THE JERSEY BOYS
JERSEY BOYS - The Story of the Four Seasons
Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. It is a documentary-style musical, based on the lives of one of the most successful 1960s rock 'n roll groups, the Four Seasons. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005, and has since had a North American National Tour, along with productions in London's West End, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney and Philadelphia. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Jersey Boys premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse at University of California, San Diego, in an out-of-town tryout on October 5, 2004 and ran through January 16, 2005. The musical began previews on Broadway on October 4, 2005 and officially opened on November 6, 2005 at the August Wilson Theatre. The cast starred John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, Christian Hoff as Tommy DeVito, Daniel Reichard as Bob Gaudio, and J. Robert Spencer as Nick Massi. The musical is directed by Des McAnuff, the then-artistic director at La Jolla Playhouse, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo. It uses many of the group's hit songs to tell the turbulent story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' rise to fame. The Broadway production has had 38 previews and 2241 performances as of April 10, 2011. On June 25, 2011 the musical became the 25th longest-running show on Broadway.
The first national tour of Jersey Boys began on December 10, 2006, at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco. On May 3, 2007, that leg of the tour's run ended in San Francisco to prepare for its Los Angeles premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre. The next day, a second company debuted at the Curran and ended its run on September 30, 2007, before transferring for an open-ended run at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre. The Chicago production opened on October 5, 2007, with Michael Ingersoll, a Chicagoan, in the role of Nick Massi. The Chicago opening brought Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio to Chicago and was promoted prominently, including a December 9, 2007, puck-dropping at a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game.
December 10, 2010 marked the 4th Anniversary of the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning Jersey Boys National Tour. The Jersey Boys National Tour opened at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco and has gone on to play 38 cities since then. Jersey Boys recently played at the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia where it broke the box office record 8 times before moving on to a return engagement in Boston.
A special holiday return engagement played at the Curran Theatre from November 20 – December 30, 2007, starring Rick Faugno as Frankie Valli, Andrew Rannells as Bob Gaudio, Bryan McElroy as Tommy DeVito and Jeff Leibow as Nick Massi. The majority of this cast became the original Las Vegas cast, which debuted at The Palazzo Hotel on Saturday, May 3, 2009.
The musical made its West End debut at London's Prince Edward Theatre in February 2008. The creative team were the same that brought the production to Broadway. Principal cast were Ryan Molloy as Frankie Valli, Stephen Ashfield as Bob Gaudio, Glenn Carter as Tommy DeVito and Philip Bulcock as Nick Massi. The production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. The musical has since had some cast changes, with Molloy retaining the lead and changes of Matthew Wycliffe as Bob Gaudio, Jon Boydon as Tommy DeVito and Eugene McCoy as Nick Massi. The production has recently extended its booking period until October 2012.
The Las Vegas production of the show opened to critical acclaim on Sunday, May 3, at The Palazzo Hotel in the newly built Jersey Boys Theatre. Mike Weatherford from the Las Vegas Review-Journal said, “Grade A. A crackling musical staging.” Richard Ouzounian from the Toronto Star said, “The Las Vegas premiere of Jersey Boys at the elegant new Palazzo Hotel is a cheering, stomping, hats-in-the-air triumph. This show is a winner.”
It was announced on Australia Day, January 26, 2008, that the Australian production would open at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne in March 2009. Despite being delayed until July 2009, the opening received much publicity and was attended by the state premier John Brumby. In particular the Melbourne cast has received high praise from audiences. After selling strongly, the Melbourne production closed on July 25 and began performances in Sydney on September 3, 2010. The show opened on September 18, 2010, to rave reviews.
The San Francisco/Chicago cast appeared on stage in the 2007 Emmy Awards in a tribute to HBO's The Sopranos.
Due to the success of the First National tour stop at Toronto Centre for the Arts in Toronto, Ontario from August 21 to December 6, 2008, an open-ended run began performances on December 12 with a new, mostly Canadian cast that includes Jeremy Kushnier and Jenny Lee Stern from the First National Tour. This production celebrated its 500th show on February 27, 2010. The production closed on August 22, 2010 on the show's second anniversary.
The story dramatizes the forming, rise and eventual break-up of the original four members of The Four Seasons. The musical is separated into four Acts, each narrated by a different member of the band: Spring (Tommy DeVito), Summer (Bob Gaudio), Fall (Nick Massi) and Winter (Frankie Valli); each member has a different perspective on the band and his contribution to it.
The show opens with a performance of "Ces soirées-là", a modern pop-rap song that was released in 2000. Tommy DeVito then enters the stage, introducing himself and explaining how the song is a cover of The Four Seasons' "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)". He offers to tell the story of the band, explaining how he started out with the group "The Variety Band" with his brother Nick DeVito and friend Nick Massi, eventually discovering teenager Frankie Castelluccio and taking him under his wing, teaching him everything he knows. ("The Early Years: A Scrapbook") During these early years Nick Massi helped train Frankie to sing, Tommy went in and out of prison, Frankie changed his last name to Valli, Tommy and Frankie developed a good relationship with mob boss Gyp DeCarlo, and Frankie fell in love with and married Mary DelGado. Musically, the band was still struggling and kept changing their name and sound but without any dramatic success. One day friend and fellow Jersey boy Joe Pesci comes up to Tommy and says that he knows a singer-songwriter who'd make the perfect fourth for their band: Bob Gaudio.
