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Wednesday, September 21,2011

Critics say 'Jersey' is a joy

by City Pulse

The “Jersey Boys” tour launched two weeks ago in Omaha, Neb., and the critics are already singing its praises.


Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star critic Jeff
Korbelik noted the show “is a true story with a soundtrack of
recognizable, singalong music. And it’s a must-see.


“This isn’t ‘Mamma Mia’ with ABBA’s hit
music infused into a piece of fiction. With a book by Marshall Brickman
and Rick Elice, ‘Jersey Boys’ is a real story about real people,
chronicling the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, including
the road bumps along the way, such as the death of Valli’s daughter and
member Tommy DeVito’s gambling addiction. …


“The touring cast is exceptional,
sounding just like the Four Seasons. Joseph Leo Bwarie leads the way
with a dead-on falsetto of Valli. Matt Bailey (as Devito), Quin
VanAntwerp (as Bob Gaudio) and understudy Adam Zelesko (as bassist Nick
Massi) also were impressive. The script allows for each band member to
shine, letting them to tell the Four Seasons story as they remember it.”


Bob Fischbach, reviewer for the Omaha World-Herald, was equally effusive.


“So here’s the thing about ‘Jersey Boys,’" he wrote. “If the music doesn’t get you, the story will.


“And the truth is, whether you’re old
enough to remember the hit tunes when they hit or not, the music is
gonna get you. Forty-five minutes into the show, a quartet of vocal
wonders rips into ‘Sherry,’ ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ and ‘Walk Like a
Man,’ and the roof comes off the place.


“And, thanks to one of the best books
for a musical out there, by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the true
story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is gonna get you too. Jail
time, mobsters, women, loan sharks, a genuine fondness for the f-bomb.
They weren’t the four angels.


“Brickman and Elice condensed 40 years
of the group’s history brilliantly, from singing under a street lamp to
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — and packed it with profane humor, a
gritty peek behind the curtain of show biz and the high personal drama
that goes with selling a hundred million records.


“Add the brilliance of director Des
McAnuff’s structure and staging, and oh, what a night. A crowd of 2,385
Friday night at the Orpheum leaped to its feet before the first cast
member trotted front and center for a bow.


“When you have a story this strong and
that powerhouse score of hits, it’s all you need. And a big chunk of
the fun is feeling the crowd around you rolling around in memories,
mouthing the lyrics, pulling for these street kids to keep it together.


“No worries. This ‘Jersey Boys’ pretty much has it all together.”

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