November 25, 2015

Two Takes on a Friday Morning: Recap of Jersey Boys Thanksgiving Promo Taping!

November 25th, 2015

By Lulu Thompson, Jersey Boys Blog Special Correspondent

That was it…two takes on a Friday morning…and then Jersey Boys promo which will air during the CBS Thanksgiving Day parade was done. Let me give you my version of what actually happened.

On October 30th, the line in front of the August Wilson wasn’t particularly long, but those that were present had an air of anticipation about them. Jersey Boys needed seat fillers for as an yet unknown national TV spot, and who better to fill those seats than seasoned fans! (We certainly didn’t need to audition to fill a seat. I dare say that many who are reading this now have favorite seats in that theatre that have a few well-worn indentations that fit us quite comfortably, thank you very much!) Adding to the excitement was the Playbill delivery truck out front with thousands of Jersey Boys Playbills inside; yes, I peeked and took pictures. People chatted in line about previous Jersey Boys experiences and I met someone who I only knew through FB, all the while standing outside the theatre on a beautiful, breezy morning. The appointed time came and passed and a few people were getting anxious, but after all it was TV and apparently that means a lot of standing around. Finally the doors opened and we went inside the lobby area. Only a short wait there, many of us took the opportunity to take pictures under the “Jersey Boys” Walk sign and get a close-up view of the “Tony” in the glass case in the nearly empty lobby. Large disclosure signs revealed the event being filmed and the music from the inside of the theatre got everyone excited again.

Finally, we went inside and filled the first four rows of the theatre and a few side seats. Stepping over camera wires and gaping at headset runners and directors, we awaited our directions. We were instructed to clap enthusiastically as the cast performed…okay, I’ve practiced that for the last ten years!

Joe Bwarie walked out from the left wing and of course, we all clapped immediately…entrance applause! He stood center stage as lights and cameras focused on him. Dressed in the bright red suit now used in commercials and ads, he smiled at us briefly before walking away. Ready for action, he walked out again and our applause accompanied the opening lyrics of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” It took a couple of more takes to reset lighting, but you can bet no one in the audience was complaining!

Then Joe was joined onstage by Quinn, Richard and Matt as the guys sang, “Walk Like a Man,” and then the whole company joined them for “Oh, What a Night.” They performed as if to a sell-out crowd and we clapped and cheered for our Jersey Boys and girls. The difficult part was staying in our seat, but we were told to remain seated so as not to block the camera. As “cut” was called it was slightly jarring to see the cast break character, but it makes you realize how professional they are onstage and how hard they work to entertain each and every audience. Our job was easy; the company had to be in full costume, hair and make-up at 10:30 am on a Friday of a busy weekend. The cast kept their places as the crew took a look at the video, and thanked us for being there. It was great seeing everyone, but I admit I felt a little sentimental seeing Sara Schmidt, Peter Gregus, and Mark Lotito onstage…10-year veterans of the show. I thought of all the actors and actresses I had seen and met over the past decade through this wonderful show, and the friendships that have been forged through a shared passion.

“One more take” said the director much to the chagrin of some cast members, but we loved hearing that in the audience. One more take, as perfect as the first one, and it was over. We slowly filed out, and I even noticed one participant checking out her theatre seat for next Friday’s evening show. I had a chance to speak briefly to JT, one of the hardest-working stage hands in the wings of the August Wilson. Mark Lotito stopped to speak to a few people as well.

Outside the theatre, I saw a tall fellow who looked like he could be Gyp’s bodyguard. He was standing next to a lot of equipment being hauled out of the theater. He said that the whole production began at 8am with about 20 crew members from local CBS affiliates. It was a four-camera shot promo. All in all, about five hours of work for a couple of minutes. Check it out on Thanksgiving morning on CBS. You can see a fantastic performance by the cast of Jersey Boys…and the back of my head! But, hey, that’s showbiz!


  1. I forgot to mention my cohort that day, Audrey Rockman, who shivered in the brisk morning air that I loved. (Can’t forget to mention her…she’s from Jersey…she knows people!)

    Comment by Lulu Thompson — November 25, 2015 @ 7:26 pm

  2. Thank you LuLu!!! So fun to read for those of us that couldn’t go. Even more fun after having met you recently in NYC. A well written fun read!!! Dawn

    Comment by Dawn Deines — November 26, 2015 @ 1:31 pm

  3. Great job Lulu! Nice to see you’re now an official JB Special Correspondent. This could be the beginning of a fantastic new career for you! Happy Holidays!

    Comment by Gary — November 30, 2015 @ 11:58 am

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