The Jersey Boys at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. for a surprise Christmas present. I'd never been to the theatre, never seen a musical other than high school productions. I was absolutely thrilled. We left early, on Monday, January 2nd, which was a Federal and District holiday. They weren't enforcing parking regulations, so we were able to park on the street, two car lengths from the doors to the National Theatre. And this was a good thing, because the parking garages were all surprise: closed! What do people do on holidays in DC? Sheesh.
We had lunch at an historic dive on the corner of 12th and E Streets, NW called Ollie's Trolley. My husband and daughter had burgers. I had a reuben, no sauce. The fries were seasoned. The food was good, but not memorable. My daughter and I opted to run across the street to Barnes and Noble for the restroom, rather than get the key for customers only at Ollie's.
Afterwards, we hoofed it up to 17th and I Streets, NW to Crumbs, a cupcake shop my daughter had a coupon for. We had done our homework online, and came prepared with a list of cupcakes we had wanted to try. Only problem, they were sold out of the ones they wanted. I had wanted the Avalanche, the Cupcake of the Month. Vanilla cake filled and frosted with vanilla buttercream topped with white chocolate curls. I don't like creamcheese, and this was the only one that didn't include any. It was possibly the best cupcake I'd ever eaten. With a fork. I love buttercream frosting, and this is stuffed with it! How clever and yummy.
The set reminded me of West Side Story, with a chain link fence and metal stairs and catwalks.
The cast for the evening included Joseph Leo Bwarie as Frankie Valli and he was superb. Dancing, singing, acting, breathing, the man had it all. He even did the splits. The quality of the production was impeccable. I had to keep reminding myself these guys were doing it all live. There were no gaffs whatsoever. They played close to forty of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs, all set in a skit around the music. Timothy Quinlan gave a hilarious portrayal of the music producer. The actor playing Tommy DeVito, John Gardiner was very good, because I hated him, so he made me believe. Michael Lomenda's portrayal of Nick Massi was endearing. Kevin Worley's Bob Guido role was spot on. I really liked the guy. But for me, Joseph Leo Bwarie stole the show. It was his. He was smokin' hot.
The audience went wild with applause after the boys performed my song, Sherry. The cast appeared surprised and gladdened. Bwarie touched two fingers to his heart. Sigh.
I had seen Frankie Valli in concert at Wolf Trapp in Vienna, Virginia twice on romantic dates with my hunky husband in the 1980's. We always got the cheap lawn seats and put a lot of thought into the picnic dinner we packed. Two things always happened to us at Wolf Trapp: The people on the blanket next to us always had a better looking picnic and it poured down rain.
I applaud Mr. Valli and all of the Four Seasons for their talent, perseverance and joy they continue to bring. And I really love the Jersey Boys!