Short & Sweet critic Kevin Miller reviews Jersey Boys with Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago

 
Provided by Broadway in Chicago; Video Production by Tribeca Flashpoint Film Academy
Updated 5/20/2015 10:59 AM
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Short & Sweet guest critic Kevin Miller of Schaumburg drew upon his unique background as a musician and a music department chair to share insights about the music in Broadway in Chicago's Jersey Boys. Miller was particularly impressed to see the pit drummer on stage the entire performance, and loved the horn section at the end. He was also drawn to the energy of the show and the fluidity of the set changes. In his words, "it's a high octane show."

See below for a review from Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago

The boys from Jersey are back for the opening night of the Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award winning musical Jersey Boys playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. This show is the granddaddy of the Juke Box Musical that inspired a new generation of shows like Beautiful -- The Carole King Musical, Rock of Ages and Motown the Musical. But there's a reason Jersey Boys continues to sell out year after year and it's because it is truly one of the best scripts, giving us a peek behind the curtain of the classic 60's boy band.

My Daily Herald guest audience critic is retired band teacher and music department chair for Schaumburg High School, Kevin Miller. Kevin had a fantastic observation of the show-within-a-show concept; he thought the band, portrayed by the pit orchestra who performed on stage with the cast, was a metaphor and nod to the fact that the music was the constant that drove them. It is the music and the real musicians of Jersey Boys that is integral to the show's success. As a music educator, he noted how difficult it is to stay together when the band is separated and gave kudos to the drummers and horn section that performed away from the rest of the band (on stage) for parts of the show without missing a beat.

The casting of this touring company veered a bit from the traditional slick, pretty-boy-band, with more of a nod to "The Sopranos" and a thuggish Tommy DeVito (by Matthew Dailey) and Nick Massi (Keith "Hines) who, delivered an interesting "rough-around the-edges" texture, tension and grit. The quartet hits all the right notes when their harmonies come together in "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Rag Doll," "Oh What a Night" and "I Can't take my Eyes off of You." Hayden Milanes, who plays Frankie Valli, is one of the best I've seen as he's likable and strong in the role and Drew Seeley, who recently joined the cast playing legendary songwriter Bob Gaudio, is an exceptional actor. The women in the show are strong and energetic; the audience loved their sharp tongued one-liners. The flow of the show is tight thanks to director Des McAnuff, and choreographer Sergio Trujillo seamlessly integrates the scene changes into the choreography.

It's hard not to love the Jersey Boys. I think we all wish the world would return to a time where a handshake meant more than a contract, loyalty had a life-long commitment and music inspired generations. There's a lot more to be reminded of in Jersey Boys than a few great songs.

The show runs about 2 hours and 30 minutes with an intermission and is great for the entire family. On behalf of the Daily Herald, and Broadway In Chicago, I look forward to seeing you at the theatre! Thanks for reading!

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