Besides chronicling the groups rise to acclaim musically, the show centers on a code of conduct they follow that was learned in their youth on the streets of New Jersey. The show explore many situations explaining the manner in which following their Jersey street code helped them through bad situations – family tragedies, gambling debts and even death threats from the mafia. What is remarkable about the musical is that it illuminates the people behind the music that has remained popular for over forty years in America's affection.
Known as a "jukebox musical," it differs from most other productions in this genre as the prominence of its storytelling is unique to jukebox musicals, adding to its wide-ranging allure.
Critical reviews were generally very good to excellent.
New York times critic Ben Brantley wrote: "Inhaling the cheers of the crowd, Mr. Young as Mr. Valli glistens with that mix of tears and sweat, of humility and omnipotence, that signal that a hungry performer's need for approval has been more than met. And everything that has led up to that curtain call feels, for just a second, as real and vivid as the sting of your hands clapping together."
Talkin' Broadway reviewer Michael Murray has this to say about Jersey Boys: "McAnuff is the first jukebox musical director to really realize that even audiences held captive by their pop-song preconceptions deserve a show every bit as lively as a completely original show with something to prove. His work here isn't edgy - aside from their mob connections, The Four Seasons were the antithesis of edge - but it is razor sharp, with McAnuff keeping a controlling grip on the fiercely frantic nature he allows the show."
In addition to winning a Tony for Best Musical, the other three Tony Awards were Best Actor in a Musical (John Lloyd Young), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Christain Hoff) and Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Howell Binkley). It was also nominated for other Tony Awards: Best Book of a Musical (Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman), Best Direction of a Musical (Des McAnuff), Best Orchestrations (Steve Orich) and Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Klara Zieglerova). The show also won several Drama Desk awards and nominations, along with several wins and nominations by Critic's Choice.
New Yorkers who have not yet seen the show and those planning to visit New York City must order Jersey Boys Tickets for an evening of entertainment that they will surely enjoy.
Jersey Boys is often referred to as a jukebox styled musical by many viewers. The musical’s music created from Bob Guadio, lyrics from Bob Crewe, the musical is documentary type musical in how it is presented. This allows for there to be drama surrounding the forming, the success and breakup of The Four Seasons during the 1960s, who were a rock and roll group. The musical is created in four seasons in terms of narration. Each member of the group gives their particular perspective on the group's history and its music.
Fans and viewers will find this musical enjoyable with its incorporation of popular Four Seasons' hits such as "My Eyes Adored You," "December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)," "Big Girls Don't Cry," as well as one of their biggest hits, "Sherry," among others. The musical would begin in the year, 2005 on Broadway. It has since done a tour known as North American National Tour as well as had productions in West End of London and in the cities, Chicago, Las Vegas and several Australian cities including Melbourne. Productions have also taken place in Singapore and in Toronto. In the year, 2006, the musical took four Tony Awards which included the highly wanted and sought after Best Musical award. In 2009, the musical took the Laurence Olivier Award, which was for Best New Musical.
The Development of Jersey Boys
Following the Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story success as well as the notoriety from Mamma Mia!, an original member of the group, Guadio, as well as Bob Crewe, a producer opted to create a musical that was fashioned after the Four Seasons. They would hire Marshall Brickman as well as Rick Elice, who were writers and they would also employ Des McAnuff to direct the musical. McAnuff recommended to them that they create a musical that was centered around the history of the band, rather than repurposing the songs in a kind of independent storyline which is what had been done in Mamma Mia!, about the group ABBA.
Brickman stated that he was drawn to be a part of the musical as it was an American story classic. The classic rags to riches and then back to rags story.
The general populace did not have much knowledge about the history of the group prior to the musical's premier as a result of the era magazines not speaking and writing much about the group. Through research, the writers of the musical found several interesting pieces of information about members of the group such as that some of them had served time in prison. The writers reasoned that this may have been a certain reason as to why their music may have not been played if that news ever had gotten out. Guadio informed the writers that things were not as clear-cut back then and that many in the group thought that if that information got out that it would be horrifying.
Interviews from some of the surviving members from the group would also be used. Brickman stated that all of the members who were still living had their own perspective regarding the success and breakup of the group. The interviews were with Guadio as well as Frankie Valli. They also would interview Tommy DeVito, who was approached last. Elice stated that DeVito told a version that was kind of a eureka moment. This allowed for them to weave a kind of Rashomon effect into the musical.
