December 14, 2010

The Crowd Goes Wild: Five Years of Jersey Boys–Paley Center for Media Recap, Part Four

December 14th, 2010

(Photo Credit #3-16:

This is the final segment covering the amazing Q&A event at the Paley Center for Media on November 8, The Crowd Goes Wild: Five Years of Jersey Boys, which featured original Four Seasons members Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli and JERSEY BOYS writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The event was moderated by Late Night with David Letterman’s musical director, Paul Shaffer.

In Part One, Paley Center for Media President and CEO Pat Mitchell welcomed the audience with rare television footage from The Four Seasons and Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio shared some amazing insights about the group and their unique sound and in Part Two, Gaudio and Valli continued to share thoughts about their music and their long-lasting careers. In Part Three, the panelists discussed how The Four Seasons story progressed from an idea to a script at La Jolla Playhouse to an award-winning Broadway and international phenomenon.

Before the Paley Center for Media Q&A event came to a close, Paul Shaffer gave audience members a truly once in a lifetime opportunity–to ask questions to the four genius panelists–Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice, Bob Gaudio, and Frankie Valli!

Practically every hand in the audience was raised and a few lucky participants were chosen to ask the panelists some questions. Again, Bob, Frankie, Marshall, and Rick shared some very fascinating and insightful reflections with the crowd. Here are some highlights:

Q: How difficult was it to deal with the sad moments in the show and how did you go about deciding what was going to be in the show?

Bob Gaudio noted that he was most concerned about Frankie’s reaction to the scenes focusing on Francine’s problems and her tragic death.

He also stated that if you would have seen the La Jolla production, it was primarily the same show that was brought to Broadway.

Additionally, according to Bob, if you look at the Jersey Boys’ version of The Four Seasons, the group seems more polished and balanced. As Bob said, “We look good now (chuckles). A comedian once said that we looked like two jockeys, a bookie, and a basketball player.”

Q: Who was ultimately responsible for the final selection of songs that were included in the show, and specifically what about “Cry For Me,” an obscure song that served as the flip side of a Frankie Valli solo single “You’re Ready Now.”

After Marshall Brickman told the old joke about choosing one tie over another given to you by your mother, Bob and Rick talked about how they needed to come up with a song for Gaudio’s audition into the group. At first, Bob thought of “Connie-O,” but they were not all that convinced it was the right song for that scene.

Rick said that Bob told him about a song he wrote many years ago, but couldn’t recall if it was called “Cry For Me” or “Cry For You.” So, dramturg Allison Horsley did some research into the Four Seasons’ catalog and discovered it was “Cry For Me.”

Rick stated, “This one was different, but I really liked the ‘cry for me baby’ hook.

Q: Bob, for the “Valley of the Dolls” movie, based on the popular ‘60s novel, you wrote a beautiful theme song that Frankie sang on two TV programs. Why wasn’t it used in the movie and might you ever include that on a CD?

Bob responded, “Thank you for your kind words. Bacharach beat me out!”

Q: From the “Half & Half” album, the great medley of “Any Day Now/Oh Happy Day” appeared to be one of the only songs that Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons did that had a specific ‘religious’ mention. What was the story behind that medley?

Bob explained that he liked the two songs and they fit well together in a medley.

Q: Frankie’s late ‘60s single, “To Give” was such a powerful song, similar to “Man of La Mancha,” and would have been great for the stage! What was the story behind that song?

According to Bob, he and Bob Crewe were trying to write a Broadway play in the late ’60s and “To Give” was intended to be an “Impossible Dream”-style showstopper. Although they never completed the play, Frankie had a modest hit with the song in the US and “it was number one in Italy!” Frankie then joked, “Yeah, and they sent us a crate of provolone!”

The evening ended with one fan emotionally describing to how much Frankie Valli has meant to her over the years and also mentioned that for her 50th birthday, she invited 100 of her friends and relatives to join her at one of his amazing concerts.

After thanking the fan, Frankie stated, “You can’t have success without an audience! Where would we be without the audience?!”
Okay, I had a question ready—in fact, it was a two-parter—one for Bob & Frankie and one for Marshall & Rick:

Q: To Bob & Frankie: Although The Four Seasons obviously have millions of female fans, there seems to be a major connection among guys who were preteens and teenagers and grew up listening to the hits. Considering you were a young man when you were writing the songs and The Four Seasons were young men who had gone through tough times and struggles, did you intentionally write and sing songs to connect with guys who may have been going through similar kinds of struggles (with lyrics such as, “I’m going to make it, just wait and see…”)?

Q: To Marshall & Rick: As you were writing the play, did you immediately assume that Jersey Boys would connect so strongly with men in the audience, considering the main characters were four guys, or were you somewhat surprised as to how men have connected to the musical right from the beginning?

So, I’m curious, if you were given an opportunity to ask Bob Gaudio, Frankie Valli, Marshall Brickman and/or Rick Elice a question, what would you ask them?

1 Comment »

  1. I would like to know if there really were FOUR songs that the group was going to record at the studio before “Sherry” popped into Bob’s head.

    If the answer is yes, what was the names of these songs …

    Comment by Jerry — December 18, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

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