(Photos By Joan Marcus)
JERSEY BOYS did it again. Ruined a good night's sleep, that's what it did. For this musical, based on the life and careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is thrilling, masterful, and certainly unforgettable. I tossed and I turned remembering magical pieces of stage craft, goose bump inducing performances and everything else that makes up this Tony winning Best Musical; indeed one of the best musicals of all time.
JERSEY BOYS demonstrates what a juke box musical can be when all the stars align just right and all the professionals are at the top of their game. The audience at the Broward Center last night received JERSEY BOYS with the wildest pandemonium, seemingly endless cheering, and simply bravo'd the show within an inch of its life. Oh, What A Night, as one of the classic Four Seasons songs of JERSEY BOYS sings. Oh, what a night, to say the least. Anyone able to attend JERSEY BOYS and misses it, does so at their own risk. JERSEY BOYS is one of the greatest musicals of anyone's lifetime.
Director Des McAnuff almost always keeps JERSEY BOYS at a lightning pace, insistent on assaulting our senses. This show is, thus far, Mr. McAnuff's greatest gift to the musical theater; it is his greatest gift to the musical theater going audience. His work with lighting designer Howell Binkley may just be the finest achievement in lighting since A CHORUS LINE. He allows choreographer Sergio Trujillo to make the dance movement in JERSEY BOYS glorious, with moment upon show stopping moment. Thank you Mr. McAnuff.
JERSEY BOYS brings the presentation of classic Four Seasons songs to dizzying heights. SHERRY, BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY, WALK LIKE A MAN, OH, WHAT A NIGHT, MY EYES ADORED YOU, DAWN (GO AWAY), LET'S HANG ON, BYE BYE BABY, CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU, WORKING MY WAY BACK TO YOU, RAG DOLL, WHO LOVES YOU?, they are all here, among others. Who ever knew before JERSEY BOYS how wonderful the FOUR SEASONS' songs were? I'm sure millions did. However, I sure didn't. JERSEY BOYS creates a new audience for the songs of the Four Seasons, just as it creates new enthusiasts for the musical theater going audience.
The last time I reviewed JERSEY BOYS, I raved about Joseph Leo Bwarie's Frankie Valli, writing that every home should have a Joseph Leo Bwarie. Mr. Bwarie has still not visited my home, but he continues to be impossibly magnificent as the star of JERSEY BOYS. His performance is electric, it is moving. Frankly, it is an astonishing feat Mr. Bwarie accomplishes with his every moment giving us the intensity of opening night. You will fall in love with this magnificent new star; just try not to.
(Joseph Leo Bwarie and Preston Truman Boyd)
Now to a certain Mr. Preston Truman Boyd (don't you just love the name?) As Bob Gaudio, one of the original Four Seasons and the writer of the music to their songs, Mr. Boyd is absolutely delicious. His performance is so delightful, he joins Mr. Bwarie in giving an unforgettable JERSEY BOYS performance. He exudes charm and sexuality and the audience exudes right back at him. Bravo Mr. Boyd!