Monday, April 16, 2007


Yesterday’s nor'easter did not dampen the spirit of the audience and the cast of the “jukebox musical” JERSEY BOYS at the August Wilson Theater. I saw the special Actors Fund performance last night and I enjoyed the show as much as I did the first time I saw this Tony Award winning Broadway musical. Slickly directed by Des McAnuff, JERSEY BOYS tells the story of the legendary FRANKIE VALLI and THE FOUR SEASONS, blue-collar boys from New Jersey who formed a singing group and reached the heights of rock 'n' roll stardom. They wrote their own songs, created their own style and sounds, and sold 175 million records worldwide. Although I am not familiar with all the songs, I really enjoyed the performance. The Four Seasons’ story contains plenty of drama, and book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice tell the band’s strange-but-true story in a smart, fast-paced and entertaining manner. The original cast performed last night led by JOHN LLOYD YOUNG who won a Tony for Best Actor last year for playing the role of Valli. His brilliant acting, short stature, pretty Italian features, and a pretty falsetto make him the perfect Valli. His co-stars are all fine actors, too, especially Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer. The “industrial” set designed by Klara Zieglerova reflects the band's working-class New Jersey beginnings. Comic book images inspired by Roy Lichtenstein's pop art paintings, as well as the Ed Sullivan Show TV clips from the ‘60s were projected on huge screens.

The Actors Fund performance is “special” in that Broadway companies generously donate their time and talent by adding a ninth performance to benefit the Actors Fund. This Fund is a nationwide human services organization that helps all professionals in the performing arts. The Fund provides programs ans services for those who are in need, crisis and transition. For people who appreciate getting inspired, moved and entertained by performing artists, I think that this is a good organization to support.

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