November 14, 2010

A Salute to the Fans of Jersey Boys By Rick Elice

November 14th, 2010

Rick Elice

The JERSEY BOYS 5th Anniversary Fan Party, November 6, 2010: They ask us, what was the high point? Catching up with and celebrating with fellow fantastic fans from all over the country? Congratulating the always gracious, multi-talented cast members on their milestone? The food, the wine, the memorabilia, the ambiance at Gallagher’s? It was all great. But the eloquent Rick Elice under a spotlight with a microphone in one hand and notes in the other…saluting the JERSEY BOYS’ fans–that was the best.

A Salute to the Fans of Jersey Boys – By Rick Elice

For the benefit of anyone here tonight from other lands and cultures, we have come to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Jersey Boys, and more specifically the people who made this landmark possible – namely, you.

I say landmark without a hint of exaggeration or hyperbole – but with a healthy dose of gratitude and humility. How else to feel, in this age of Mass Attention Deficit Disorder and Instantly Disposable Everything, except grateful and humble for the dedication of the fans? Not for nothing is Thanksgiving just around the corner, because I think of today as our Thanksgiving Day, a day to give thanks for Five Years on Broadway, and for all of you.

Yes, Five Years is a milestone that I used to think made a show old. Not middle-aged, like Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show; but actually old, like John McCain.

But I do not choose to dwell on age. I choose to be an optimist, like the great explorer Christopher Columbus, who had a dream that he could sail a ship all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. People said he was crazy, but Columbus did not know the meaning of the word “discouragement.” (He also did not know the meaning of “nostril” or “percentage,” because he only spoke Italian.)

And so, like that famous Italian, and in honor of the other famous Italians we know better as The Four Seasons, I’m going to be positive tonight, instead of dwelling on any negative aspects of running five years, such as you play
half of each week feeling wrinkled and forgetful and achy, and the warranties are expiring on all your remaining teeth and internal organs, and your idea of a big night is to go back to the hotel and rinse out your socks.

Now you may be wondering: What does five years mean, exactly? Well, for Jersey Boys, it means:
That the number of Current Castmembers is 97
That the number of Current Bandmembers is 50
That the number of Current Crew members is 166
That the number of Current production Staff members is 40,
for a total of 353 people currently employed by our little show.

That doesn’t include all the people in the Dodgers Office, the people who help manage the show in London, the people who help manage the show in Vegas, the people who help manage the show in Australia – or the people who helped managed it in Chicago and Toronto, bless ‘em all – it doesn’t include the ushers, or the box office people, the people who make the merchandise, or the 200 actors the show has employed, and many of you have gotten to know, since this all began.

Best of all, playing for five years means that – worldwide – Jersey Boys has been seen by more than 11 million people. Or, by Frances Fong-Lee, going to the show 11 million times.

Now, I’ve heard it said that a long-running show can no longer be a hip show. Well, here’s what I say to that:
Even if I knew how to talk hip, or dress hip, or listen to hip music –
even if I was hilariously hip like Steve Weiss aka Stubbs – I mean, c’mon folks, “Frankie, my dear, I don’t give a damn” was an instant classic –
even if I had a hip blog like Susie Skarl,
or a hip tech half like Susie has – hi, Dale –
or a hip mind, like Charles Alexander
or a hip heart like Frank Rovello,
or a hip soul like Pam Singer and Wanda Libardi and Howard Tucker and Audrey Rockman and Charlie O’Clarit and Irene Eizen and Pat Palumbo and Tom Barton and KC Chamberlain and Merle Garbe and Linda SooHoo and Kyrstal Grooms Thomsen and Lulu Thompson and Kathy Johnstone and the West Coast Contingent – or she who calls herself New Jersey Lasagna, or every other one of you we’re throwing this party for today – friends and fans who’ve become family – or even if I had a hip new hip like Bob Gaudio, I still might have to admit that any show playing for five years, could be accused of suffering from H-U-S – Hipness Uncertainly Syndrome. That’s what they call it when your hip starts to slip.

But I’m here to tell you, folks – do not worry. Because the only thing hipper than being hip, is being hot. And for five years, across the country and around the world, you guys have managed to kept us sizzling – in centigrade and in Fahrenheit.

We’ve all of us come so far on this trip – from the early days in La Jolla when the show was in diapers – to the heady days of Tonys and Grammys and Audrey Rockman’s bus tours – to the just-as-heady moment when, as the Long-Run sets in, we’re getting so old, we’re starting to wear diapers ourselves. So before we get any older, let me wrap this up with a little prayer of Thanksgiving:

Some Broadway shows get rave reviews
And some get awful pans.
But face it, only one show
Has a restaurant full of fans.

