October 23, 2007

Irene Eizen’s Remarks at Sunday’s BC/EFA Event

October 23rd, 2007

Throughout the next several days, we will be sharing so many memories from Sunday’s spectacular Jersey Boys Fans Unite to Support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS event. Below are Irene Eizen’s touching remarks from the evening that brought Jersey Boys’ fans together with the amazing cast, writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and the legendary Four Seasons!

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. We are the Eizen duo. This is my wonderful husband, Buz. And I am Irene – my name begins and ends in a vowel. Buz and I have been together for 40 years – originally on a handshake. (We quickly progressed from there–-and as I recall, much too soon and as Buz recalls, not soon enough).Eventually, we did have to sign a piece of paper from a lawyer, who was also our rabbi. We cared about legal!

C’est soiree la! And how is it that we are all here tonight? You ask thousands of fans and you get one version. And this is where it all starts. November, 2005, Bush, Cheney, Prince Charles and Camilla make their first trip together to The US and an incredibly talented, illustrious, selfless and affectionate group of people on stage at the August Wilson Theater performing in a show, OUR SHOW, Jersey Boys, The best show ever to hit Broadway.

Jersey Boys has made and continues to make a statement – The Great American Broadway Dream. Why you ask? Because it is a great show. Same thing in LA, San Francisco, Sacramento, Tempe, Chicago, Tampa. Cleveland, Toronto, Vegas. Everyone is screaming – We want this show! We want this show. Bring us this f—–antastic show already. Jersey Boys is ubiquitous!

Here’s how it is. We (pointing to everyone) have our real families and our Jersey Boys families. As with our real families, we honor our mothers and fathers. With our Jersey Boys family, we honor the matriarch and patriarch – Susie and Dale Skarl – who on July 1st, 2005, looked at each other and said, “We think it is a good time to start our own group. We’re not just going to start a group – we’re going to make an experience.” And they did.

They made and continue to make a great show a greater experience. Susie and Dale created the Jersey Boys Blog – a phenomenon unto itself – providing to the exponentially growing family of fans – daily information, news, article, announcements, interviews, about every aspect of and anything related to the show, even the nuances of Jersey Boys. The extraordinary creative team, the cast, the fantastic fans, the national and international tours.

Susie and Dale always get back to the “Basic Rule” or reason! Four guys under a streetlamp, making a sound, their sound – Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio. These guys took an incredible lifelong journey meeting many others along the way – Joe Long, Charlie Callello, Bob Crewe and so many others – all of whom have brought us to this evening.

Months ago Susie and Dale created another vehicle for The Jersey Boys family to grow. The Jersey Boys Forum, and the entire Jersey Boys world exploded – and here we are tonight, many of us meeting in person for the first time, paying tribute to the greatest show and cast in Broadway history. But our purpose is much more far-reaching in that the altruism of the cast and of the fans are once again being realized as we support and celebrate the exceptional and exemplary work of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.

Buz and I want to thank Tom Viola, Michael Clarkston for support and “guidance” in planning this evening. And a very special thank you to Michael Wolff and David Cace of Eisner LLP who sponsored this event. And now would be the perfect time to ask David Cace to come to the mike. In conceiving the idea for this evening, I received counsel from three principal people – my husband, Buz, and two not only Jersey Boys’ experts but Four Seasons experts – Charles Alexander and David Cace. Charles Alexander, as many of you may know, is the author of the liner notes to the Grammy Award-Winning Jersey Boys Cast CD. Charles also has written the foreward in the newly-released “Jersey Boys Book.” Charles is a retired senior editor at Time Magazine and did a feature story on Bob Gaudio’s and Frankie Valli’s “handshake” partnership that appeared in Time Magazine in 1987.

David Cace is not only a Four Seasons expert but by day he is a CPA and is a Senior Partner at the firm who sponsored this event, Eisner LLP. I went on the Eisner website and found David’s bio–and I couldn’t begin to mention all the committees he has been on and all that he has achieved in his professional career. On the personal side of the ledger, David is a lifelong Jersey Boy, born in Hoboken, New Jersey and now living in Hawthorne New Jersey with his wife Lynette and their 6 children, ages 5 to 30. David, would you please come up to sat a few words and make some special introductions.

There are so many wonderful people I have met through the entire Jersey Boys experience, many of whom have been mentioned or introduced this evening. But there are many others: Howard Tucker, a heart and soul of gold whom you may recognize, as a JB Blog Special Correspondent. Damaris Dugan, Beverley Micchiche, Audrey Rockman, so many others whom I would love to mention but there is not time. My love and thanks for your friendship goes to all of you.

One special fantastic fan – Wanda Libardi has some special presentations to the cast. Wanda, please come up.

So, Who are the fans of Jersey Boys? They are good people – caring and compassionate, giving and loving, funny and fun-loving. We are men, women and children from all walks of life, from many religions, cultures, ethnicities, races – a microcosm representing what our world could and should be like. We do good work – we are philanthropic, emulating a cast who leads the way in philanthropy, kindness, appreciation and respect for all people.

Let me conclude by saying, “If you walk into anyplace, anytime And say, “I am part of the Jersey Boys Family – my hand to
God, you will make yourself “a new set of friends.” Now, go enjoy The rest of the evening.


  1. Irene,
    I loved the way you used phrases from Jersey Boys in your speech. It was well written and came from your heart. You brought so many of us together for this special night and I will never forget it. I have never seen so much love in one room and we all owe it to you. You are “Simply The Best”!

