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JERSEY BOYS ****** Paris Hotel and Casino Las Vegas http://www.parislasvegas.com/shows/jersey-boys.html#.UwLsJsuYa00 The theater hosting this event is probably one of the bigger ones here in Vegas, equipped with all fancy finery such as crystal chandeliers, chairs and walls in dark red, as well as a large stage. We were fortunate enough to acquire seats in the first row (spectacular viewing, you’re able to enjoy the experience up close and personal, truly register every nuance and facial expression of the actors), but due to the high elevation you will probably be able to see well no matter where you end up. Jersey Boys runs for over 2 hours, so you will surely be happy to know that the plush chairs will accommodate you very comfortably and snugly for the whole duration. The management displays great lavishness as far as the air-conditioning is concerned, turning the venue into a place of truly Antarctic temperatures. I would advise to dress warmly. Ladies: unless you have an internal heating dynamo, you will most likely regret wearing that tiny little dress and no tights! You will be especially sorry about the notion of becoming a wanton, wild woman while in Sin City and skipping the underwear. But if you absolutely must do all that, then at least grab a warm Grandma sweater, you can thank me later! Jersey Boys tells us the story of how four young men from New Jersey managed to overcome their humble circumstances (a criminal background was also a part of the deal with a couple of them) and shoot to international stardom with their ever- so-popular band, the Four Seasons. The set-up feels very authentic right from the beginning: retro costumes and heavy Jersey accents serve to nicely transform the audience in time and space. And soon enough the excellent music takes us back to the 50s and 60s, causing a wave of nostalgia to wash over not only those who enjoyed it first-hand. I must say I have fondly watched a few ladies of rather advanced age exhibiting such boundless enthusiasm at the familiar tunes that I can only guess those must have brought back an abundance of vivid (and probably naughty)  memories of good-times past. If excitedly jumping up and down in your chair would be anything to go by. The plot starts with Frankie Valli’s teenage years and, accompanied by the excellent and evergreen hits, takes us on a journey throughout the group’s history, depicting all their ups and downs:  picturing the first confrontation with fame and everything in between, all the way until their eventual split-up. From idyll to destruction, the sad fate demonstrated by so many other popular bands, both then and now...  All their chart toppers are featured it this production, so you will be able to feast your ears on such titles as: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Beggin’, Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and many more. What I found truly fascinating is how certain events in their lives influenced or inspired the songs they wrote: every major Billboard success has an intriguing, funny or heart-breaking story behind it. “Oh What a Night” being a perfect example of how the occurrences leading to this creation might not always have been in the, ehem, wholesome category. I considered the overall level of the show very satisfactory: all the performers could not only sing ridiculously well (the timbre of their voices very closely resembled that of their original counterparts), but also demonstrated some outstanding acting skills. This is not your typical musical where the characters sing at each other in lieu of dialogue and burst into song at the most inappropriate moments, happily announcing in an upbeat tune that life has failed to impress them and thus they might seek some comfort in making high impact contact with Mother Earth by means of a strategic jump from a bridge.  Here the music is naturally integrated into the storyline simply as part of the band performing their hits. Therefore the ability to act seems like a definite bonus: this production is constructed more like a play with numerous vocal interludes rather than a typical musical. The action flows very quickly, has a dynamic quality to it, although several scenes might contain material not strictly necessary for the integrity of the plot, frankly some of it just appears a bit redundant. The production features a lot of comedy elements, comical exchanges between the characters, but also an abundance of juicy language. Debra Morgan has nothing on me, so I don’t mind, but be warned if you’re on the sensitive side. This highly amusing, course bantering certainly deserved all the laughs it got! Besides that there are real cigarettes being smoked on stage, even a prop joint makes a short appearance. However, for those of you terrified of second-hand smoke I probably would not worry about it too much, indeed the fumes would have to display true ingenuity to actually manage to reach you in this huge theater :-). This show cast is kept rather small: it consists of the four main protagonists (The Four Seasons original members) and a few other actors, who play multiple roles. All the female parts are shared between just three girls, which definitely calls for some really swift costume changes. As far as staging goes, there are several screens on the sides, as well as one serving as a backdrop. Those enhance the production by providing graphic elements (mostly cartoon-style) and several clips mimicking live broadcasts of the band’s TV appearances. The decorating aspect seems to be kept at a bare minimum, besides a bridge-like construction with stairs leading up to it on both sides all you will see throughout the performance are single props either rolled onto the stage, dropped from the ceiling or appearing from under the floor. With this minimalistic approach the spectator can concentrate on what truly matters here, namely the superb music. The sound quality impressed us with its perfect balance between clarity and volume: even seating in the first row it did not seem too loud or overwhelming. To sum up: did the musical change my life or fill me with some profound, overwhelming inspiration? Did it present the world to me in a new, more enlightened perspective? No, it did not. I knew how universally celebrated this production is, presumably only a Hermit would be able to remain unaware of that kind of hype. A Hermit with no Internet connection that is. Therefore my expectations ran high, I already anticipated to be absolutely blown away. But it was hardly earth-shattering. In the end I think the recipe for success here is quite simple and based on models practiced for centuries. Put on some well- known, easy-on-the-ear tunes, throw in some comedy, a few sad parts to soften the audience and you have just created a smash. An even easier undertaking if you already have all the hits written for you, hits not only widely known, but also cherished by generations. With that being said, I still would recommend Jersey Boys as a very good show. Whatever they’re offering here, they’re doing it very well and achieve a commendably high standard in every single aspect of the production.