Let Washington have its monuments
Let Boston have its bans
What Jersey Boys has ALWAYS had
Are the most DEVOTED fans.

Some of you are pale white
And some having glowing tans
But you cover the FULL SPECTRUM -
The most COLORFUL of fans!

Some arrive in planes or trains
Through tunnels, over spans.
But ALL of you arrive in STYLE.
You’re Broadway’s COOLEST fans.

Some may come in taxis,
Some in limos or in vans,
And if you walk, you walk, well,
like a man, you’re JB fans.

Some may dine on pizza
Or on pie made from pecans,
But to turn a simple show into a feast
You need our fans.

For no matter how many “Cry For Me’s”
Or “Come on, Marianne’s”
No matter how many Number Ones,
How many Also-Rans,

If you’ve been to Broadway’s Jersey Boys
Or Chicago’s or San Fran’s
Or Toronto’s, London’s, Vegas’s,
Or Sydney’s or Spokane’s

If you’ve made the show a central part
Of all your master plans,
You qualify as superstars
With huge attention spans.

We’re blessed that all of Broadway thinks we’re brilliant.
(And it’s true.)

But we know what made us look so good for five years
Has been you.

And sure, it’s hard to produce, direct,
perform and write a play.
But, let’s face it, you’re the ones
Who bring the “GREAT” to Great White Way.

So, friends and fans, a toast to you,
For making us a hit.
For showing up,
For paying up,
For putting up with shit.

For standing by the stage door
After every single show
For making ev’ry Boy a star.
For ev’ry Standing O.

For five years’ worth of fam’ly
That we’ve grown enamored of
For being so damned great.
For being YOU –
Our thanks and love.

May we remember today that we can only be said to be alive in those moments when we are conscious of our treasures, and grateful for the blessings of good health, happiness, peace, prosperity and, most important – as The Four Seasons instruct us every night – family.

Because, like Frankie Valli says, “family is everything.”

- November 6, 2010


  1. Thanks for posting this! I thought I was capturing it on video at the party, but when I got home and went to download it – no file! So now I’ve at least got the words, if not the delivery, to keep for posterity. Fun time, and sorry I missed getting to meet you and Dale. Enjoyed speaking to Howard, Audrey, Charles and also several other regulars on the Yahoo message boards.

    Comment by George O'Brien — November 14, 2010 @ 7:08 am

  2. What a wonderful tribute from such a wonderful man. Success hasn’t changed Rick one bit. Nice guys do finish first! So anxious to see what this brilliant writer and partner Marshall Brickman pen for the movie!

    Comment by Howard — November 14, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  3. Rick Elice is truly in a class by himself; as incredibly gracious, kind, and thoughtful as he is talented, and that’s saying a lot!! He has touched so many of our lives’ over the past five years. We celebrate YOU, Rick; and all of the joy and friendships that have come out of Jersey Boys. Here’s to the next five years and beyond! xo, Pam

    Comment by Pamela — November 14, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

  4. Look at me; I’m tearing up! But seriously folks…

    The party was a great way to start off a series of JB events to unfold within the smorgasbord they call the Big Apple. Kudos to Rick Elice and Dodger Theatricals for making us all feel welcome with ample food, drink, and good cheer. But it was Rick’s comments, displaying his trademark wit and sincerity, that truly made all in attendance feel appreciated and special. Hey, people pay big bucks to hear the product of his creativity, and here in his words, he created something for us, for free! It was a gift of his gift.

    If there were flies on the wall (though I didn’t see any), they could tell you that Rick got his “backatcha” from the revelers, who were singing his praises more than all the Frankies together have sung “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” ;-)

    Comment by stubbleyou — November 15, 2010 @ 2:25 am

  5. Can this dear man write, or what?! Rick, you’re the consummate patriarch of the JB ‘family’ and have chosen to continually embrace it despite a busy schedule. As part of a creative team, your warmth and accessibility toward fans, are rare traits in this business, but your sincerity shines through at all times.

    Like Howard said, we look forward to seeing the fruits of your creative talents in the JB movie!

    Comment by Audrey — November 15, 2010 @ 9:02 am

  6. Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore were middle-aged?!

    Comment by stubbleyou — February 11, 2015 @ 2:50 am

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