Friday, April 13, 2012
JERSEY BOYS at The Bank of America Theatre
At the end of the show when the full company joins together and sings “Who Loves You?” its quite clear by the audiences reaction that question does not need to be asked.
After making its return to Chicago after a triumphant run in Chicago that broke box office records at the Bank of America Theatre and played from 2007 to 2010 “JERSEY BOYS” which opened last night at the Bank of America Theatre will play for nine weeks though June 3rd.
JERSEY BOYS is the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons like its predecessor “Dreamgirls” shows the backstage life of a group from the humble beginnings to their super star reunion complete with all the backstage fighting’s, betrayals and personal demons. Where as “Dreamgirls” told a fictional tale of a girl group JERSEY BOYS is the story of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi set to the music of that era. The show contains such classics as Earth Angel, Cry for Me, Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like a Man, Oh, What a Night, Stay, Can't Take My Eyes Off of You, Woking My Way Back to You, and Who Loves You? songs that that are embedded in the ears and hearts of almost everyone out there.
The show's book by Rick Elice moves as fast an furious as those classic songs do and with direction by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff they are able to fit an entire life of these men plus everyone they seem to have ever met into their lives in under two hours which is surprising that the finale moments involving a personal tragedy seems so rushed though other then that the show is a knockout and definitely a crowd-pleaser from top to bottom.
The excellent cast also work very hard to make these fully realized sympathetic characters when they could have easily been caricatures that sing just some classic songs, with each of the Boys has his moment to shine during the proceedings. Joseph Leo Bwarie displays an impressive range that evokes Franki Valli's range and tone and while having the least of the charismatic roles still lands with his portrayal. As the groups founder Tonmy DeVito, John Gardiner takes the standard tough guy role and is able to build an impressive arc while Michael Lomenda's Nick Massi makes you feel for the Ringo of the group even though there is a lot of mystery towards him. As the man who provided them with so many great songs Bob Gaudio Preston Truman Boyd projects a sincerity and honesty with his acting that matches his youthful appearance.
The resent of the large ensemble works overtime to make their characters memorable and not just scenery that rushes past the stage with standouts being Jonathan Hadley, Karla Tremel, and Joseph Leo Bwarie.
At one point in the show Nick Massey speaks that their fans weren't like the Beatles fans were that there music appealed to the everyman and with this show and this production it's quite clear why that is as you walk into the show humming the music and walk out of it singing the lyrics.
JERSEY BOYS is playing at the Bank of America Theatre though June 3rd tickets are on-sale now and start as low as $7. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnit), the Broadway in Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway in Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carsons Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye Stores), and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.