September 26, 2012

Director Des McAnuff Discusses Shakespearean Elements in Jersey Boys

September 26th, 2012

Reporter Cam Fuller has a fascinating interview with JERSEY BOYS director Des McAnuff, who discusses the hit show’s Shakespearean elements:

Des McAnuff won his Tony awards for directing Big River and The Who’s Tommy. He directed Jersey Boys to its best musical Tony in 2006.

But beyond Broadway, he’s a devoted fan of one William Shakespeare. And, in a way, the Jersey Boys’ story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons has Shakespearean elements.

In Elizabethan times, people were obsessed with royalty, McAnuff said recently. In our culture, entertainment and sports fascinate us.

“We can’t get enough of their stories,” he said. “There was a time when you would have called the story of the Four Seasons not only a biography, you might have called it a history.”

McAnuff ‘s classical background – he’s a former artistic director of the Stratford Festival – was useful when plotting the pace of the show. Like Shakespeare, it’s made up of short scenes. The trick is to make it flow.

“It goes like a bat out of hell,” he said. “We’re covering 30 years of history. That’s one of the things that I take great pride in. We can get from one scene to the next scene smoothly and effortlessly – or so that it seems effortlessly. And I think I got those skills from doing Shakespeare.”

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