Bob Gaudio takes over the narration, starting by telling the audience that no matter what Tommy says, he wasn't plucked from obscurity by him, since he already had a hit single with "Short Shorts". Bob goes with Joe Pesci to see the band perform, and is immediately impressed by Frankie's voice. Bob performs a song he'd just written: "Cry for Me" on piano, which Frankie, Nick and then Tommy joining in with vocals, bass and guitar respectively. They negotiate an agreement, though Tommy is at first skeptical that Bobby (then still a teenager) will be good for the band. The band eventually gets a contract with producer Bob Crewe but only to sing back-up ("Backup Sessions"). Crewe insists that the band has an "identity crisis" and needs to make a firm decision on a name and a sound. The band name themselves after The Four Seasons bowling alley, and Bobby writes them three songs that finally propel them to stardom: "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like a Man". In the wake of their success, Bob also chalks up a personal first by losing his virginity. ("December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)") The band's success means that they tour a lot more, along the way discovering the girl band The Angels ("My Boyfriend's Back"). Unfortunately, the constant touring strains Frankie's marriage to Mary, and they eventually divorce ("My Eyes Adored You"). The band continues to enjoy chart successes ("Dawn (Go Away)") until after a concert the band is approached by a loan shark out to claim money owed by Tommy ("Walk Like a Man (reprise)").
The second act opens with "Big Man in Town". Nick Massi explains that Bob was so focused on the band's musical success and future that he couldn't see that the band had been in trouble for some time. Tommy's been racking up debts, and a forgotten bill during a previous tour lands the band in jail over the weekend, which strains things between Tommy and Bob. Nick observes that Tommy became jealous of Frankie's success and closeness with Bobby, and attempted to seduce Frankie's new girlfriend Lorraine. The two never confronted each other about it, but the old friendship was not what it used to be. When the loan shark approaches the band for the $150,000 owed by Tommy, Frankie approaches Gyp DeCarlo for help despite Tommy's insistence that he doesn't need it. ("Beggin'") The band, Gyp, and the loan shark come to agreement: Tommy is to be "sequestered" in Las Vegas where the mob can keep an eye on him, and the band will willingly cover all of Tommy's debts. The band continues for a while as a trio until Nick declares that he wants out. ("Stay/Let's Hang On!")
Frankie takes over narration, explaining that though he owes Tommy a great deal, he's aware that their relationship wasn't ideal, and he never understood why Nick decided to leave. Frankie and Bob find replacements to keep the band a quartet ("Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)") until Bobby announces that he's never been comfortable in the spotlight and that Frankie should be a single, i.e. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In his personal life, Frankie's relationship with his daughter Francine is strained and he breaks up with girlfriend Lorraine. ("Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)") Frankie continues to have success thanks to Bobby's songs, and hits jackpot with ("C'mon Marianne") and the almost-never-released ("Can't Take My Eyes Off You") which Bobby fights to get airplay for. Along with the success of "Working My Way Back to You", Frankie and Bobby finally finish paying off Tommy's debts, and Frankie's life is good until his daughter Francine dies from a drug overdose. ("Fallen Angel")
The final scene is The Four Seasons' 1990 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, announced by Bob Crewe and reuniting the original four members on stage one last time. ("Rag Doll") Each member takes a moment to address the audience one by one, explaining their pride of being with the band and what they did after. ("Who Loves You")
- Original Broadway Cast
- Frankie Valli – John Lloyd Young
- Tommy DeVito – Christian Hoff
- Bob Gaudio – Daniel Reichard
- Nick Massi – J. Robert Spencer
- Bob Crewe – Peter Gregus
- Gyp DeCarlo – Mark Lotito
- Joe Pesci – Michael Longoria
- Norm Waxman—Donnie Kehr
- Hank Majewski—Steve Gouveia
- Barry Belson—Titus Burgess
- Mary Delgado—Jennifer Naimo
- Lorraine—Erica Piccininni
- Francine—Sara Schmidt
- Original London Cast
- Frankie Valli – Ryan Molloy
- Frankie Valli alternate – Scott Monello
- Bob Gaudio – Stephen Ashfield
- Tommy DeVito – Glenn Carter
- Nick Massi – Philip Bulcock
- Bob Crewe – Simon Adkins
- Gyp DeCarlo – Stuart Milligan
- Norm Waxman – Joseph Prouse
- Joe Pesci – Jye Frasca
- Barry Belson – Tee Jaye
- Donnie/Knuckles – Tom Lorcan
- Hank Majewski – Griffin Stevens
- Mary Delgado – Suzy Bastone
- Francine – Michelle Francis
- Lorraine – Amy Pemberton
- Original Melbourne Cast
- Frankie Valli—Bobby Fox
- Frankie Valli (alternate) – Nick Simpson-Deeks
- Bob Gaudio—Stephen Mahy
- Tommy DeVito—Scott Johnson
- Nick Massi—Glaston Toft
- Bob Crewe—Daniel Scott
- Gyp DeCarlo—Enrico Mammarella
- Joe Pesci—Bernard Angel
- Mary Delgado—Lisa Adam
- Francine Valli—Katherine Rodriques
- Hank Majewski – Jeremy Brennan
- Norm Waxman—Paul Watson
- Barry Belson-Jason Te Patu
- Original Chicago Cast
- Frankie Valli—Jarrod Spector
- Frankie Valli (alternate) – John Michael Dias
- Bob Gaudio—Drew Gehling
- Tommy DeVito—Jeremy Kushnier
- Nick Massi—Michael Ingersoll
- Bob Crewe—Craig Laurie
- Gyp DeCarlo—Jonathan Weir
- Joe Pesci—Steven Goldsmith
- Mary Delgado—Jenny Lee Stern
- Francine Valli—Lyndsey Cole
- Lorraine—Lauren Marshall
- Hank Majewski – Ryan Quinn West
- Norm Waxman—Dominic Bogart
- Barry Belson-Rashad Naylor