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BWW Reviews: JERSEY BOYS - Oh What A Night at the Theatre

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Jersey Boys, the Tony Award winning Broadway musical based on The Four Seasons, is already making a big splash here in Omaha. With press night being only the third night of performances in Omaha, I was more than a little surprised to find that some audience members were already seeing Jersey Boys for the second time in three days. Some were even talking about their plans to see it again for a third and fourth time in the following weeks. After having the opportunity to see the national touring production of Jersey Boys Friday night, it's clear to me why audiences are drawn to this show, time and time again.

The script, although rough at times in terms of the foul language, provides the audience with not only a better understanding of who The Four Seasons were as a group - but also who they are as individuals. The narrative style of dialogue written for each member of the group (consisting of numerous short monologues) allows the audience to feel as though they are connected to each of the Four Seasons on a personal level.

The staging of the musical numbers is simple and classy, giving way to the music and letting the talent of the performers shine through and carry the numbers - which they do brilliantly!

Joseph Leo Bwarie heads the group as Frankie Valli, the sweet-voiced soloist of The Four Seasons. He has a boyish charm about him that the audience is instantly drawn to. As he grows in the character, he earns the respect and love of the audience. You just plain like him, both as Frankie and as Joseph.

Matt Bailey is wonderful as the tough guy, Tommy DeVito. He seemed to be the true leader of the group. He commands the stage with such charisma - his stage presence is unmatched.

Adam Zelasko is icy cool as Nick Massi, the quiet one in the group. For me, he was the most intriguing of the show. I couldn't help but think that he held the most secrets of the group and had seen the most of the ups and downs. I found myself wondering what he was thinking through most of the show.

Quinn VanAntwerp, who played Bob Gaudio opening weekend, the songwriter and baby of the group, was a definite standout in the show. His youthful character, matched with his almost pop-like vocals, made him more accessible and relatable to the younger generation. I wanted to hear more from him. VanAntwerp played his final performance as Gaudio on the national tour on Sept 11th. He is making the move to the Broadway production later this month.

Other than the occasional overdone characterization or hit-or-miss accent, the only disappointment I had was regarding the ladies performance of the Angels' hit, My Boyfriend's Back. Where other songs took off and brought excitement to the audience, this one seemed to fall short. Maybe it was an off night for the girls.

During numbers such as My Eyes Adored You, it was easy to spot at least one older couple stealing smiles or quick kisses from one another, perhaps reminiscing about the time they first heard those songs together. Meanwhile, other numbers like Sherry, Walk Like a Man, and Can't Take My Eyes Off of You were met with standing ovations and thunderous applause.

Jersey Boys is without a doubt the can't miss show of this years Broadway in Omaha season. Get your tickets while you can.

 

 


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