“Jersey Boys” tour as fresh as ever (East Lansing, Wharton Center) Review

Okay, granted, the Wharton Center is a bit late in the game with the Broadway tour of Jersey Boys which has been traveling around the country for years now…but the production currently appearing in East Lansing is as fresh as ever, with a fine cast.

Lead by Joseph Leo Bwarie (in the Frankie Valli role) and a very strong Preston Truman Boyd (as Bob Gaudio), the entire cast looks and sounds terrific (For the record, Michael Lomenda and Matt Bailey round out the quartet). The women are as strong as the men in this cast, and the vocal sound is top notch across the board. In fact, when Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons come to life in their big numbers, they sound better then the REAL Frankie Valli and company. Bravo.

The tour also has the virtue of having to adapt its sound system into hundreds of theaters in the past few years, hence they have it down to an art, and it sounds fantastic in the Wharton Center. No dead spots here. It sounds great.

The audience ate up the show. The cheering, clapping, and shouting start early in the evening, and raise to fever-pitch by show’s end by which time the audience is standing and dancing along.

If you have never seen Jersey Boys, it’s terrific as a show — the music is interwoven into a smart script that never gets too “musical” but never strays far from the roots of theater. The direction and choreography are sharp and work well in both more intimate as well as larger numbers. It’s a show that has found its popularity among those who don’t usually like musical theater. No tap-dancing and magic tricks here. Just pure, theatrical magic.

By all means, go visit these Jersey Boys…the show is as fresh as ever, and that’s saying a lot when its been as well-traveled. To quote Frankie, it just keeps “going and going like the Energizer Bunny”.  You should go see it, too. If you’ve seen it before, you already know how terrific the show is, and this cast will win you over. If you’ve never seen it before, you are in for a treat.

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