March 26, 2007

NEWSFLASH: Jersey Boys Will Be Coming To Toronto!

March 26th, 2007

Toronto Star Theatre Critic Richard Ouzounian reports that the biggest hit on Broadway is coming to Toronto – the only questions are where and when. The Star has learned that Aubrey Dan and his Dancap Productions have snared the rights to Jersey Boys, the 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical.

The show’s director, Scarborough native Des McAnuff, made it official in an interview yesterday. “Sergio Trujillo (the show’s choreographer, also from Toronto) and I are looking forward to our mutual homecoming, bringing this incredible show back to our city.” McAnuff had come to town to check out the Main Stage Theatre of the Toronto Centre for the Arts as a possible venue for the show and pronounced it “such a beautiful theatre. It’s big, but it has a certain intimacy to it as well. Jersey Boys would work very, very well there.”

And to that end, Dan has offered the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York a guaranteed six-month minimum rental offer for the Main Stage, starting in July 2008. But at a meeting Friday, the Centre’s board deferred a decision until its May 15 session to give it time to prepare a “risk assessment report” to determine whether to accept the Dancap proposal. Ouzounian states that it’s hard to see what’s so risky about the proposition.

Unlike The Producers, which was solid in Manhattan, but wobbled on the road, Jersey Boys is demonstrating that it’s not only gold in Gotham (where it hasn’t had an empty seat since it opened in October 2005) but works just as well in the hinterlands. The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the hit pop group from the 1960s and ’70s, known for songs like “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man,” has proved dynamite with blue-collar audiences as well as more traditional theatregoers.

Although Dan still sees July 2008 and the centre as the ideal time and place to produce Jersey Boys in Toronto, he won’t be stopped if the board rejects his offer. He’s prepared to go to the Elgin in January 2009, if necessary.

McAnuff is happy no matter where or when it happens. He stated, “I’m just very much looking forward to doing Jersey Boys in Toronto.”

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