This particular effect is when there are contradictory interpretations of certain events in which obtaining the truth becomes a difficult process. The writers would also contact the family of Gyp DeCarlo, who had already passed away, to ensure that how he would be portrayed would be respectfully done. Guadio, while being a part of the initial development, would not become involved in the process during the tryouts.
He would only meet the cast following the premiere of the show. Each living member opted to take a step back from the creative aspect of the musical as they believed that they did not offer objectivity. This would leave Brickman as well as Elice to write the musical and McAnuff to direct it. It is important to note however that both Guadio and Valli were asked if they liked the show or not the show would end.
The Production, Critical Responses and More
Jersey Boys first began at La Jolla Playhouse which is on the campus of University of California San Diego. It would run as a different town tryout from October 2004 to January of 2005. The Four Seasons group would be played by J. Robert Spencer, Daniel Reichard, David Norona as well as Christian Hoff. Following the tryout performance, Frankie Valli's character which was being played by Norona needed replacing as his voice had been blown out. Tommy DeVito's role which had originally been auditioned by John Lloyd Young received the role. The musical would start Broadway previews as of October 4, 2005 and the musical would officially begin in November of 2005. This would happen in August Wilson Theatre. Cast would include Young as Valli, Christian Hoff would play DeVito, Reichard would receive the role of Guadio and Nick Massi would be played by J. Robert Spencer.
The musical directed by Des McAnuff, would become a huge success with Sergio Trujillo as choreographer. There were a total of 38 previews and the production is still running. The musical reached its 3000th performance as of February 2013 would make it the 18th longest musical that has had a Broadway run. The very first tour nationally of the musical started in December 2006 at Curran Theatre, which is located in San Francisco. It went on to be shown in a total of 38 cities. The musical also played at Forrest Theatre, which is located in Philadelphia recently. This production would break box office records, a total of 8 times before it moved back to Boston, Massachusetts.
In May of 2007, as the tour was moving along, a second production would begin at Curran Theatre. It ended up being what is known as a kind of open run at Bank of America Theatre in Chicago starting in October of 2007. The cast associated with the Chicago production would appear at the Emmy Awards, in the year 2007. This would be a tribute performance to The Sopranos, which was an HBO television show. The musical would have a holiday return special at Curran Theatre. It ran from the 20th of November to the 30th of December 2007.
In this production, Frankie Valli was played by Rick Faugno, Bob Guadio was played by Andrew Rannells, Tommy DeVito was played by Bryan McElroy and Nick Massi was played by Jeff Leibow. This cast would become the Las Vegas cast as well and would debut at The Palazzo in May of 2009. This was at the originally constructed Jersey Boys Theatre. This particular musical would cease temporarily in January of 2012 and then reopen in March of 2012 at the Paris hotel, which is also located in Las Vegas.
Much of the critical response about the musical has been positive, and noted as being a fantastic song thumper. While some critics felt that it lacked some musical texture, the musical has become well-known. The musical would begin in West End at Prince Edward Theatre, located in London as of February 2008. The team associated with the creativity of this was also the same team that had worked on the production on Broadway. The cast here included Frankie Valli being played by Ryan Molloy, Bob Guadio portrayed by Stephen Ashfield, Tommy DeVito's character by Glenn Carter, DeCarlo would be played by Stuart Milligan and Donnie/Knuckles would be portrayed by Tom Lorcan. This production would take the Best New Musical Award, which is a Laurence Olivier Award.
The production is scheduled to go to Picadilly Theatre as of March 2014. An Australian production started in Melbourne in July 2009 at Princess Theatre. The cast members here were Bobby Fox, who played Frankie Valli, Guadio would be portrayed by Stephen Mahy, Tommy Devito's character would be done by Scott Johnson and Nick Massi would be portrayed by Glaston Toft. The production in Melbourn stopped in July 2010 on the 25th and a production in the city of Sydney began in September of 2010 with the exact same cast. This particular production stopped in December 2011. A third show started in April 2012 in Auckland and ran until June 2012.
The music of the musical includes the aforementioned songs as well as "Cry for Me," "Walk Like a Man," "Who Loves You," "Working My Way Back to You," and "Silhouettes." There are other songs featured in the musical also. The majority of the numbers are in Act I. The musical score includes a small orchestra which has a total of 9 people playing instruments. The instruments included a bass, trumpet, guitar, drums, two players of woodwind instruments and three keyboards. In the musical, the trumpet also doubled as a flugelhorn.
Genre: Broadway Shows
The Lion King | Pippin | Mamma-Mia | Book Of Mormon |