The hit play Jersey Boys is taking Broadway by storm. It opened in 2005 and is stil one of the most popular musicals to date. But how do they keep selling out night after night?
Jersey Boys follows the rise of four young men from New Jersey to stardom and an eventual spot in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. The four boys are Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons who, are not as popular today, have become one of the most well-known iconic groups of their generation.
“It was incredible. I have seen so many plays but this one was so different. I want to go again,” said Ramapo College Sophomore Elizabeth Rizzo after seeing the Tony award-winning play. The production is overwhelmingly successful; decades after the music even topped the charts. So why is there such a revival?
Rizzo is just 20 years old, making her about 30-40 years younger than Four Season songs like “Oh what a Night”. There is a revival of the music that made them superstars years and years ago. Rizzo alluded to the composition of the songs themselves saying, “I like what they sing about. It is so different from today’s music.”
Four Season Fame
The Four Seasons had eight number one hits and 19 in the top 10 on the music charts, going from New Jersey to a worldwide sensation. Songs like, “Sherry”, “Walk like a Man” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” are considered all-time greats that still play on the radio today. The hit “Oh What a Night” was a number one hit and years later was on the charts again after being re-made in 1994 into a club remix. Even years after the group disbanded, they still somehow push out cd’s, their latest being released in 2008 titled, “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: The Motown Years”.
The musical debuted in November of 2005 and has played hundreds of performances. They also won four awards winning four Tony’s in 2006 and a Grammy in 2007 for Best Musical Album.
The show has been a hit with critics since it first premiered. Acclaimed New York Times writer Ben Brantley said, “The crowd goes wild. I’m talking about the real, mostly middle-aged crowd at the August Wilson Theater, who seem to have forgotten what year it is or how old they are.”
The show is on its seventh year yet it continues to put fans in the seats just like a real concert and has even expanded. After its fame on Broadway it has toured in spots all over the country like Chicago and Las Vegas. Now they have outsourced and made productions worldwide including London, Australia, and South America.
Many vie to be Frankie Valli in the play, including Frankie Valli himself who has made cameo appearances in the play, performing for the emphatic crowd. Actor Joe Pesci is a producer of the show and was actually a childhood friend of the group. A character was even developed for the play to show his role in helping the band form. As Tommy DeVito, the founding member of the Four Seasons put it, “who knew?”
What keeps the audiences entertained are the constant twists and spirals the band went through. From DeVito’s gambling problem and heft debt to a mob-connected loan shark, Valli’s daughter overdosing while he was on tour and the band hits lows while their fame soars.
It is a must see performance that has proved to be timeless. Whether you are 15 or 50, Jersey Boys is a hit that is enjoyable from start to finish watching the four guys who got their start, as DeVito said, “just singin’ harmony under a streetlamp.”