"), along with splendid original direction from Tony-winner Des McAnuff.

What they joyously crafted is a musical that is not just a collection of their string of hits that dominated the Top 40 charts, but the story is told from four viewpoints, with each group member narrating his own slightly different take on the truth with his individual embellishment.

Then there's that wonderful string of the Four Seasons' hits: "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Sherry," "Walk Like a Man" and "My Eyes Adored You." And lest I forget "Working My Way Back to You" and "December 1962 (Oh, What a Night)."

"Jersey Boys" is a qualified box office hit that has also been critically acclaimed. The musical is that much more enjoyable when the cast does such a splendid job entertaining the audience.

Brandon Andrus, Nick Cosgrove, Jason Kappus and Nicolas Dromard (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

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Blair Howell Blair Howell's career is in the professional publishing arena (for more years than he cares to remember), with a longstanding interest in theater. He found it to be great fun to live in New Canaan, Connecticut, with easy access to the Great White Way. But now, Blair lives in Salt Lake City (a long, not interesting story). The much-lamented move has allowed him to be more active in regional theater. He now covers theater and the arts for the Deseret News, Utah's oldest, continuously-published metro daily newspaper, and has written for various theater-related national magazines and websites.


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