June 2, 2008

Jersey Boys Is Contagious in Vegas!

June 2nd, 2008

Phil Gallo of Variety.com adored Jersey Boys in Vegas! According to Gallo, the Vegas edition of Jersey Boys displays a pure and propulsive rock ‘n’ roll spirit that has been less apparent in other incarnations. The production, especially the briskly paced first act, is big, loud and contagious thanks to snappy direction and a potent lead quartet portraying the Four Seasons. A rare songbook musical with a dramatic biography attached, this is the zippiest of all the Broadway transfers to the Strip and may well be the strongest exception to the rule that Vegas visitors cannot be kept captive for more than 90 minutes.


  1. For the most part, this is a wonderful review of a MOST deserving production and I truly hope it generates the word-of-mouth that’ll be essential in keeping Jersey Boys on The Strip for a long time to come! I have to disagree, though, with Mr. Gallo’s assessment of the Jersey Girls, particularly with regard to “My Boyfriend’s Back”. I’m old enough to remember the original version by The Angels and can understand the surprise of those who might be expecting a faithful reproduction in Jersey Boys. But the updated rendition in the show is, to me at least, a refreshing and welcome reworking of the original’s “helpless girl hides behind her big strong boyfriend” foundation. The sexist undertones (some might even say overtones) of the song, while considered entirely acceptable in 1963, could have proven to be an unnecessary distraction from the story at hand. Instead, Jersey Boys maintains the song’s connection with its roots through costumes and props while wisely updating its performance to better suit modern sensibilities. The Jersey Girls are FIERCE when performing this song and I, for one, am glad that the original context was lost in the translation! Purists may balk at the notion of any variation from the source material, but I believe that these updates, from the sound of The Angels to the performance of 40-year-old Four Seasons songs through state-of-the-art audio equipment, are the very things that have attracted new generations to this music through the show. I don’t pretend to speak for all women, but perhaps it takes a woman’s viewpoint to appreciate how the Jersey Girls have re-energized The Angels’ original material. I say more power to them!

    Comment by Andrea Kim — June 3, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  2. Excellent comment, Andrea, you said it ten times better than I could have. Yes, the critic’s harsh words about MBB jumped out at me too as being over the top. True, as you, he, and I all noticed, having been around when the song first hit, the JB version is a bit different from the original. But the added brashness/sexiness fits in well with the girls as they are portrayed in the show. I love how Natalie Bradshaw belts out the lead and gets down and gritty wid it. My only wish is that the intro to the song (“He went away [clap-clap, clap-clap] and you hung around [clap-clap, clap-clap]…”), with the girls’ hips swung out exaggeratedly (talk about brash sexiness, or sexy brashness, or whatever) would not have been cut from the Vegas show.

    If the critic doesn’t like it, well, that’s his opinion as the above is mine, and that’s fine, but I disagree with his view that it’s just wrong. It might serve him well to note that MBB is not the only song to be presented in the show in a style different from the original. Though all the 4S hits are done quite faithfully, as they should be, some of the lesser songs are not. “Silhouettes” in the show, for example, is different from the original by the Rays AND from the 4S version from their 2nd album (and from Herman’s Hermits cover as well, for that matter). “Apple Of My Eye” is almost a send-up of the versions the 4S did as the 4S on their first album and earlier as the Four Lovers, and it’s a kick in the pants. And the even “smaller” songs like “Sunday Kind of Love” and “My Mother’s Eyes” have been re-tooled for the show. And they sound great.

    Gimme them hip-swingin’, sass talkin’ Angels anyday.

    Comment by stubbleyou — June 4, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  3. Oh, I think you did a FINE job, Stubbleyou! Your comments are right on the mark as far as I’m concerned. The original recordings are all readily available and the differences are immediately apparent to anyone who listens. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that those very differences are largely responsible for attracting younger fans to this music. And I agree with you about Natalie Bradshaw. I love to watch her eyes scanning the crowd as she spits out those lyrics…she really commands that stage! You’re also right to point out that Mr. Gallo is as entitled to his opinion as you or I. The wonderful thing about the internet is that those with other viewpoints are able to voice their opinions in the very same forums. Thanks for joining me in providing some needed balance to Mr. Gallo’s observations…those Jersey Girls work FAR too hard in that production to be dismissed in that way! And by the way, it’s nice to connect with you again after meeting you on April 4th…even if it’s just in this “virtual” place!

    Comment by Andrea Kim — June 4, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  4. Well said Andrea. The song is a showcase for the Jersey Girls and the version is in keeping with the show’s high energy and updated renditions. I love how they perform it and as Stubbleyou says, Natalie is one of the fiercest Angels I have seen!!

