Work your way to 'Jersey Boys'

BY February 7, 2012

The Jersey Boys showing off some of that sweet harmony.

If you do one thing this month, go see Jersey Boys, which plays through Feb. 19 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. The show offered a fantastic feast of visual pleasure from the costumes to the scenery. But the greatest (and most obvious) glory of the show was the music. To be sure, this is a jukebox musical, but it’s an amazing one. The Four Seasons offered a plethora of hits for the musical to pick and choose from and the writers managed to squeeze nearly all your favorites into the show. Your ears will be treated to the likes of Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man and (my personal favorite) Can’t Take My Eyes off of You.

Joseph Leo Bwarie sweeps through the show with a voice and face so similar to Frankie Valli you’ll think that he is a reincarnation (if Frankie weren’t still alive and kicking, that is).  To be fair, the whole cast is fairly impressive, all faithfully representing their counterparts’ talents and vices. Preston Truman Boyd takes the stage as a boyish Bob Gaudio, whose knack for songwriting propels the group to stardom; his portrayal is so spot-on that you entirely forget his golden locks. Michael Lomenda lends his talents as Nick Massi, the strong and (largely) silent bassist of the group. I personally felt that Lomenda’s most surprising talent was his authentic Jersey accent, which might have been a challenge for the Alberta, Canada native. John Gardiner rounds out the group as Tommy DeVito, the thug guitarist with more than a few control issues. Gardiner captivated me with his ability to switch from a sweet performer to a thug in mere moments, as I’m sure the real DeVito did.

Even though we all know how the Four Seasons’ story ends, the journey is still one worth seeing. Right to the end, the show works to get people on their feet dancing and clapping. While I don’t encourage singing along (let’s face it, few can capture Frankie’s falsetto or harmonize well enough to not hurt the performance), I do hope you get up on your feet and dance. The show deserves it and so do you.

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