Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Jersey Boys
National Tour
Review by Jeffrey Bruce

Also see Jeffrey's review of An Accident


Corey Greenan, Tomasso Antico, Jonny Wexler
(replaced by Miguel Jarquin-Moreland), Chris Stevens

Photo by Joan Marcus
Well, the third time's the charm. I first saw Jersey Boys on Broadway with the original cast. While I found the music terrific, I felt the book was, to put it mildly, uninteresting. I then saw the national tour, several years ago, in Miami, and my contempt for the show become more palpable, especially regarding the aforementioned libretto. This week I attended a performance the current touring production and enjoyed myself immensely. Why? While the book is still wanting, the overall talent and enthusiasm of the current cast gives the entire evening an electricity that was sorely missing from my first two endeavors.

The gestation of The Four Seasons is filled with predictable clichéés: from the Jersey beginnings, to the successful/disastrous marriages, incredible financial debt and family tragedy. But, interwoven throughout are the songs. And what songs! We have an anthology of their greatest hits, performed by the quartet of Miguel Jarquin-Moreland (as Frankie Valli), Tomasso Antico (Bob Gaudio), Corey Greenan (Tommy DeVito) and Chris Stevens (Nick Massi). They blend voices thrillingly and, combined with the time-specific choreography by Sergio Trujillo, tear the place apart.

The success of any Jersey Boys depends on the casting of Valli, and director Des McAnuff has a jewel in Mr. Jarquin-Moreland. Looking neither like the real life Valli nor Italian, he is a compact dynamo who has the falsetto to sell the songs and the charisma to keep attention during those book scenes. That said, each of the quartet has moments to shine, none more so than Mr. Tomasso who successfully underplays the role of Bob Gaudio, who is likeable and the least caricatured. Several of the players fall into this trap and whether directed to overplay the Jersey accent, or play in a "dem-dese-do's" tempo, tend to lose the realism that Mr. Antico so beautifully emits.

Music director Michael Gonzalez heads an octet of terrific musicians who become an integral part of the story and choreography. The scenic design, 1960s lights a-glowing, is designed by Klara Zieglerova, and the costumes by Jess Goldstein are spot-on. Howell Binkley's lighting is an integral part of the production, and the Broward Center should be thrilled that the sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy is, by far, the best this venue has offered in years.

Messrs. Trujillo and McAnuff have led this multi-talented cast (many of whom play multiple roles) in a performance that makes me see, now, how it ran for so many years on Broadway.

Jersey Boys, through May 20th, 2018, at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5 Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale FL. For tickets, please call 954-462-0222 or online at www.browardcenter.org. For more information on the tour, visit www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour/.


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