The winner of Tony and Olivier awards, a raging success on stage, seen by over 19 million people worldwide, it’s with a strong sense of inevitability that Jersey Boys hit the big screen in 2014. Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of the Broadway show featured all the great songs that make Jersey Boys special – Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, December 1963 (Oh, What A Night), Stay, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You to name a few – and though the film is more movie-with-music than musical, at its core is the same fascinating story.
Many people have expressed surprise that Eastwood – a director known mainly for his dramatic films such as Unforgiven, and Million Dollar Baby – would be interested in filming a movie version of a hit Broadway show. When you consider the gritty back-story, the band’s mob connections, the jail time served by two of the members, Jersey Boys begins to sound like exactly the kind of project Clint Eastwood would direct.
The fact is, the beautiful and world-conquering music of The Four Seasons and this kind of shady past don’t marry well in the mind; if you haven’t seen the stage show yet, it’s all too easy to assume that it’s a kitsch jukebox musical – a bit like Mamma Mia! but set on the East Coast of America instead of on a Greek island. Rest assured, there’s no spontaneous bursting into song here!
The idea that this is just another jukebox musical – something that’s become a derogatory term in the musical theatre world – is an unfair criticism. Give or take a little creative license, this is the true-to-life, blue collar, rags to riches story of The Four Seasons – that’s what drew Eastwood to the project and it’s the reason that audience members fall in love with the stage show and end up returning time and time again.
Before Eastwood became involved, Martin Scorsese was among a number of other acclaimed directors slated to direct the project. Successful Broadway shows tend to garner the attention of Hollywood fairly quickly, and Jersey Boys was particularly well-revered following its four Tony Award wins in 2006, including for Best Musical. With a script that sticks fairly closely to the stage show, adapted by its writers Marshall Brickman ( afrequent collaborator with Woody Allen) and Rick Elice, Eastwood and three of the show’s Broadway stars (including Tony winner John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli) came into the fold and the project was finally ready to be filmed.
The reaction to the film was mixed to positive, but the universal opinion has always been that the music and the story make this an extraordinary stage show. The West End version of Jersey Boys deserves to be seen, because the gritty back-story gives way to the most joyful, uplifting and infectious music – it’s a memorable musical like no other.
Don’t forget, throughout November we have an exceptional offer on top price Jersey Boys tickets and hotel packages for under £99pp; there’s no better time to see this incredible show!
Have you seen Jersey Boys yet? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below!