Jersey Boys – New cast – 24th March 2013

24 Mar

I am just back from seeing the new cast of Jersey Boys and although I was planning to get a review of Once done first i feel like I should write down my thoughts now while they are still fresh in my memory.

As some of you will know I have been a regular at Jersey Boys since the show started. That means I have seen five casts come and go. A new cast always needs time to settle in and there’s usually the odd one or two people in it who’s portrayal of a part is not to my taste. That’s natural and I have never let this affect my overall enjoyment of the show.

So here I am with Jersey Boys cast number six. Before I start I want you all to know that Jersey Boys has been a vital part of my life for the last five years. I love that show dearly. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ryan Molloy continues to lead the cast as Frankie Valli. He’s the Jersey Boys veteran having been with the show right from the start. He gets accused of looking bored on stage now and then and while I do think he has good and not so good days I have nothing but praise for his performance. Even on a not so good day he delivers a top class performance. His voice is flawless and he is a born performer and entertainer. I adore his Frankie, simple as that.

Jon Boydon plays Tommy DeVito for the fourth year. His portrayal is spot on and he gives the show a kind of security. Jon has been a tower of strength during the last three years an he continues to be just that in his year number four.

Edd Post has take over the part of Bob Gaudio after understudying the role for a year. His singing is good yet not amazing which is especially noticeable in “Oh what a night” which lacks strength. Personally I don’t like all of his acting choices. His Bobby comes across as very confident right from the start which means there’s no real development in the character’s behaviour throughout the show. His acting doesn’t seem natural to me sometimes and I am missing proper chemistry between him and Ryan.

David McGranaghan is Nick Massi. Personally I have yet to find someone who can compete with Philip Bulcock’s Nick. But I have so far enjoyed at least parts of the performance of every Nick Massi I’ve seen. Nick has to be likeable. He is the “outsider” in the group despite being one of Frankie’s closest friends and mentor. Yet he is the one the audience needs to fall for – the guy that never really fit in but was such a vital part of the group nevertheless.
My problem with David’s Nick is quite simple: For me he is not likeable. His Nick is like a stubborn teenager who is sulking because he doesn’t get his way. I don’t feel for him, I just want to tell him to pull himself together.

Will Barratt is in my eyes the best addition to the cast. His Bob Crewe is camp without losing his authenticity. It’s nice to see a portrayal of the part again that I can actually relate to. Bob Crewe has been such a vital part of the band’s history. It’s important to not let him lose his dignity by turning him into a walking joke.

The rest of the cast does a good job. I can’t fault the individuals – they handle their parts well. Rebecca Jayne Davies is a rather feisty but cute Francine and Mark Halliday makes a good Donnie & Knuckles. Ben Evans who is now back in the cast, is still a great Joey (on this occasion – the part is usually played by Ben Jennings). And it is nice to see Chris Gardner get an extra appearance right at the start of the show when he takes on the little dance part usually performed by the person playing Bob Crewe.

However, all of this brings me to one major point – Jersey Boys needs a cast that works well together and has great onstage chemistry. After the previous four cast changes I have always felt that chemistry straight away. It’s like a sparkle that makes you aware of what a tight company you are watching.
Sitting in the theatre tonight I realised this sparkle was missing. I was watching the show that has meant so much to me for five years and it just didn’t feel right. There was little chemistry between the four leads. You could catch Ryan turning to Edd during a song and Edd just staring straight ahead and not even acknowledging Ryan. That’s just one example but it stands for what I was missing while watching the show. There was no real bond between the four leads.
That combined with the – in my opinion – not too fitting acting choices of the two new guys resulted in a lack of heart and soul in the show.

Of course, the new cast is still settling in and I’m sure they will work together better with time. But I have to be honest, I was just disappointed after watching the performance tonight. This is not the show I fell in love with. This was just another musical and nothing special.

It saddens me to say this but I won’t be rushing back to see the show again soon. Yes, I will watch it again at some point because after all some of my favourite performer are still in the cast. I won’t stop supporting them and their work. But I won’t be a regular visitor like I used to be over the past five years.

For me this is the end of an era and I’m quite simply devastated (I know that sounds rather dramatic speaking of nothing more than a West End musical). I want nothing but the best for this show and I wish I could keep loving it the way I used to.

32 Responses to “Jersey Boys – New cast – 24th March 2013”

  1. corrina banks March 25, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    Thanks for your review of the new jersey boys cast stefi I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much this time as I know you are a big fan. I also am a huge fan of this show having seen it a good few times.I’m due to go back down from Scotland in a few weeks to see it again and it will be interesting to see how the new cast perform together.Ryan and Jon have always delivered first class performances when I have been down as did eugene and Matt so it will be interesting how the new guys fit in. Hopefully I will not be disappointed and I’m sorry that you feel it is not the same. Maybe when you come again you will feel differently about it.I follow your theatre blogs with great interest as I’m an avid theatre goer and enjoy reading your reviews of different shows.
    Thanks again
    Corrina Banks

