December 28, 2005

Jersey Boys: A Rock Biography or a Jukebox Musical???

December 28th, 2005

In a UPI story posted today, J. Robert Spencer, who plays late Four Seasons member Nick Massi in the Broadway smash musical Jersey Boys, says the new hit is a rock biography with great music, not a jukebox musical.

Spencer also tells UPI that with jukebox musicals, they always take (someone’s) popular songs and then they write some “crappy-ass” story around it.

Describing the smash hit Mamma Mia! as the exception to that rule, Spencer said the jukebox-musical label doesn’t fit Jersey Boys because the show was based on what really happened to the Four Seasons. The critically acclaimed show charts the creation, rise and fall of The Four Seasons and features more than a dozen of the legendary group’s greatest hits.

I think Spencer has an excellent point about Jersey Boys! It is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, from their early days as young thugs singing under streetlamps in the 1950s, to their triumphant chart topping success of the 1960s, to their personal and professional failures, and of course the group’s 1990 induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Even though practically every theater critic out there has labeled Jersey Boys into the “jukebox musical” genre, I think Spencer is right –Jersey Boys is more of a rock biography that highlights lives and the phenomenal music of the Four Seasons.

What do you think? Is Jersey Boys a rock bio or a traditional “jukebox musical”?


  1. A Rock Bio – every step of the way, every word spoken and every note sung. This play has you laughing and crying and dancing in your seat. This range of emotions is not even close in a jukebox musical. It is a totally different genre.

    Comment by JoAnn — January 4, 2006 @ 10:40 pm

  2. [...] In a previous post, Jersey Boys Bog asked the question, Jersey Boys: A Rock Biography or a Jukebox Musical?? Although Chris Byrne of Gay City News believes that it is a jukebox musical, it demonstrates that the maligned genre is not all bad. He writes, [...]

    Pingback by JERSEY BOYS BLOG » Jersey Boys Proves Jukebox Musicals Can Have Substance — January 19, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

  3. hiya your songs are great and i love ryan molloy

    Comment by tiffany richardson — January 18, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

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