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JERSEY BOYS ****** Paris Hotel and Casino Las Vegas http://www.parislasvegas.com/shows/jersey -boys.html#.UwLsJsuYa00 The theater hosting this event is probably one of the bigger ones here in Vegas, equipped with all fancy finery such as crystal chandeliers, chairs and walls in dark red, as well as a large stage. We were fortunate enough to acquire seats in the first row (spectacular viewing, you’re able to enjoy the experience up close and personal, truly register every nuance and facial expression of the actors), but due to the high elevation you will probably be able to see well no matter where you end up. Jersey Boys runs for over 2 hours, so you will surely be happy to know that the plush chairs will accommodate you very comfortably and snugly for the whole duration. The management displays great lavishness as far as the air-conditioning is concerned, turning the venue into a place of truly Antarctic temperatures. I would advise to dress warmly. Ladies: unless you have an internal heating dynamo, you will most likely regret wearing that tiny little dress and no tights! You will be especially sorry about the notion of becoming a wanton, wild woman while in Sin City and skipping the underwear. But if you absolutely must do all that, then at least grab a warm Grandma sweater, you can thank me later! Jersey Boys tells us the story of how four young men from New Jersey managed to overcome their humble circumstances (a criminal background was also a part of the deal with a couple of them) and shoot to international stardom with their ever-so-popular band, the Four Seasons. The set-up feels very authentic right from the beginning: retro costumes and heavy Jersey accents serve to nicely transform the audience in time and space. And soon enough the excellent music takes us back to the 50s and 60s, causing a wave of nostalgia to wash over not only those who enjoyed it first-hand. I must say I have fondly watched a few ladies of rather advanced age exhibiting such boundless enthusiasm at the familiar tunes that I can only guess those must have brought back an abundance of vivid (and probably naughty)  memories of good-times past. If excitedly jumping up and down in your chair would be anything to go by. The plot starts with Frankie Valli’s teenage years and, accompanied by the excellent and evergreen hits, takes us on a journey throughout the group’s history, depicting all their ups and downs:  picturing the first confrontation with fame and everything in between, all the way until their eventual split-up. From idyll to destruction, the sad fate demonstrated by so many other popular bands, both then and now...  All their chart toppers are featured it this production, so you will be able to feast your ears on such titles as: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Beggin’, Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You  and many more. What I found truly fascinating is how certain events in their lives influenced or inspired the songs they wrote: every major Billboard success has an intriguing, funny or heart-breaking story behind it. “Oh What a Night” being a perfect example of how the occurrences leading to this creation might not always have been in the, ehem, wholesome category. I considered the overall level of the show very satisfactory: all the performers could not only sing ridiculously well (the timbre of their voices very closely resembled that of their original counterparts), but also demonstrated some outstanding acting skills. This is not your typical musical where the characters sing at each other in lieu of dialogue and burst into song at the most inappropriate moments, happily announcing in an upbeat tune that life has failed to impress them and thus they might seek some comfort in making high impact contact with Mother Earth by means of a strategic jump from a bridge.  Here the music is naturally integrated into the storyline simply as part of the band performing their hits. Therefore the ability to act seems like a definite bonus: this production is constructed more like a play with numerous vocal interludes rather than a typical musical. The action flows very quickly, has a dynamic quality to it, although several scenes might contain material not strictly necessary for the integrity of the plot, frankly some of it just appears a bit redundant. The production features a lot of comedy elements, comical exchanges between the characters, but also an abundance of juicy language. Debra Morgan has nothing on me, so I don’t mind, but be warned if you’re on the sensitive side. This highly amusing, course bantering certainly deserved all the laughs it got! Besides that there are real cigarettes being smoked on stage, even a prop joint makes a short appearance. However, for those of you terrified of second-hand smoke I probably would not worry about it too much, indeed the fumes would have to display true ingenuity to actually manage to reach you in this huge theater :-). This show cast is kept rather small: it consists of the four main protagonists (The Four Seasons original members) and a few other actors, who play multiple roles. All the female parts are shared between just three girls, which definitely calls for some really swift costume changes. As far as staging goes, there are several screens on the sides, as well as one serving as a backdrop. Those enhance the production by providing graphic elements (mostly cartoon-style) and several clips mimicking live broadcasts of the band’s TV appearances. The decorating aspect seems to be kept at a bare minimum, besides a bridge-like construction with stairs leading up to it on both sides all you will see throughout the performance are single props either rolled onto the stage, dropped from the ceiling or appearing from under the floor. With this minimalistic approach the spectator can concentrate on what truly matters here, namely the superb music. The sound quality impressed us with its perfect balance between clarity and volume: even seating in the first row it did not seem too loud or overwhelming. To sum up: did the musical change my life or fill me with some profound, overwhelming inspiration? Did it present the world to me in a new, more enlightened perspective? No, it did not. I knew how universally celebrated this production is, presumably only a Hermit would be able to remain unaware of that kind of hype. A Hermit with no Internet connection that is. Therefore my expectations ran high, I already anticipated to be absolutely blown away. But it was hardly earth- shattering. In the end I think the recipe for success here is quite simple and based on models practiced for centuries. Put on some well-known, easy-on-the-ear tunes, throw in some comedy, a few sad parts to soften the audience and you have just created a smash. An even easier undertaking if you already have all the hits written for you, hits not only widely known, but also cherished by generations. With that being said, I still would recommend Jersey Boys as a very good show. Whatever they’re offering here, they’re doing it very well and achieve a commendably high standard in every single aspect of the production.
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