    Love Damaris Dugan

    Comment by Damaris Dugan — October 23, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

  2. Thank you so much, Susie and Dale, for posting my speech. I really wanted everyone to hear it but I think giving everyone the chance to read it worked out better. You are the best. Thank you so much for everything you do for the show and for us, the fans. IE

    Comment by irene eizen — October 23, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  3. Irene,

    What great, heart warming words! Really made me feel like I was there on Sunday. Thank you for expressing so beautifully what so many of us feel.


    Comment by Pamela — October 23, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  4. Irene, The next time the Jersey Boys need liner notes, I nominate you. What a brilliant way with words. I know you’re a great educator, but you could have been a great writer too.

    What are need now, Susie, are the titles for Wanda’s “Dummies” books for the cast. They were hilarious, but I don’t remember them all.

    In my other post I forgot to mention the pleasure of meeting Steve and Christy, who do so much excellent work with the Jersey Boys Podcast.

    Regards to all, Charles

    Comment by Charles Alexander — October 23, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  5. Oh Irene… that… was beautiful. Very well-written. Very well thought. I am so impressed. I absolutely love the speech. I saw the pictures posted on the web, of you speaking at the podium, and now – after reading this speech, I almost felt like I was there. Knowing you only from your posts, you truly spoke from the heart.

    I look forward to our visit in December, it will truly be a night to remember. Thank you so very much Irene for your perseverance and compassion. You’re a wonderful lady.

    PS I especially loved the part about Susie and Dale and how they made the JBBlog an experience. So true. They are a couple like no other.


    Comment by Angel — October 23, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  6. Irene, thanks so much for the kind and gracious words.

    As the cliche goes, sometimes I’ll go to bed wondering if it’s all a dream. But then I’ll wake up in the morning and Susie, Dale, Irene, Audrey, David, Gary, Charles, John Lloyd, Jennifer, Christian, et al.–do really exist and are all still here!!

    Since student directing “Showboat” in high school, my passion for theatre has always been there, but with life and career pressures, relegated to a back burner. Susie’s permitting me to write for the Blog has put me closer to this passion in my mid 50′s than I would have ever dreamed. If I told anyone a year ago I’d be sitting on a couch interviewing Chris Jones at 1 AM, or be sharing private jokes with Jennifer Naimo and Dominic Nolfi at a wonderful gala, in quoting Bob Gaudio to Nick Massi, people would have said “Howard, you need help!”

    It was a wonderful evening, Irene, and a terrific tribute to a wonderful time in our lives. Many of our friendships have extended beyond “Jersey Boys” into life and career, and will last a lifeime. Thank you so much.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — October 23, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

  7. Sunday’s event was a night to remember! What a wonderful gathering of “stars” one room. To spend time with the original 4 Seasons and the Original Bway cast was an incredible suprise! Everyone went home smiling for sure! Regards & much appreciation for everyones hard work. Looking forward to more events and would be happy to be involved also.
    Fran Gatto, NY

    Comment by Fran Gatto — October 24, 2007 @ 5:14 am

  8. “This evening could not have happened without…” Irene. Charles and I just brought up the rear. Irene, you are truly one of a kind and I am very fortunate indeed to know you and to be able to call you friend.

    Comment by David Cace — October 24, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  9. It was fun to meet so many fellow Jersey Boys fans. Thanks to Irene for coming up with the idea, and thanks to the powers that be for going with it. Maybe the next gathering will be a reunion of the original Jersey Boys!

    Comment by L — October 24, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  10. Bravo, Irene!! I knew your speech would hit a home run but that was fantastic. I loved it! Thanks so much for sharing it with those of us that could not attend.

    Comment by LindaL — October 24, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  11. My dearest Irene,
    What beautiful words….so well written. I loved it when I heard you say it at the party and now, while reading it, I cried because of the heart, soul and love you put into what you wrote. So genuine, so pure, so Irene!! It was so wonderful. Thank you for all you do, for the special mention and for your loving friendship that I so cherish. Looking forward to more times together…..JB related or otherwise! Love you tons Irene, Wanda

    Comment by Wanda — October 24, 2007 @ 9:45 am

  12. Thanks for the great evening everyone! Irene and Buz mentioned a “thing” to me in SF just a few months ago that blossomed into a full blown “sit-down” of epic proportions! It was just like living “large” like I was in the actual world of the “Four Seasons and Jersey Boys”! Come to think of it, we all were!!!!!

    Special guests, we got all “Four” of em’…..
    Broadway superstars, take yer pick…..
    “Fantastic JB Fans”, we were all over the fuckin’ place!!!!!

    The speech started by Irene, which ended with the cast presentations by Wanda, had so much emotion, “shushes” (LOL), congratulations, heartfelt wishes and recognition to the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys and us, the FANS!!!!!

    Thanks for the great evening, Irene/Buz/Eisner/BCEFA/JB “Fan” Family and I’m looking forward to the next meeting in SF!

    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — October 24, 2007 @ 10:27 am

  13. All I can say is you are so eloquent! You know how the saying goes like daughter like mother or something like that.


    Comment by Jen Roberts — October 24, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  14. I am moved to tears everyone. Thank you so much for your beautiful comments which I will forever cherish. I want to once again extend my special thanks to David Cace, Charles Alexander, and my husband of 38 years, Buz for your suggestions, support and love. IE

    Comment by irene eizen — October 24, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

  15. Wow! That’s all I can say…Wow!

    Comment by Helen — October 24, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

  16. It was truly a wonderful evening and we all are so grateful for the time and energy you devoted to make it happen! It started as an idea that became a PLAN. October 21st finally arrived with great anticipation and ended with great memories!!!

    Comment by Beverley Micciche — October 24, 2007 @ 6:14 pm


    Comment by JAMES PETRECCA — October 25, 2007 @ 12:54 am

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