September 4, 2011

Brickman, Elice, Gaudio, & McAnuff Reflect on Jersey Boys!

September 4th, 2011

The JERSEY BOYS national tour production opens Wednesday at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha! World-Herald staff writer Bob Fischbach has a marvelous preview feature about the hit show that includes reflections from creative team geniuses writers Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, original Four Seasons’ member Bob Gaudio, and director Des McAnuff. Below is a sneak peek:

Inventing a story to fit Four Seasons lyrics, as “Mamma Mia” did with ABBA tunes, didn’t interest Elice. Instead, he asked poker-playing buddy Marshall Brickman to work with him in developing an idea.

Brickman seemed an unlikely choice for the material, and he hesitated. As a musician, he had recorded folk and rockabilly. As a writer, he had won an Oscar along with Woody Allen for the urbane, head-trippy screenplay of “Annie Hall.”

“Where I grew up, on the Upper West Side, Beethoven was more important than Springsteen,” he said. “Four Seasons meant Vivaldi to me. I wake up screaming when I think about it now, but I told Rick I was maybe not his best bet.”

Then Elice handed him a double CD of the Four Seasons’ greatest hits.

“It really got me,” Brickman said. “(Four Seasons singer/songwriter) Bob Gaudio had a very eclectic sense of instrumentation.”

The show’s premiere was in October 2004 at the La Jolla (Calif.) Playhouse, where McAnuff was artistic director at the time. It was an immediate smash, extending a six-week run to 3½ months.

Rick Elice: “We were totally unprepared. You hope for the best, expect the worst. God bless the Internet, we had no idea how deep that subculture of Four Seasons fans penetrated.”

Bob Gaudio: “Nobody expected the runaway success it was. We took some risks, but we were thrilled. Once we made the decision to go warts and all, we didn’t turn back. ”

Des McAnuff: “I think it’s a very seductive, magnetic concoction of mafia, rock ‘n’ roll, brotherhood. It has that backstage aspect. It’s definitely a rags-to-riches story. But more than anything, it’s something we all inevitably experience: that tension between the family you’re born into and the family you choose.”

Visit to read the full feature.

1 Comment »

  1. To all of you sweet men, we the fans thank you so much. I am pretty sure you had no idea the lives you would foreven change. Cast,crew and fans and every one in between.
    Thanks a million times over! For that gamble.
    God Bless

    Comment by Kathy Johnstone — September 9, 2011 @ 11:43 am

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