June 26, 2014

Red Dressed for the Best Party Ever!

June 26th, 2014

By Jersey Boys Blog Special Correspondent Pamela Singer

Sometimes the stars really ARE in alignment, my friends. On June 9th, 2014, we didn’t need Bob Crewe’s perceptive ears or astrological expertise to predict an event of celestial significance. The NYC Premiere of the Jersey Boys movie was spectacular, a magical, enchanted, emotional evening. It was an incredibly special experience, even by Jersey Boys standards, which is really saying something. You’ve heard of a Jersey handshake, haven’t you? Well this was a Jersey total body knock out. Speaking of which, it was great to see JERSEY BOYS alum and Rocky star Andy Karl amongst the many guests and stars, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. You ask four different people what happened that night, you get four different stories. I’m the intrepid JERSEY BOYS Correspondent who was there from start to finish, and can tell you what really went down. Let’s begin at the beginning.

Monday June 9th dawns gray and rainy in New York City, an ominous start to the day. The weather Gods must have gotten a call from Gyp de Carlo though, as by4pm, everything had miraculously cleared up to make way for beautiful night weather wise, warm and calm. All day, Jersey Boys fans and friends from around the tri-state area and beyond were getting ready for a big night. The anticipation was palpable, felt as far away as Florida and California. Trapped in the Sunshine State, Charles Alexander, Jersey Boys aficionado extraordinaire, describes it this way “My heart was truly in 2 places that night.” Meanwhile, this Jersey girl was home putting on her best Jersey attire At. 5p.m. a group of us gather at Michael’s restaurant for an early dinner. (Yes, the occasion called for an upgrade from the Cosmic Diner.) How wonderful to share this night with such special friends Wanda, JT, Barbara, Carolyn, Doug, Sharon, Billy, Lisa, Howard, Ashton, Jackie and Marilyn, some of whom were meeting for the first time. This Jersey Boys thing is truly a strong bond that unites. My heart is kvelling like the heart of a Jewish mother, which is only appropriate. We have a sumptuous dinner, replete with champagne. And why not?!

At 7p.m. we all walk over to the Paris Theatre, where the movie is screening. Nestled on west 58th street next to the Plaza Hotel, this jewel of a theatre opened in 1948, with Marlene Dietrich cutting the inaugural ribbon. A great actress and personality herself, Marlene would certainly have been a JERSEY BOYS fan! The Paris has 581 seats, soon to be filled to capacity with our magnificent Jersey Boys family, all overly excited, even by Tommy DeVito’s standards! As we get our tickets and meander in, we see and greet so many other Jersey Boys friends and fans, too many here to name. In the orchestra and mezzanine, a virtual sea of Jersey. The soundtrack of the original Broadway cast is playing, and we’re singing, laughing, swaying and hugging simultaneously. Flashes keep popping from all the pictures being taken. The love is just pouring out of us.

At 7:30 a few of us go back out to the lobby, as the press and photo line is starting. Okay so the carpet isn’t really red, but you get the picture. Stars galore start walking in. As is fitting, one of the first is John Lloyd Young, both the film’s and Broadway’s first Frankie Valli, not to mention a Tony winner for his incredible portrayal of The Man. Flashing a million dollar smile, John looks dapper and relaxed. Following him, Erich Bergen (Bob Gaudio) and Michael Lomenda (Nick Massi). Could these Boys be any more handsome or debonair??! I think not. More stars of the movie pour in. Renee Marino (Mary Delgado) looks gorgeous, Donnie Kehr (Norm Waxman) and Joey Russo (Joe Pesci), elegant in their dark suits, among others. What a thrill that so many of the movie cast are familiar to us from the stage, not to mention the stage door!

Coming down the line now are more JERSEY BOYS talents from past to present; Andrew Rannells, Sergio Trujillo, Richard Hester and the aforementioned Andy Karl. And then, a bevy of Oscar, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winners proceed, among them Bebe Neuwirth, Roger Rees, Tommy Tune, Clive Davis, Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin, David Chase, Candace Bergen, Alan Cumming, and many more. Apparently, this is THE place to be tonight, and everyone is a JERSEY BOYS fan. How terrific see Frankie, Bob, Tommy, and Gyp’s children and grandchildren! Finally, the crème de la crème walk through, JERSEY BOYS stage and screen scribes extraordinaire Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman. These men are two of the smartest, funniest, kindest mensches to ever walk a red carpet anywhere. Not for the first or last time this night, I feel a strong surge of emotion. Happiness, pride, and gratitude bring tears to my eyes. Rick and Marshall went out of their way to assure that most of us were there tonight. Could we love these guys any more than we already do??!

At 8:15 we make our way to our assigned seats, the air alive with anticipation. Suddenly, the lights are dimmed and our collective breaths held. Walking briskly down the right side aisle now with his inimitable stride, is Clint Eastwood, the film’s highly esteemed director. Yes, THAT Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry himself, iconic movie star, Mayor, and unknown too many, jazz musician and music historian. Who better to direct this masterpiece than a living legend like Clint?! Fortuitously, I’m sitting in the front row a mere 8 feet away from him. We listen raptly as Clint introduces the film and talks briefly about its shoot. The movie hasn’t even started yet and we’re already enthralled.

