By Charly O’Clarit, JBB International Correspondent
Whoever said that the British audience are reticent and high browed has not met the likes of Somersetâ€™s very own Sarah aka â€œChurchersâ€. April of last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Churchers and her best mate Haleruke at my first time seeing Jersey Boys London. I remember them in the front row being very spirited and colorful especially when Glenn Carter (Tommy DeVito) gestured at them. Their sheer excitement reminded me of being home at the August Wilson.
Throughout the past year, Churchers has made many return visits to the Prince Edward, became the resident Stage Door photographer, and has often entertained us with her hilarious Blog posts.
Letâ€™s learn more about JBB Fantastic Fan Churchers.
JBB: Tell us about yourself. Have you always been a Theatre patron?
Churchers: Yeah, I first went to the Theatre when I was about nine years old. My Nan took me to see Tommy Steele in â€œSinging In The Rain â€œ at the London Palladium. She was a huge fan of his so we ended up going at least twice a monthâ€¦probably where I get it from! I have seen most musicals on the West End and now enjoying taking my 10-year-old daughter Katie. Her first JB experience will be in July!
JBB: When did you first hear about Jersey Boys, and how did you become interested in the show?
Churchers: I was in NYC for my 30th birthday three years ago. I had booked to go see Hairspray. Whilst staying at our hotel they had a Broadway channel advertising all shows. Saw a clip for JB and thought that it looked fab! I decided once it hit the West End I would go see it as at the time we couldnâ€™t get tickets for the show whilst we were in New York.
JBB: What was your reaction to the show upon seeing it for the first time?
Churchers: It was the first show I had seen that made me feel sick with excitement especially during the â€œRock n Rollâ€ Hall of Fame scene. We went during previews and British audiences are very reserved normally but from the moment Simon Adkins (Bob Crewe) appears for that scene I wanted to cheer! However, it seemed nobody else had the same idea so I had to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut to stop myself from becoming a raving looney! Glad to say that it is no longer the case! JB was also the first show that made me want to book to go again straight away! So we booked for 3 weeks afterâ€¦fab!
JBB: How many times have you seen JB and what keeps bringing you back? How many more shows booked?
Churchers: This past weekend I hit my 21st show and I have another 9 more booked at the moment but thereâ€™s always room for more! I keep going back as itâ€™s such a feel good show and in my opinion the best way to spend a few hours in London!
JBB: You travel quite a distanceâ€¦what do your friends & family think of your JB adoration?
Churchers: My family thinks Iâ€™m mental! My old man is now a JB widower. Before he arranges to work extra shifts or to go out, his first point of call is the JB calendar to see if Iâ€™m at shows that day. And if I am, he then has to stay home and look after Katie. My Mum knows not to ring me on weekends, as she knows I probably wonâ€™t be in as I would be at JB. As for my friends, they are impressed I can play a whole game of Scattegories using only JB references as answers! Itâ€™s a gift! I have now also brainwashed Katie and she is now a huge fan! She even has made Jersey Boys Gingerbread Men dressed in their shiny red â€œSherryâ€ jaaackkkettts!
JBB: Why do you think people have such a strong connection to Jersey Boys?
Churchers: I think people who were around at the time of the Four Seasons have a connection to the fab music. It brings back all sorts of memories for them. For me, I find it a very polished show with a brilliant score and an amazing cast!
JBB: What’s your favorite Jersey Boys scene & why?
Churchers: It has to be the â€œRock n Rollâ€ Hall of Fame scene as that is my cue to feel sick and hyper all at the same time. Itâ€™s just brilliant!
JBB: Whatâ€™s your favorite musical number in Jersey Boys & why?
Churchers: Itâ€™s hard to choose just one but obviously â€œRag Dollâ€ for the above reasons. I also love â€œWalk Like A Manâ€â€¦ the double click thing they do with their feet during the dance routine is amazing!
JBB: Do you have a favorite line from the show?
Churchers: Oh it has to be “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my old friends and brand new Hall of Famers, the original Four Seasons!â€ Again, that is when I think I may faint with too much excitement!
JBB: Prior to seeing Jersey Boys, were you familiar with the Four Seasons’ music? If so, do you have a favorite Four Seasons’ song?
Churchers: Obviously, I had heard â€œSherryâ€ before and â€œBig Girls Donâ€™t Cryâ€ as it is in â€œDirty Dancing,â€ but it was when I first heard â€œMy Eyes Adored Youâ€ that I became more familiar to their music. It wasnâ€™t till seeing the show that I realised that the Bay City Rollers didnâ€™t write â€œBye Bye Baby!â€ My favourite Four Seasons song has to be â€œWho Loves You,â€ tho I also love â€œTell It To The Rainâ€ which I would never had heard had I not seen the show. After I went and bought the greatest hits CD!
JBB: The British audience is known to be on the reserved side. What have you done in the past to overcome this being that you are pretty boisterous?
Churchers: I wouldnâ€™t say boisterous. Iâ€™d say excited. Ha! My first rule when sitting in my seats is to make friends with my neighbours. Let them know that I may sway and Woo Hoo on occasions. I have also made fab friends through the JB Blog so quite often we all book tickets together. That way Iâ€™m not alone in my madness but I do think that us Brits are getting better. This past weekendâ€™s audience was brilliant; lots of cheering but on other occasions its like sitting amongst the dead! I do wonder if they are watching what I am.
JBB: You have become quite the Stage Door photographer. Your photos are gorgeous. What has been your favorite Stage Door experience so far?
Churchers: Thanks for the comments on the photos. Best Stage Door experience so far has to be this past â€œCast Changeâ€ weekend. Did four stage door visits with my fellow JB Bloggers Haleruke, Pip, and Emeralds (had to give them a shout!). It was great capturing some of the Cast on their last day plus after the Saturday night show the whole Cast were off to do the Variety Club Ball so they all came out in costume which when you love a man in a suit as much as we doâ€¦ it was brilliant! I do have to say my photos are only as good as the person in the picture and the JB London Cast always make the time to stop, pose and chat with Fans.
JBB: Visiting the Stage Door adds to the overall JB experience. Some though are too timid to venture out. Do you have any words of encouragement?
Churchers: Do what we did, have some vodka at the Dog and Duckâ€¦the JB Bloggers haunt and take the plunge. The Cast is always happy to see Fans and meeting them makes the whole day worthwhile! They really are a lovely bunch of people!
JBB: This past â€œCast Changeâ€ weekend you saw the show 3xâ€™s. What were the memorable moments on stage?
Churchers: During the matinee, the Cast seemed to be having some fun as some of them were leaving, so for example during Dawn, the drummer (Joseph) came out covered in lipstick and then in the jail scene, instead of two guards wanting Frankieâ€™s autograph, there were about seven! It was really funny and for those of us who go oftenâ€¦we noticed it! And then obviously after the matinee and evening shows, there was a mention to those who were leaving. It was emotional and some were “tearing up”.
JBB: Anything else you’d like to share about Jersey Boys?
Churchers: Just that it is by far the best show I have ever seen on the West End. The Cast is amazing, the theatre is beautiful and the Fans are like none I ever known before! My Hand to God– miss this show and you are missing out!
Thank you Churchers for sharing your wonderful JB experiences so far. One transatlantic common bond is that Jersey Boys, the Jersey Boys Blog and Jersey Boys World have been instrumental in forming many enduring friendships. Looking forward to a â€œshandyâ€ or two at the Dog & Duck the next time Iâ€™m across the pond!