June 12, 2006

The Crowd Goes Wild at La Jolla Playhouse Tony Party!

June 12th, 2006

Jersey Boys Blog is thrilled to post a report from Special Correspondent Sue Lasbury from the La Jolla Playhouse Tony Awards party!

La Jolla Playhouse Tony Award Party
La Jolla, California
11 June 2006, 4:30 to 8:30pm
Home of the 2006 Tony Award Winner, Best Musical: Jersey Boys

Two hundred Jersey Boys fans gathered in a rehearsal hall at the La Jolla Playhouse Sunday afternoon at 4:30pm to watch a live feed from Radio City Music Hall in New York broadcasting the 60th Annual Tony Awards. The La Jolla Playhouse is where it all started for Jersey Boys in the summer of 2004, which is when the cast first began rehearsals. And tonight we watched our “Boys” accept FOUR Tony awards, including Best Musical. What a thrill!

Jessica Burrows, who plays Lara in the La Jolla Playhouse’s current production of Zhivago was there and told me Melissa Hoff, also in Zhivago, had flown to New York to be with her husband, Christian Hoff, at the Tony awards. So there was Melissa by his side as he heard that he had won the Tony for Featured Actor in a musical. The crowd went absolutely wild when we heard Christian’s name. He grew up in San Diego and attended San Diego’s School for Performing and Creative Arts. A table of folks from that school cheered for their talented alum.

During one of the commercial breaks someone called from Radio City Music Hall to tell us Christian had been seen earlier having a chat with his character, the real Tommy DeVito. We also learned that La Jolla Playhouse’s Howell Binkley had been presented a Tony for his lighting design for JB.

Besides providing us with endless food and drinks, the La Jolla Playhouse had thoughtfully decorated the rehearsal hall where we gathered with props from the original JB production. During all of the commercial breaks items were raffled, including a Jersey Boys Playbill autographed by all four of the boys.

Many of the people in the room had seen the show numerous times. The four folks at the table next to us had seen JB a total of 11 times. One woman, Marilyn Eriksen, had seen JB four times in La Jolla, the first preview in New York, and opening night in New York. Her enthusiasm for JB was a joy to watch.

The entire group of 200 screamed every time they saw anything having to do with Jersey Boys on the huge screen, especially when Joe Pesci introduced the surviving Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio and Tommy DeVito. Then they really went crazy when John Lloyd Young sang “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” When the cast moved into “Who Loves You,” the entire room seemed to be singing along.

Then, it was John Lloyd Young’s turn to accept his Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. He was up against some amazing talent, yet we all agreed he had earned this award with an incredible ability to awe his audiences 8 times a week with his wonderful voice, acting ability and charm.

Finally we faced the “nail-biter:” Best Musical. For weeks now we’ve been reading that Drowsy Chaperone, which opened May 1st on Broadway looked to be a stiff competitor. We saw it in New York in early May and we liked it very much, but certainly not as much as JB. Would it edge out the “Boys?” Would the evil “jukebox” label put off the Tony voters? As Julie Andrews, the presenter, spoke of how Mary Martin had criticized My Fair Lady in its early development days, I thought about all the hurdles JB had managed to overcome. New York had not initially welcomed JB with open arms. Before it opened some said it was never going to survive, and it was never going to overcome the fate of other similar shows using the music of past groups. Then we all sat quietly as Ms. Andrews opened the envelope, looked down and slowly read: Jersey Boys.

People jumped up and down, screamed, hugged each other, and generally lost it. It was a beautiful moment for all of us connected in some way to the La Jolla Playhouse and to its fabulous production of Jersey Boys. Finally, Des McAnuff, director of Jersey Boys and artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse called and we heard his excited message. We were all drunk with delight and now we could go home and watch it all over again on the CBS West Coast broadcast.

WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you to Sue Lasbury for sharing the excitement of the La Jolla Playhouse Tony Awards celebration with Jersey Boys Blog!

1 Comment »

  1. Sue Lasbury catches the excitement at the West Coast Tony Awards Party! We dined on diner food, giant gumballs and root beer floats. As we all nervously chomped gumballs, we were rewarded with Jersey Boys landing 3 top awards for this top show. Hurrah for the home team and anyone who had anything to do with this fabulous show being created and brought to Broadway.

    Comment by elay starr — June 13, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

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