May 9, 2010

Brickman & Elice–The Guys Behind the Jersey Boys Story

May 9th, 2010

The JERSEY BOYS national tour production opens Wednesday and runs through June 6 at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Providence Journal Arts Writer Channing Gray has a feature story about the two men behind the JERSEY BOYS story–Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Here’s a preview:

“Jersey Boys,” the Broadway smash, pulls into the Providence Performing Arts Center this week for a monthlong run. The touring show, which is breaking box office records around the country, tells the story of ’60s pop music sensations Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. And it was written by a couple of guys who never guessed Valli and his crooners had a story to tell.

Writer Rick Elice was working as a creative consultant at Disney Studios when he got a call from a music promoter friend asking whether he’d consider writing a musical along the lines of “Mamma Mia!” but using the music of The Four Seasons. Pull together a bunch of Seasons songs to tell a story, came the suggestion.

“It was a nonstarter,” said Elice of the project. “It had been done before.” But Elice was willing to at least have lunch with Valli and fellow band member Bob Gaudio. What followed floored him.

Valli and Gaudio told tales of running with the Mob, of committing petty crime and doing time.

“It was fascinating,” said Elice from his office in New York. “I’d never heard or read any of these strange anecdotes. Music fans know all about the Stones and The Beatles, but no one knew about The Four Seasons. The stuff was not just interesting, it was untold.”

Had these stories gotten out in the 1960s, they would have probably ended Valli’s career, said Elice.

Read the rest of the interview with Rick Elice on

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