The theatre goes dark and then, amid cheers and applause, the movie starts, up on the big screen at last, what we’ve all come to see. Again, my heart leaps to my throat, and I’m caught in a myriad of emotions. The last nine years rush by. I think about how much the show has meant to me, how it’s changed my life and brought in so many wonderful people and shared experiences. The familiar sounds of “Oh What A Night” waft through the Paris (the name so very right), and the joyride begins. We’re transported back to 1951, to Belleville, New Jersey, not to a street corner, but to a neighborhood barber shop. For the next 2 ¼ hours, we’ll follow our Boys through both familiar and unfamiliar territory. No matter how much you thought you knew about the Four Seasons, I promise you’ll learn something new here. So what was the movie really like? Well, if I told you, I’d have to shoot all the witnesses. It’s a basic rule! What I can tell you is that the movie stands on its own, and that the end will leave you smiling and satisfied.

After the film, we all reluctantly leave the theatre, not wanting the evening to end. And it doesn’t! The cast and writers, incredibly generous beforehand, continue to pay it forward. This is a happy and gregarious group. Everyone is taking pictures, offering congratulations, good wishes, and thanks. We all know we’ve seen something special, and feel fortunate and blessed to be here.

They ask you, what was the high point of the night? Was it seeing and sharing this experience with so many wonderful friends? Was it hanging with the cast and creatives? Was it seeing a fantastic movie? It was all great, but the first time we heard that sound, their sound, our JERSEY BOYS, and everything dropped away and there was just the music, THAT was the best! That’s why we’re all still here, like that Energizer bunny on TV. We keep going and going , to the show, now the movie, chasing the music, trying to get home. Who loves you baby? We do!!


  1. Thanks, Pam, for the great review of the NYC screening! I was blessed to be part of that special evening, as well as being part of the East Coast fan base for three months now. It was a night to remember, and meeting a lot of friends and fellow fans made my evening a great one, not to mention sitting with the cast, Broadway, TV and film celebrities too. Thanks to Audrey for the invitation and making my 1st “red carpet affair” a memorable one! This event made my transition from former “Californian” to “Jersey Boy” complete!

    Comment by Mike Magbaleta — June 26, 2014 @ 8:51 am

  2. My husband and I were completely thrilled with seeing the movie. All of you guys are WONDERFUL. Our Grand Rapids, MI newspaper gave it two stars and I knew before going to see it that it would be a FIVE star. We grew up in the era of The Four Seasons and it brought back a lot of memories. Being Italian from Chicago, it meant even more because we can relate to so many of the “Italian” customs like plastic on the furniture! We have had many people tell us how when they saw the movie that they thought John Lloyd Young looks like our son who is 37. He does not have a singing voice but he is the drummer for a popular band called Domestic Problems here in the Midwest. Thanks for reading our comments and we love the CD as well. When the movie is released to purchase, we will have it the first day. Thanks again for being able to have so much fun at a movie!!

    Comment by Conni Ness — June 26, 2014 @ 9:54 am

  3. Nice summary Pam. You said it all; I have nothing to add. What was nice is that after the movie, the stars continued to mingle with all of us commoners. And it was so nice to again see so many people we’ve gotten to know over the past eight years.

    Comment by Howard — June 26, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

  4. What a fantastic article, Pam! Anyone who reads it will feel as though they were there, enjoying the fanfare, mingling with the stars and with old and new friends. So sorry to have missed the event but your article is so enthusiastically written, I feel a part of the festivities. I did see the movie about a week and a half later and loved it.

    Comment by irene eizen — June 26, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

  5. Pam…this gave me goosebumps! You have a way of bringing the reader in and making them feel like they were there…oh yeah…I was there. I am one lucky girl…especially to have met you through this wonderful show.

    Comment by Carolyn Miller — June 26, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

  6. Pam, you just keep getting better and better! Well done, as always.

    Comment by Gary — June 26, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

  7. Pam: What a wonderful review. Thanks so much for recapping the evening. Truly special.

    Comment by Linda Lipsius — June 26, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

  8. Wow, so exciting! Wish I could’ve been there. But reading your write up with the next best thing!

    Comment by stubbleyou — June 27, 2014 @ 8:38 am

  9. Wonderful write-up, Pam. From your description of the events, it sounds like it was memorable evening. It was nice seeing you last weekend, as well. Sue says hello.

    Comment by Len Gersten — June 27, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  10. Thanks all for the nice words and comments. It was a real labor of love to write this article!

    Comment by Pamela — June 30, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  11. Thanks Pam for describing the events and excitment of the June 9, event at the Paris theater. I was there with my husband and felt so honored to have been there.
    Thank you Audrey for having my name on the list! Seeing and talking to the actors that were there was a dream come true.Clint Eastwood was so exciting to see that night.

    I have been a fan since October 2005 when I saw the play in previews and have been a fan of JLY and the play since 2005.
    I will remember June 9, 2014 and how it was such a special time. I have seen the Jersey Boys movie 5 times already.

    I feel so very lucky to have been at the screening June 9, “Oh What A Night”.

    Vivian DeMarco

    Comment by Vivian DeMarco — July 7, 2014 @ 9:09 pm

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