    • theatregirl March 25, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and comment. I really hope you enjoy the show when you see it again. I wanted to like it but sadly I couldn’t.
      I’m still a big supporter of several people in the cast so I will be back at some point I’m sure.
      Fortunately the people I like tend to do other things beside the show – Ryan will do gigs in the near future, Jon tends to gig now and then, Ben Wheeler appears with Bloomfield Avenue. So at least I can see those guys outside of the show and keep supporting them. 🙂

      • corrina banks March 25, 2013 at 10:45 am #

        Yeah i’m a big fan of ryan he has a beautiful voice and i would love to see him perform some of his own music but its difficult with being so far away from london i,ve met him a few times and hes a lovely guy as is jon but i will go back and see jersey boys and see what i think and hopefully i will enjoy the new cast . Like yourself i,ve been going to see the show for 5 years and would love to continue. I will let you know my thoughts after i,ve seen it in april. Thanks for replying

      • theatregirl March 25, 2013 at 10:57 am #

        Yes, please do. I would love to hear the thoughts of someone who has seen every cast like myself. 🙂

  2. shez March 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    This show is special to me also Steffi! I may not have been going for as long as you but it all started after Stephen Gately from Boyzone passed away. I was deeply upset and got in touch with other fans who were going through the same thing. I found out after he died that he was going to be in JB. There was rumours that he was meant to take over from Ryan as Frankie but after the tragedy Ryan said that he would stay. I’m not sure how true that was and I’ve never spoken to Ryan about it. Thinking about it now maybe he was meant to be in it instead of Jon Lee… who knows! My friend Vix who I met through the Stephen Gately official Forum introduced me to the show, although I didn’t know if I could watch it in case I got upset. I ended up falling in love with the show although still to this day get a bit teary during the end when Frankie says ‘I’m like that bunny on t.v’ as the duracell bunny was Stephen’s nick name as he was always so lively. Knowing that Stephen loved the show was my comfort and I got addicted. Unfortunately I wasn’t too impressed with some of the last cast and went less. I will be waiting for the new cast to settle in well before I attempt to see it again. It makes me sad to think that it’s never going to be the same. I’ll stay hopeful though. Thanks for your honest review.

  3. Christy May 12, 2013 at 6:00 am #

    Think it’s still worth seeing Jersey boys and see this new cast perform? I’m from Australia and have seen the OZ Production & loved it! one day on youtube i discovered the wonderful & talented Mr Molloy (He’s amazing!) and ever since have been dying to see him for real! =) I’m visiting London (hopefully) at the end of the yr and would love to go to see a few shows in the west end! Any others you could recommend?

    • theatregirl May 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      Oh of course it is! People still love the show and Ryan is as amazing as ever (make sure you check out his schedule before booking though as he never does more than six shows a week, sometimes less).

      I’d recommend Once and Matilda. Book of Mormon is fantastic as well (probably the hottest ticket in town). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is opening soon as could be really good.

      • Christy May 13, 2013 at 1:59 am #

        Definitely will go and see jersey boys than! I have wanted to see it for a while! =) I would love to hear your opinion (read your review) once you have seen it again. Have you seen jon lee as Frankie? what you think? as a lot of ppl say he is not as strong as Ryan. Thank you for your recommendations & def will check them out x

      • theatregirl May 13, 2013 at 2:10 am #

        I have seen Jon Lee several times and he’s not one of my favourite Frankies. But a lot of people like his Frankie a lot. All personal preference in the end. 🙂

      • Christy May 13, 2013 at 2:38 am #

        thanks for your reply and honesty. Sorry for all my questions & if i was annoying at all x

      • theatregirl May 13, 2013 at 3:14 am #

        No worries at all. Love chatting to people so ask away anytime. 🙂

  4. Colin October 1, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    I agree in part to your assessment of the show. I do think Ryan has given a couple of poorer performances (maybe he wasnt feeling great) etc etc.. that happens. Ive seen jersey boys in london-New york and vegas. Im going to see it again this week. Probably my 10th-11th time overall. I still maintain that jon boydon is the best Tommy De Vito in any show I have seen.

    Your comments on nick massi are correct and I always liked eugene his comedic delivery is perfect!

    When will you next go see the show?

    • theatregirl October 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Hi! I’ve actually seen the show quite a few times since I worte that review. I gave it about 2 months before I went to see the current cast again. It still doesn’t feel perfectly right but most of the new guys have improved a lot I think, especially Edd. Still not keen on David’s Nick but I managed to catch Mark Isherwood in the part again which was brilliant (he’s my second favourite Nick right after Philip Bulcock).
      Personally I think Ben Wheeler is the best Tommy – for me he just captures the part perfectly and no performance is ever the same (one thing that always slightly bugs me about Jon’s portrayal – he’s really good but he is always exactly the same… but then that’s only something a repeat visitor will notice so it’s no issue in the end).

      Ryan has delivered some stellar performances lately. He’s really back to the best he can be which is great to see.

      I’m watching the show again this Saturday. 🙂

  5. Colin October 7, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Hi, I was there last Thursday evening and I have to say Ryan delivered his best performance ive personally seen (think my 5th time of seeing him) dont know if it was just me but he appeared more emotional on the song fallen angel even missing a lyric or two (perhaps on purpose?) can you ask him?

