January 7, 2006

Can Upcoming Jukebox Broadway Musicals Follow the Success of Jersey Boys?

January 7th, 2006

Jack Zink reports that pop legends’ names and their music are all over Manhattan, the nation’s performing arts center circuit and regional theaters—they’re everywhere!

    In the spring of 1995, a revue of songs by rock tunesmiths Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller opened on Broadway. Smokey Joe’s Cafe was nominated for six Tony Awards, including best musical. Though it didn’t win, the show ran for five years on the strength of familiar standards like “Stand by Me” and “On Broadway.” Then there was Footloose in 1998 and the 1999 transfer from London of Saturday Night Fever, both adapted from films, added momentum.
    When Mamma Mia! opened in London in 1999, it had the further distinction of being a “catalog musical,” filled with the songs of the Swedish pop supergroup Abba. The show moved to New York 2001 and has since been seen by 24 million people and is still was still bringing in about $1 million per week on Broadway.
    Though the jukebox musical trend is now in full bloom, it’s already yielded three major notable Broadway bombs over the last year: “Good Vibrations”, “Lennon”, and “All Shook Up.”

With three major Broadway jukebox flops, how could Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons be such a HOT ticket on Broadway since opening in November? Easily! This incredible rock biography, depicting the blue collar bands’ turbulent climb to the top of the charts, has earned the best reviews of the season and is definitely headed for a Tony nomination!

It looks like there’s no end in sight with the jukebox musical genre: Ring of Fire, visualizing the Johnny Cash songbook will begin Broadway previews in early February; and Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do, a new show featuring Neil Sedaka’s hits, is soon to open in Florida.

Do you think the Cash or Sedaka musicals will be the next Jersey Boys? I wouldn’t bet on it!!


  1. Please see my review of “Jersey Boys” at

    Comment by Richard — January 8, 2006 @ 12:47 am

  2. Richard,
    What a great review! Thank you for sharing it!

    Comment by Administrator — January 8, 2006 @ 11:13 am

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