    Comment by LindaL — June 4, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

  5. I don’t know, stubbleyou, just saying the words to “My Boyfriend’s Back” would really play mind games with the scoundrel. He’d be quaking in his boots, never knowing when or where or even if the “boyfriend” would ever show up to administer the “beating”. There’s a name for that concept, but I can’t think of what it is. Sometimes, a clever use of words can have the desired effect, regardless of the milieu or era of male-female relationships.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 4, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

  6. Funny you mention Natalie B’s eyes, Andrea – is it just me or does that girl have the biggest, cuteset eyes around? Nice to see that all of us here have noticed her talent — I think she’s gonna be bigger than Streisand!

    Comment by stubbleyou — June 5, 2008 @ 8:48 am

  7. Only if she has some work done on her nose, Stubbleyou! You left yourself wide open for that one, buddy!

    Comment by Howard Tucker — June 5, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  8. Well, Stubbleyou, I probably can’t appreciate Natalie’s eyes in QUITE the same way that you do, but I completely agree that they’re among the biggest and most expressive I’ve ever seen. When she surveys the audience during MBB, it’s as if she’s saying “Yeah, I’m in control here, and you and I BOTH know it!” In fact, when I saw her at the opening night party, I told her that I LOVE watching her eyes during that song! And she was SO sweet in thanking me for saying that. I totally miss the original tour Jersey Girls (Jackie, Sandy, and Melissa), but Natalie was a REAL find for the production. If they’re smart, they’ll keep her as long as she’s willing to stay. And by the way, Stubbleyou, YOUR eyes are kinda cute too!

    Comment by Andrea Kim — June 5, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

  9. My eyes un-bored you? Ha ha ha. Ty, Andrea, tyvm.

    You must be talking about the 5/3/08 opening party? I told her similar at the 4/4/08 party.

    And Howard’s wisecrack in comment #7 above my be the FUNNIEST JB-related quip EVER!!

    Comment by stubbleyou — June 7, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  10. C’mon now Howard and sW, don’t pick on Barbra for her nose. Her activities OUTSIDE the music business are plenty. But we should remember that Bob Gaudio and Charles Calello have helped by producing and arranging some of Barbra’s most popular singles, so we should leave her be here.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 7, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  11. Ted, that surely is a reference to (When-there-are-four-guys-and-you’re) Ringo’s line in “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Aw, go pick on your own nose,” uttered to Paul’s rabble-rousing grandfather.

    Well isn’t it?

    Comment by stubbleyou — June 9, 2008 @ 11:48 pm

  12. Of course, Ted, but ya gotta remember, Bob Gaudio is responsible for two life-changing events for Barbra: producing the Streisand/Diamond classic “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and, after lengthy consultation with Stubbleyou, advising “Babs, don’t change your nose”, and the rest, as they say, is history!

    Comment by Howard Tucker — June 10, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  13. So that’s what Bob Gaudio and Stubbleyou were talking about when they snapped that picture, Howard, whether Barbra should make an appointment for Rhinoplasty? And following Stubbleyou’s logic, perhaps this is why FV4S compilations are on Rhino Records?

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 10, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

  14. This is true: I used to shop at Rhino Records when all it was was a 20′ x 20′ record store in Westwood a few miles south of UCLA. The two guys who I’m pretty sure are now the multi-jillionaire CEO/owners used to sit around with their feet up BS’ing about music like John Cusack and Jack Black in “High Fidelity.” I must have bought half my collection of used ’60′s vinyl there, half of that for 50 cents a disc or less. They would give me stuff like used copies of the Outsiders’ “Time Won’t Let Me” album (I didn’t have the heart to tell them I already had it) and say, “Here, Stubs [not my real name - the needle has been changed to protect the record], you’re the only one who likes this crap.”

    From the Wiki article on Rhino: “Rhino started as a record shop in 1973 by Richard Foos. It became a record label five years later thanks to the effort of then-store manager Harold Bronson. Their early releases were mostly novelty records (with their first single being Wild Man Fischer’s ‘Go To Rhino Records’…)” I have that record. I think it’s autographed by Wild Man Fischer, but I’m not sure. I also have what I believe is one of the first LP’s on Rhino, “Mogen David and the Winos;” I’m pretty sure either Bronson was the leader of the band. And I don’t think that Mogen David was really Michael David of Dodger productions, but who knows? And the best cut on the album was “She Got A Nose Job,” bringing us full circle back to Barbra Streisand, in Ted’s favorite game of “Six Degrees of Bob Gaudio.”

    Comment by stubbleyou — June 10, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

  15. We have some characters like that who have run record shops in my neck of the woods, also. One was in Rochester (MI), Madonna’s hometown. This was the one where I first became aware of the Four Season’s “25th Anniversary Collection” on Rhino in 1987.

    The other is a great New and Used record store called “Musical Memories” in Flint. I bought a bunch of used Four Seasons Vee Jay and Philips 45s there. I had figured out that David Geddes (“Run, Joey, Run”) was the same singer as David Idema (“House on Holly Road”). After buying both singles, the next time I came in the owner asked if I was there to buy the “House On Holly Road” album.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 11, 2008 @ 5:57 am

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