    I seen an improvement in Davids comedy delivery in his portrayal as Nick. Edd wasnt performing last Thu but the guy who usually plays hank stepped in and done ok (his portrayal felt more like a geeky bob)

    I get your point on Jon but theres something about the way he carries the persona of Tommy he is a strong singer I think – sometimes he over powers the other singers when they harmonise however.

    what is your thoughts on the upcoming movie and how you think it should pan out onscreen?

    • theatregirl October 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      Ryan tends to miss out lines in Fallen Angel (and sometimes mess up other lines as well). It’s not intentionally. Sometimes he makes up whole new lines. 😉

      I love Chris Gardner’s Bob. I prefer him to Edd although Stephen, James and Matt will always be my favourites in the part.

      Not really interested in the movie I admit. I like Jersey Boys as a stage show. I don’t really want to see it on screen.

  6. Colin October 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    he did a good job of disguising forgetting them then…lol. Matts Bob was very very good also. You dont think you will even want a sneaky pic of it on screen?

    Do you think the cast will enjoy playing a new venue next year?

    If you see Jon Boydon please do pass on my congrats on his fantastic portrayal of Tommy De Vito.

    • theatregirl October 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Oh I’m sure I’ll end up seeing the movie at some point. It’s just not something I’m excited about.

      Next year will be very different and I’m expecting quite a big cast change in March.

      Will do next time I see him. 🙂

      • Colin November 25, 2013 at 9:11 am #

        I seen the show again last week and must say I thought the chemistry between all 4 has become much better. Edd Post was much better as Bob than when I last seen him.

        Jon Boydon delivered a first class performance as usual. Will there be cast changes when they move.Heard Jon and Edd both signed up for another year.

  7. theatregirl November 25, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Yes, there will be cast changes but most are not officially confirmed yet. David has confirmed he is leaving.

  8. Colin November 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Ryan wont be leaving surely??? what was your thoughts on the show – You went last week right?

    • theatregirl November 26, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

      Ryan is undecided so far. Personally I wish he would leave. It’s time for him to do something new. However I completely understand his motives if he decides to stay on.

      I went last week (on Ryan’s birthday actually). The new cast have settled in quite well. I still don’t rate David’s Nick though. And I do think the current cast is the weakest out of all 6 cast years we’ve had in the London show.

  9. Colin December 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Any news if Ryan is leaving then? I am going to see the show again end January or early February.I have never seen Ben Jennings as Frankie. I trust your opinion is it worth holding out to see Ben? Ive seen everyone else as Frankie.. Will be interesting to see who they cast as Nick…….

    • theatregirl December 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Ryan still hasn’t decided.
      I haven’t seen Ben’s Frankie so can’t comment on him. I’ve heard good things though.
      Personally I’m now trying to catch Ryan whenever I go as he is one of my main reasons I continue to watch the show regularly. 🙂

  10. Colin January 6, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    Any news yet if ryan is staying on… e.g past March once the move happens? Also I am planning to go see the show early feb either 5th or 6th Feb. Any chance of knowing if Jon Boydon will defenitely be there on either dates..? I know they say who the frankies are ahead of scheduled but you never know if someone has a holiday etc…

    The JB is going to piccadily theatre in March through to October do you think will get extended past October?

    • theatregirl January 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

      Jon doesn’t have any more holidays planned until cast change so unless he’s off ill he will be there.

      And Ryan has made his decision. I can’t share any info at this point though.

    • theatregirl January 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      Oh, and there’s no way to predict if the show will extend. A booking period from March to October is the norm. As always it’ll be a matter of ticket sales.

      • Colin January 7, 2014 at 8:34 am #

        Thanks for info.Im thinking Ryan will give it one more year at the new venue…

        Usually they advise who will play FV in advance but not so far thus far for 5th or 6th Feb – do you have any clues when these dates will be showing as who shall play frankie valli those dates..

        Sorry for bombardment but finding info is difficult.

        Thanks Colin

      • theatregirl January 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

        The next schedule might not be up until end of January. I’d keep an eye on both Jon Lee’s and Ryan’s website as the dates usually appear there as soon as they’ve been confirmed.

  11. Colin January 15, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Any news on Ryans situation?? Also im planning to go on either 5th or 6th February to JB. Any clues if Ryan will be on at least one of those dates? Nothing on websites yet.. Was hoping you could give me a little heads up..haha.
    Also who will take over from David as Nick? surely that has been cast now for the person to get up to speed?

    • theatregirl January 15, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      I can’t comment on the Ryan situation I’m afraid. Been sworn to secrecy. He will announce it soon though. The next schedule will be on the website once it has been confirmed. You’ll have to wait and see. 😉
      As to casting, I don’t know who is taking over as Nick. They usually don’t announce the cast 7 weeks before cast change. I’m expecting an official announcement sometime in February.

  12. Colin January 17, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    whats your views on JB as you seen it last night.. Surely ryan saying something by this weekend?

    • theatregirl January 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

      I’ve seen the show regularly over the past months. I’m enjoying it due to several cast members. It will never be the same as it used to be for me though.

      And no, Ryan hasn’t made his announcement yet.

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