JERSEY BOYS STAR SAYS “BYE, BYE BABY” TO STAGE ROLE OF FRANKIE VALLI
Actor/Recording artist Joseph Leo Bwarie to depart Jersey Boys for recording studio
LOS ANGELES, CA (August 9, 2012) – After a four year, 45-city run, actor Joseph Leo Bwarie, critically-acclaimed for his starring role as Frankie Valli in the 1st National Tour of the hit musical Jersey Boys, will depart the production on August 12, 2012 to begin work on his second solo studio album. Bwarie said, “I will forever be a champion of Jersey Boys and the talented people who bring this incredible show to audiences everywhere, however, I look forward to this great opportunity to explore and expand my brand of music.”
“Joe Leo” is the working title of Bwarie’s second collaboration with legendary producer/arranger Charles Calello. The duo have reassembled much of the personnel for the upcoming live session dates at Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, FL and at Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA. “We are approaching modern big band in a very dynamic, theatrical way – Calello and I have had fun filling this record with unexpected surprises and the track list is some of the best of the American Songbook,” continued Bwarie. Expect the lush arrangements and powerful vocals to rival those from his debut along with fresh Latin inspired tracks featuring powerhouse percussionists Paulinho Da Costa and Tito Puente, Jr.
Bwarie’s first solo record, “Nothin’ But Love,” hit stores in June, 2011. iTunes deemed the Traditional Pop/Swing record “New and Noteworthy,” and the pop-jazz crossover quickly climbed into the top 10 iTunes Jazz chart. Independently-released, “Nothin’ But Love” has garnered attention across the globe remaining in the top 10 for 52 solid weeks on www.popjazzradio.com – breaking all records for the European site. Additionally, Bwarie’s songs can be heard on the radio in the U.S., Canada, South America, Spain, Italy, Germany and the U.K.
“This record is going to pick up where “Nothin’ But Love” left off with the Bwarie spin on classics by Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and many other greats. I can’t wait to share this with fans across the country and abroad, whose enthusiasm for the Bwarie brand of music is so inspiring to me as an independent artist,“ shared Bwarie.
The Jersey Boys return to Chicago…And, Oh, What a Night it is at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre.
By Carole Kuhrt Brewer
Chicago, Friday, April 13, 2012. Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons are back in town after a nearly two year absence. This time around, they are part of a new touring production of the mega-hit Jersey Boys that has already played to over 13 million people worldwide. The show which opened Wednesday at The Bank of America Theatre is every bit as good, if not better, than the original.
The premier engagement of Jersey Boys played Chicago for over two years between 2007 and 2010 with over 951 performances and was seen by more than one million theatergoers. If you want to catch Jersey Boysthis time around, you’ll have to be quick on your feet as it is here for a brief nine week run–only through June 2, 2012.
Most people come to Jersey Boys for the music. With such memorable hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” that would be reason enough. But Jersey Boys doesn’t just stop and start with the music. The musical also tells a compelling story based on the real life of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi.
The story follows the group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey through their ins and outs with the law, their life on the road and their relationships with their families to their meteoric rise to the top of the American pop music scene in the 1960s. The group did what no other had done at the time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide–all before they were thirty.
The cast for the current production is superb. Frankie Vallie played byJoseph Leo Bwarie is a knock-out. Bwarie has toured over 40 cities spanning almost 4 years in the Valli role including opening Jersey BoysLas Vegas and Toronto. He may be the best yet in the Valli role. Bwarie has an amazing vocal range that produces a haunting falsetto that brings down the house when he sings “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” backed by the full on-stage (and off-stage) orchestra–rocking the entire theatre. In addition, he is a powerful actor who has a special chemistry with the rest of the cast members as well as the audience. (PLEASE NOTE: If you want to see Bwarie in the Valli role, he only plays evenings. Nick Cosgrove, who I have not seen, will play the Valli role at all Wed. and Thurs. matinees, plus Sunday evenings and on April 12, 17 and 24.).
The rest of the cast is exceptional. Preston Truman Boyd, plays the talented Bob Gaudio, the youngest member of the group. Gaudio wrote the 1950’s hit “Who Wears Short, Shorts” at age fifteen, two years before he joined the fold and then went on to lead the group into the stratosphere with an on-going string of hits. The Tommy DeVito character, who founded the group, is played with just the right amount of spunk and toughness by John Gardiner. Michael Lomenda who plays Nick Massi is a perfect fit for the role of the fourth wheel who compares his position in The Four Seasons to Ringo’s with The Beatles.