May 19, 2008

Four Seasons–Four Versions

May 19th, 2008

Jersey Boys national tour begins performances in Cincinnati’s Procter and Gamble Hall at the Aronoff Center of the Arts beginning Wednesday, May 21!’s Jackie Demaline has a two-part article on Jersey Boys, that includes some fascinating commentary by JB co-author Rick Elice.

In the ‘I didn’t know that!’ article, Rick Elice thinks the Four Seasons -”high school dropouts, blue-collar, Roman Catholic, from the wrong side of the (Hudson) river” – rode out the Beatles because “Beatles songs were about love written for girls, and the Four Seasons sang about girls for guys.”

In the 4 guys, 4 versions of fame article, Demaline notes that “Jersey Boys,” members of the quartet get to tell their version of their story in turn.

That came from a “eureka!” moment, says Rick Elice, who wrote the musical’s book with Marshall Brickman.
Back in 2003, Elice and Brickman sat in the back of a New York theater district Italian restaurant with Frankie Valli, the guy with the three-octave range, and Bob Gaudio, the guy who wrote the hits, listening to Four Seasons anecdotes, deciding whether there was a story to tell and whether Brickman and Elice were the ones to tell it.

They kept talking through the course of 2003 without ever writing a word, but the more they talked, the more apparent a potential problem became. By the time Valli and Gaudio signed on – “They basically said, ‘Knock yourselves out,’ Elice says – the writers were deep in interviews, and they never heard the same story told the same way twice.

“Finally we called (singer/guitarist) Tommy DeVito in Las Vegas and he said, ‘I’ll tell you what really happened.’ That was the light bulb. I realized we didn’t have to figure out the truth. We could let the audience decide who they felt like believing.”

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