June 27, 2006

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Jersey Boys’ Storyboard Artist Don Hudson!

June 27th, 2006
Tommy Storyboard Courtroom Storyboard Bobby Storyboard

Jersey Boys Blog is excited to present a recent interview with Don Hudson, who was responsible for creating the storyboards for Jersey Boys! Don talks about his background; the creative process behind storyboarding; and how the storyboards evolved in the La Jolla and Broadway Jersey Boys productions.

Don has also shared some of his amazing artwork from Jersey Boys! Click on thumbnails for full-size images.

JBB: How did you become interested in storyboarding? Who or what were some of your main influences?

DH: I started out in comic books! Telling an entertaining story clearly is essential, and I also have a background in animation.

JBB: How did you become involved in creating storyboards for Jersey Boys? What was involved in the process of storyboarding? Who did you work most closely with in the production?

DH: I got the first call from Michael Clark, the production designer, who contacted me through my website www.comiculture.com. I had done some Romance comic work, and that was one of the themes that fit in with the Four Seasons’ story. I’m lucky that director Des McAnuff and Michael saw something they liked! Then, I took a trip to La Jolla to talk about the show.

When the show started production at La Jolla Playhouse, I met with both Michael and Des. I worked closely with Michael, delivering my art to him; I also met with Des at the production meetings. At the production meetings and after rehearsals, there would be a lot of creative give and take. To help make sure that Des and I were on the same page, I would do a few sketches at the production meetings.

This project was different from anything I’d done before, because Des wanted to have specific artwork to display on the backscreen. This artwork would help define the era, such as Pop Art like Warhol and Romance comic book art. I started in 2004 in California and flew out to NYC when the show started production on Broadway!

JBB: Given that the inspiration for the storyboard came from the Jersey Boys’ book, were you told exactly what scenes to draw, or was the creative process left up to you?

DH: Des had some clear ideas! When you see the Broadway show, you’ll see artwork on the backscreen that were ideas straight from Des! The “Walk Like a Man” sequence with the father talking to his son is basically unchanged from the La Jolla production. Gosh, I wish that everyone who saw the Broadway production could have seen the La Jolla Playhouse show, because I had a lot more artwork shown in that one.

JBB: From a storyboarding perspective, what sets Jersey Boys aside from the other projects you’ve done?

DH: The work I did for the show was intended to be shown as a projection at the rear of the stage. When seen in sequence, it tells the story of the group. The large format was a real thrill! Michael Clark used three screens and a variety of drawings to help tell the story. He also added color, and that was something else that you would not see in a traditional board. He turned my work into a multimedia presentation that was almost like a show in a show.

JBB: Also from a storyboarding perspective, is there a scene in Jersey Boys that stands out the most interesting to you?

DH: Towards the beginning, there’s a sequence where Frankie gets into trouble with the law. As the drama progresses on the stage, my art shows a parallel story on the screen. You can see it go from a police arrest to a judge’s verdict.

JBB: Were there any new ideas from your storyboards that were incorporated into the actual production of Jersey Boys?

DH: The first production in La Jolla had much more art that was sequential, meaning that there were panels that told a story. I had more storytelling influence in that respect. By the time it got to NYC, the panel idea was streamlined, and I did some additional art.

JBB: How long does the storyboarding process take for a production such as Jersey Boys?

DH: Not very long. I had a certain number of frames to draw in a two-month period. Michael Clark would prepare them for the show as I completed them.

JB: What projects have you done since Jersey Boys, and do you have any upcoming plans you’d like to talk about?

DH: I continue to do storyboards and draw graphic novels in Los Angeles! I hope everyone will visit my blog at www.comiculture.com and will read my book at www.activeimages.com

Jersey Boys Blog would like to thank Don Hudson for such an informative and in-depth interview about the Jersey Boys’ storyboarding process, and for sharing his amazing artwork from the production!

Frankie Storyboard Nick Storyboard


  1. Just a great interview…and very informative. What a talent Mr. Hudson has.

    Comment by David Cace — June 28, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

  2. Hey, I know Don! He is really a talented fellow. The graphic novel he mentions, published by Active Images, is a great genre piece from the old west. Amazing artwork. Don’s working on a sequel now.

    I hope to see Jersey Boys when I’m in New York this summer!

    Comment by Steve B. — June 29, 2006 @ 7:11 pm

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