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BWW Reviews: JERSEY BOYS Returns to Denver Center's Buell Theatre

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Jersey Boys has worked its way back for a third visit to Denver, and the fellas have still got it.

The 2006 Tony winner for best musical is making a brief stop at the Buell Theatre through the weekend, and if you want to catch it, you should snag tickets soon.

The story follows how four blue-collar kids became the Four Seasons, one of the greatest successes in pop music history, by writing their own music and making their own sound. Each group member takes part of the show to tell his side of their story.

Shaun Taylor-Corbett, on as an understudy, owned the role of Frankie Valli with a crisp falsetto, growing the 16-year-old's spunky innocence to his mature years with ease. It's always so interesting to watch an actor convincingly portray a character over the span of several decades. While most of Taylor-Corbett's Valli hit the right notes, at times his voice shifted from Valli's signature sound back to his own, detracting slightly from the mirage.

Nicolas Dromard (who Denver audiences may recognize from the Denver Center's White Christmas in 2012), tackles Tommy DeVito with a effortless charm, making it hard to hate the baddest boy in the band. His acting chops are strong as he commands every scene, even when it's not his turn.

Keith Hines, Hayden Milanes, Drew Seeley, Nicolas Dromard

Drew Seeley, whose claim to fame mostly stems through Disney and teen flicks, makes Bob Gaudio a relatable heartthrob. He adds a nice balance to the group, toning down the Jersey mobster vibe--think of him as light Italian. Interestingly enough, Seeley got his start similarly to Gaudio, collaborating on writing High School Musical's "Get'cha Head in the Game," which he later performed on tour with the live show.

Keith Hines is Nick Massi, who's basically the Ringo of the group. Unfortunately, that's how most of his side of the story is treated, leaving little room to connect with he character before he decides to leave the group. Massi died in 2000, 5 years before Jersey Boys hit Broadway, so his story is understandably thinner than the rest. Still, Hines' portrayal leaves you loving the group's necessary fourth wheel.

The set is nothing spectacular, but this show is clearly more about the music than anything visual. A few moments where the group performs to a "backstage" audience is an exciting effect produced with lighting. The comic-style motifs throughout the show were a fun addition, but I still don't completely understand their connection to the plot.

Sure, Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical, but it's one of the few that gets the genre right. The songs don't necessarily move the plot forward, but they're added as they're created, making them seem exciting and new again. You'll be surprised at how many songs you know--and, oh boy, are there a lot of songs in this show.

But don't be surprised if you see mobs of middle-age women dancing in the aisles for this one. After Valli performed his signature "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," a woman a few rows ahead of me helicoptered her white cardigan above her head. You can be sure you'll only be sitting a few seats away from someone who will sing every word.

Jersey Boys plays the Buell Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts through Dec. 14, with shows at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday as well as 7:30 p.m. Saturday. For tickets and info, visit www.DenverCenter.org or call the box office at (303)893-4100.


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