Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Also see Jeffrey's review of An Accident
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/.