January 27, 2008

Still More News on JB Coming to Australia!

January 27th, 2008

News of Jersey Boys heading to Melbourne is all over the Australian press this morning!

From Sydney Morning Herald: The musical hit Jersey Boys, chronicling the careers of the 1960s idols Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is Melbourne’s latest effort to fulfill its ambition of becoming Australia’s Broadway. The promoters of Jersey Boys hope to see a 12-month run at the Princess Theatre from March next year for a show that has played to audiences of 2.4 million people in the US.

Victoria’s Innovation Minister, Gavin Jennings, announced the Melbourne season on stage at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre, where the show won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Mr Jennings said producers were opting to premiere shows in Melbourne because of its wealth of theatres and appreciative audiences. “People from all around Australia come to productions in Melbourne and that’s what’s going to happen with the Jersey Boys. People are going to love this story,” he said.

“The genius of this is in the writing and the story-telling,” said Rodney Rigby, whose Sydney company is co-producing the Australian show with Paul Dainty. “It’s very bold of Frankie Valli and [the songwriter] Bob Gaudio to let their story be told so honestly.”

The drama of Jersey Boys lies in the undoing of the group, the toll on their private lives, and friction from mobster loan sharks.

The show premiered in La Jolla, California, in 2004, sparking a revival of Valli’s career in particular. Not that he ever stopped performing; he just started singing to bigger audiences.

A London production is in rehearsal, complete with the Broadway production’s speech director, who is coaxing a “Joyzee” accent out of English mouths, and it will open soon in Las Vegas.

Jersey Boys is very much a New York story. Is Dainty worried that the story might not connect with Australian audiences?

“I really think it will resonate with Australian audiences,” he said. “My mantra is if you go to Jersey Boys and don’t enjoy it, then you had better have a look in the mirror and ask whether you enjoy living.”

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