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October 3, 2013

Jersey Boys Devos Hall Review – Jersey Boys Rings True with Humor, Conflict

Jersey Boys musical is currently performing at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, MI through October 06, 2013.

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Jersey Boys Rings True with Humor, Conflict – Reviewed BY Sue Merrell Via MLive.com

Oh, what a night!

“Jersey Boys,” which opened Tuesday, Oct. 1, for a fairly full house of about 2,000 at DeVos Performance Hall, is every bit as smokin’ hot as when it won Best Musical on Broadway in 2005.

This tale of the ‘60s music group, The Four Seasons, reverberates with snappy, happy songs such as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.”

And that sound! The contrast of the rich bass line with stratospheric high notes still makes me shiver.

But the show is much more than a musical tribute.

Like the voice of the group’s iconic lead singer, Frankie Valli, “Jersey Boys” rises high above other juke box musicals that try to tack a group’s repertoire onto an unrelated script. This story, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, weaves the group’s songs into the tumultuous tale of their own roughneck-to-Billboard success.

The story is told by each of the four band members. Tommy DeVito (Nicholas Dromard) , the tough-guy lead guitarist who planted the seeds of the musical group, narrates the “spring” season, as various members and names are weeded out. Then songwriter and keyboardist Bob Gaudio (Jason Kappus) joins the group and narrates the hot “summer” years of success.

In Act II the dour bass guitarist Nick Massi (Brandon Andrus) tells of the group’s “fall,” including legal, money and family problems. Lead singer Frankie Valli (Nick Cosgrove) wraps it up with the “winter” transformation of Frankie fronting for a changing group of backup singers.

Something about rotating narrators gives the story balance and believability. It’s got plenty of humor, conflict, pathos, but mostly it rings true.

The four central actors are all spot-on with Jersey accents, smooth moves and that Four Season harmony. Cosgrove even wowed the audience by doing the splits on one song.

There are several great roles in the ensemble, including Ian Joseph who portrays a young Joe Pesci, with some of Pesci’s aw-shucks mannerisms. Barry Anderson is great fun as the group’s producer/lyricist Bob Crewe. And Thomas Fiscella made a great mob boss Gyp DeCarlo.

To paraphrase one of Frankie Vallie’s hit songs, I can’t take my eyes off “Jersey Boys.” It’s just too good to be true.

Read the complete review {Via MLive.com}

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