Jersey Boys Review-The Orlando Times
Review: Orlando Gets A Taste of Jersey
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
ORLANDO - The story of four jersey boys, who harmonized under street lamp and went on to create a legacy of musical innovation, was brought to life in the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
“Jersey Boys” tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the 1960s pop group and eventual solo act. The story is told in part by the band members, each taking the helm of narrator to tell the story in their perspective.
It has been four years since “Jersey Boys” played Orlando. The show was directed by Des McAnuff and still maintains all the timeless and raw pieces that made it the 12th longest-running show on Broadway.
“Jersey Boys” opened on Broadway in 2005, ran for twelve years, won four Tony Awards (including Best Musical), produced a holiday album, became a major motion picture, and has continued to regularly tour in the U.S.
One the best performances of the night goes to Jonny Wexler, whose singing voice and acting skills brought his character of Frankie Valli to life. Wexler was fantastic and blew the crowd away with his ability to match Valli's signature falsetto.
Eric Chambliss as the group’s singer and songwriter, Bob Gaudio was another standout performance. Being that he was the last to join the group, it is after his introduction that the story really begins. Chambliss brought a youthful excitement and powerful vocals to his performance.
Corey Greenan gave a fun performance of the group’s trouble-maker and driving force behind their formation, Tommy DeVito. Greenan leaned into the caricature of Jersey natives, with an exaggerated accent, but was entertaining to watch and it fit the character perfectly.
As for Nick Massi, played by Jonathan Cable, his stoic and intimidating nature was balanced by touching scenes of reflections on his life.
One of my favorite aspects of this show came with the set layout and wise use of the stage, specifically, Michael Clark’s work with projection design. During certain performances the projection showed the men as they were on stage, in tuxedoes with four tall microphones and created an illusion that the audience was also watching them perform on the popular show ‘American Bandstand’, on a 60s-style black and white TV.
As for features that I felt didn’t work, the French rap at the beginning of the show caused more confusion than excitement.
Other than that, the rest of the show was fantastic to watch. The few but hard-working ensemble rotates through a large number of characters. To me, the standouts included Jeremy Sartin who played big-time mobster Gyp DeCarlo and Rick Desloge, as the comical Joe Pesci, (yes, he played a role in bringing the Four Seasons together before finding fame as an actor).
“Jersey Boys,” was such an entertaining show to watch. It was able to tell their story while also fluidly incorporating nearly 40 of their hits. While not a show for the whole family, it is the perfect mix of a bio-pic, a concert, and a mob flic. If you’re a fan of classic music, a story of fame and the obstacles it brings, “Jersey Boys” is the perfect fit for you.
For information about future performances at The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts visit www.drphillipscenter.org.