|Photos courtesy of Stage West Calgary - John Watson Photography|
Then there are their impressive Broadway recreations on that same intimate stage- Spamalot, Dreamgirls, Chicago, and The Producers - most often rising above and beyond the best efforts in any of their other categories.
The recently opened Jersey Boys, a hit Broadway production (and eventually a movie) on the rise, struggles and successes of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons rubs shoulders with those aforementioned accomplishments - right alongside some of my favourites seen there.
|Photo John Watson Photography, courtesy Stage West Calgary|
It doesn’t hurt that this jukebox musical has been such a massive success, and with good reason - the stories and music are interesting, the actors are sharp, and the director has fit all those parts together to keep things as brisk as intended. There are not a whole lot of lulls to slow things down, aside from the opening bits - fairly typical of any story as exposition slowly unfolds the direction of the narrative…
I’ll have far more to say in my official Calgary Herald review, but for now, let’s touch on some highlights:
Casting - Director Liz Gilroy has assembled yet another boffo cast to bring these characters to life, and in many cases even a few more characters along the way for some of the actors. While I had not yet seen any big touring production of this show, I had seen THE Jersey Boy himself live, and I can say without hesitation that Evan Taylor Benyacar (in his Stage West debut) handles the Frankie Valli vocals effortlessly. This is crucial for the audience to buy into the illusion, and I’d say the enthusiastic response when I attended supported that buy-in.
Direction - Liz Gilroy continues to expand her catalogue of hit productions at Stage West with Jersey Boys - alongside Legally Blonde and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat to mention just a couple.
Choreography - Phil Nero has recreated the ’60’s in every aspect of the dancing in this outing - pure authenticity.
|John Watson Photography, courtesy Stage West Calgary|
As I say, I’ll expand on all of this in my official Calgary Herald review, but for now I have to say, Stage West keeps adding to their proud tradition of executing stellar Broadway productions, especially in the musical biography vein.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Jersey Boys runs at Stage West Calgary until Feb 3, 2019.