March 18, 2006

Jersey Boys–Broadway’s Big Surprise

March 18th, 2006

New York Post critic Barbara Hoffman claims that WEIRD things are happening at the August Wilson Theatre these days – baby boomers bounce out feeling 16 again, and twentysomethings are singing falsetto—all because of Jersey Boys, the gritty pop-music bio about the ’60s group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

With stage-door crowds, mid-show ovations, Hoffman says that Jersey Boys has become the Fiddler on the Roof for baby boomers, Garden Staters, and anyone else whose heart skips a beat at “Sherry” (“Sherry, ba-by!”).

The success of Jersey Boys is astounding, even for Four Seasons’ superstar Frankie Valli. He states,

“You always hope that what you’re doing is going to be successful, but I never dreamed it would be as successful as it’s been. I’ve had a career before the play, and I was doing ‘The Sopranos’ and casino work … but now it’s back into everybody knows who you are, everybody’s pointing. It’s terrific!”

Jersey Boys has been terrifically profitable: Not only are Four Seasons albums selling like it’s the ’60s again, but the show is one of Broadway’s red-hot tickets – grossing more than $17 million since the fall, and taking in $997,329 last week alone ($60,000 more than “Mamma Mia!”) – thanks, in part, to repeat visits. Hoffman notes that in a recent poll taken on Jersey Boys Blog, 15 percent of respondents said they’ve seen the show 10 or more times.

Valli’s business partner, and original Four Season member Bob Gaudio, is amazed as he watches the audience at Jersey Boys. He says,

“When I go to the show now, I’m rarely watching the stage – I’m watching the people, who never take their eyes off the stage.”

Fans tell Hoffman that it’s not just the music, but it’s the story they love—a tough, often funny tale about working-class guys who make good, tangle with the mob and manage to make it out alive.

According to John Lloyd Young, who plays Frankie Valli,

“This is a show about working-class heroes, and New York is a city of working-class heroes.”

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