June 23, 2007

Jersey Boys’ Perspectives on Jersey Beat!

June 23rd, 2007

Jersey Boys Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer, and John Lloyd Young are among the many marvelous contributors who have provided song commentaries on the “Jersey Beat” boxed set. While Christian, Daniel, and JLY give their thoughts on songs performed in Jersey Boys, Bobby highlights one of the Four Seasons’ most underrated (peaking at #30 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart), but still phenomenal hits, “Girl Come Running.”

Christian Hoff: “Beggin’”–This song’s relentless groove represents the 4 Seasons’ will to succeed without losing sight of their working-class humility. In my portrayal of Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys on Broadway I tap into this every moment on stage, and it rings true every time.

Daniel Reichard: “Opus 17″–In Jersey Boys, during “Opus 17,” Frankie and Bob are facing their greatest obstacles, not only in their business but in their own friendship after the band begins to change. When I was creating the role of Bob Gaudio for the pre-Broadway tryout in La Jolla, California, our director Des McAnuff said of “Opus 17,” “Aren’t the words of this song so true? Haven’t we all been there before?” Then, just before we began rehearsals for Broadway, I was going through some difficulty in a relationship, and suddenly I realized, “Oh! That’s what that song is about!” When people ask why I think the songs resonate, I remember that time, and that realization. And I tell them that I think it’s because the songs describe so truthfully the vulnerability, regret, and, most especially, strength each of us feels during life’s most challenging moments. At times, the songs feel as if they were written especially with you in mind.

J. Robert Spencer: “Girl Come Running”–I play Nick Massi in the original cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys. Since I am lovingly referred to as the Ringo of the group, I’ve been asked to talk about one of the underrated hits of the 4 Seasons. I’d call “Girl Come Running” the unsung Ringo in this incredible catalog of Seasons songs. I just listened to it for the first time ever, and I love it. Its constant movement of harmony lines with all four members is fluid throughout the entire piece. It has a great verse, hooky chorus, and an easy change from the bridge into a key change of climactic proportions. I wish we were doing it in Jersey Boys. I know we would all have a great time performing it on stage. Like every 4 Seasons song, it’s got Bob Gaudio’s amazing touch with the piano and Bob Crewe’s groundbreaking production. The drums are, as always, laying down a lively groove over a nostalgic, heartbreaking melody being used to the very best of Frankie Valli’s vocal genius. Frankie’s voice is at its peak. What a pleasure to know these guys. I hope you enjoy this gem of yesterday as much as I do. Peace.

John Lloyd Young: “Fallen Angel”–At the end of Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli experiences a great and devastating personal loss. This is one of the rare moments in the show where the lyrics fit the dramatic situation so perfectly, that the actor can just open up and sing them as if they were written lines. The lyrics of loss and despair, the swelling emotion of the song, mirror exactly my feelings as an actor playing Frankie at this tragic point of his story in Jersey Boys.

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  1. Thanks so much, Susie, for continuing to give your readers info about the Jersey Beat box set. The Boys did a fabulous job on their four quotes. Daniel Reichard sent in one good version and then the next day, without being asked, he sent in a second version that was even better and very personal. Thanks to all four of you for making marvelous contributions to Jersey Beat. Allbest, Charles

    Comment by Charles Alexander — June 23, 2007 @ 1:54 pm

  2. I played “Girl Come Running” twice yesterday, and gosh, Bobby, you’re right on the mark. The hook is continually on my mind today.

    Actually, I think each of us have our own listings of the Ringo’s in the catalog. In addition to GCR, I’d include “To Give”, “Watch the Flowers Grow”, “Hickory”, “Peanuts” and “Idaho”–and before Jersey Boys gave them new lives–”Fallen Angel” and “Beggin’”.

    Wonderful job, Charles. These quotes are priceless.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — June 26, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

  3. Howard,
    Bobby had a great video interview on the show’s website (http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/broadway/) a while ago. Unfortunately it has been taken off, but it was the best description of the Four Seasons’ musical style for a novice to understand. I really wish I could watch it again… just in case anyone knows where I can access it. (Hint, hint to those managing the site at the show!)

    I agree, Howard, these quotes are priceless and a real enhancement to the whole package. Thank you to Charles and our own Jersey Boys.

    Comment by Audrey — June 27, 2007 @ 10:36 am

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