BWW Review: JERSEY BOYS: Oh What a Night of Perfect Musical Entertainment!
JERSEY BOYS opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway to critical acclaim on November 6, 2005, running 11 record-breaking years and becoming the 12th longest running show in Broadway history. The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical telling the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, is now onstage at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre through June 24, 2017. It is absolutely one of the best musicals I have ever experienced, and not just because their music was so much a part of my teenage years and brings back so many great memories, but for its astounding staging and the incredible cast who make the show one not to miss for musical theatre lovers of all ages!Directed to perfection by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff, JERSEY BOYS, written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note together under a streetlamp. Thanks to the miraculous falsetto voice of Frankie Valli, they had a sound nobody had ever heard - and the radio just couldn't get enough of it. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story - a story told through this musical that has made them an international sensation all over again. The show features all their hits including "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Oh What A Night," "Walk Like A Man," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "Working My Way Back To You."
Perhaps the biggest draw for Los Angeles audience is Mark Ballas reprising his hit Broadway performance as Frankie Valli for the Los Angeles engagement of the tour. Ballas, known for his Emmy nominated work on "Dancing with the Stars," made his Broadway debut in the role last fall, no doubt to the same thunderous applause he received on opening night here. Yes, he does get to share many of his famous dance moves during several numbers, but it is his high-pitched singing perfection and acting skills that allow him to totally inhabit the role that will amaze and dazzle you! (Critically acclaimed 'Frankie veterans' Aaron De Jesus and Miguel Jarquin-Moreland will play Frankie Valli at certain performances during the week.)
Along with Ballas, and bringing true talent and performance realism to every single song performed are Matthew Dailey (the guitar playing, tough street kid gambler Tommy DeVito), Keith Hines (mild-mannered bass player Nick Massi) and Cory Jeacoma (songwriter extraordinaire Bob Gaudio) as The Four Seasons.The ensemble of "Jersey Boys" includes Mark Edwards, Corey Greenan, Bryan Hindle, David LaMarr, Austin Owen, Kristen Paulicelli, Leslie Rochette, Andrew Russell, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Dru Serkes, Jonny Wexler and Jesse Wildman who take on numerous roles from childhood through the group's ultimate successes as well as financial challenges. Of special noteworthy praise are Kristen Paulicelli, Leslie Rochette and Jesse Wildman as The Angels, the "girl" group famous for their hit "My Boyfriend's Back" who went out on tour with The Four Seasons early in their career. The entire design and production team are to be commended for working well together to produce what is perhaps the finest modern Broadway musical to date. The team is comprised of Klara Zieglerova (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Howell Binkley (winner of the 2006 Tony Award for his lighting design of "Jersey Boys"), Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Clark (projections design), Charles LaPointe (wig and hair design), Steve Orich (orchestrations) and Ron Melrose (music supervision, vocal/dance arrangements and incidental music), and is produced by Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner. Tickets for JERSEY BOYS range from $25 - $125 and are available by calling (213) 972-4400, online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org or by visiting the Center Theatre Group box office located at the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, 90012.
Be sure to catch this musical extravaganza before it moves on to international tours of the United Kingdom and Australia!
Photos by Jim Carmody