By Darlene Donloe
Mark Ballas is sensational! Yes, that Mark Ballas, the one who spent 18 seasons as a featured professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars.
Ballas is reprising his hit Broadway performance as Frankie Valli in the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, currently enjoying a run at the Ahmanson Theatre.
The Los Angeles engagement of the national tour runs through June 24.
Ballas made his Broadway debut in the role last fall (October 18, 2016-January 15, 2017).
Jersey Boys, directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff, tells the story of the 1960s hit pop group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The show is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons – warts and all. They were just four guys from Jersey whose sound was mesmerizing. Their harmonies were something unheard of. Their popularity shot through the roof. But while their music was pitch perfect, their personal lives were off key.
The show features all their hits including Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What A Night, Walk Like A Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Working My Way Back To You.
Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Ballas sings like an angel. He moves like a gazelle. He gives an all-around powerful and high-energy performance that draws you in. This role is made for him. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. He’s surrounded by a more-than-worthy ensemble cast that delivers the goods.
The real star of this show is the music, which keeps the audience swinging and swaying and mouthing the words to every song.
Kudos to Director Des McAnuff (Dr. Zhivago, Jesus Christ Superstar) who has helmed a memorable and entertaining show. The pace is quick with scenery flying in from the sides and up top, not to mention the cast getting into the act by seamlessly carrying on furniture and props with military-like precision.
|L-R: Keith Hines, Matthew Dailey, Mark Ballas and Cory Jeacoma in the national tour of "Jersey Boys," |
which plays May 16 through June 24, 2017, at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. Photo by Jim Carmody.
The cast of Jersey Boys features Matthew Dailey (Tommy DeVito), Keith Hines (Nick Massi) and Cory Jeacoma (Bob Gaudio) as The Four Seasons, with Barry Anderson and Thomas Fiscella.
The ensemble of Jersey Boys includes Mark Edwards, Corey Greenan, Bryan Hindle, David LaMarr, Austin Owen, Kristen Paulicelli, Leslie Rochette, Andrew Russell, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Dru Serkes, Jonny Wexler and Jesse Wildman.
Jersey Boys is the winner of the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award, the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia). Jersey Boys has been seen by over 24 million people worldwide (as of January, 2017).
Jersey Boys opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway to critical acclaim on November 6, 2005, running 11 record-breaking years and becoming the 12th longest running show in Broadway history.
|L-R: Mark Ballas and Cory Jeacoma|
Photo By Jim Carmody
Jersey Boys is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.
Jersey Boys, The Ahmanson Theatre, at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012; 8 p.m., Tues.-Fri.; 2 and 8 p.m. Sat.; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sun.; No performance on Mondays; exceptions: no performances on Sat., May 20; added performances on Mon., June 19 at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m., Thur., June 22; (213) 972-4400 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org; $25 – $125 (ticket prices are subject to change).
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Jersey Boys gets an E (excellent).