FLASH FRIDAY: Big Boys Don't Cry! JERSEY BOYS Hits The Big Screen
Today we are saluting the 1960s music industry-themed Tony Award-winning Best Musical that is set to hit the big screen in movie theaters nationwide this weekend, JERSEY BOYS.
Just Too Good To Be True
Portraying plenty of the real-life trials, triumphs and tribulations faced by a rough and tumble group of New Jersey crooners as they navigate their way from the very bottom to the absolute top of the music industry, jukebox musical hit JERSEY BOYS boasts an incredibly impressive pedigree - both in its Broadway and Hollywood counterparts. Having been originally directed on the Great White Way by THE WHO'S TOMMY helmer Des McAnuff, the true story of the regular guys collectively making up the renowned vocal group otherwise known as The Four Seasons - that is, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi - was expertly told in the snappy and plot-packed script penned by Academy Award winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice as seen on Broadway in 2005. Since then, the musical has gone on to rack up various awards and international acclaim, with the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award among its various honors. Additionally, various national tours and international productions have cropped up precipitously, and a successful Las Vegas edition was mounted in 2008, as well. So, what exactly is it about this story that connects with the masses in such a major way? Clearly, not just any musical gets referenced repeatedly on THE SOPRANOS!
True, JERSEY BOYS is not quite THE SOPRANOS: THE MUSICAL, yet the gritty vibe afforded by the mob-based antics that populate much of the story make JERSEY BOYS one of the few Broadway musicals considered cool by even those who may not usually attend musical theatre - a real guy's guy kind of thing. For that reason alone, JERSEY BOYS is a unique entry in the modern musical canon, besides the fact that it remains the only full-out jukebox musical to date to capture the Tony Award for Best Musical - after all, CONTACT really doesn't count in that category given its non-singing status.
JERSEY BOYS was seemingly made for the silver screen and now we have a film representing the stage show's polish, pop and pizzazz as helmed by master Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood and starring the Tony Award-winning lead of the original Broadway and West End iterations of the show itself, John Lloyd Young. Along with Young, Eastwood has wisely chosen to fill the corps with top talent from the long-running stage edition of the musical in many cases, eschewing the typical Hollywood method of star-casting. Case in point, JERSEY BOYS film leads Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda and Mike Doyle - all stalwart stage vets. Furthermore, Eastwood has also peppered the project with some star power as well, in the form of Oscar-winning mob movie icon Christopher Walken (KING OF NEW YORK) - in only his second movie musical to date after a noted early career onstage, following the little-seen but splendid tuner ROMANCE & CIGARETTES - along with Boardwalk Empire standout Vincent Piazza. Additionally, the handful of female roles are filled out by some fresh faces in the guise of Renee Marino and Erica Piccininni. It's a gamble that Broadway babies around the world can hope will pay off so we perhaps may see similarly theatre-centric casts in movie adaptations of musicals in the future.
So, is the JERSEY BOYS movie "just too good to be true," to turn a phrase from one of the countless Four Seasons smash hits sung in the pop confection-packed entertainment experience? Experience it yourself this weekend at a movie theater near you to see. And, after that, why not revisit the Broadway show, still running strong nearly 10 years after its smashing debut!
For even more on JERSEY BOYS, check out my extensive InDepth InterView with the Oscar- and Tony-winning bookwriter himself, Marshall Brickman, available here.
Big Boys Don't Cry
So, now, let's take a look at some of the best moments pertaining to JERSEY BOYS since its 2005 Broadway debut.
First, check out the original Broadway cast of JERSEY BOYS on the 2006 Tony Awards.
Christian Hoff accepts the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor In A Musical.
The boys return to the awards the next year for a plucky musical intro as only they can do.
Next, the original West End cast of JERSEY BOYS stop the show at the 2008 Royal Variety Performance.
JERSEY BOYS returns to the Tonys in 2009 with an multi-production super-group iteration of the line-up.
After that, see Tony-winner John Lloyd Young make a special curtain call speech following a packed Actor's Fund benefit performance.
Also, get a look at the Las Vegas company of JERSEY BOYS.
Sneak a peek at Clint Eastwood's feature film adaptation.
Preview the finale from the film in a new clip recently released.
John Lloyd Young and Christopher Walken share a memorable scene in the film.
Plus, go behind the scenes with this extensive backstage glimpse.
Lastly, view the standout "Sherry" sequence from the film.
What is your personal favorite musical moment in JERSEY BOYS? Furthermore, what precisely do you think it is that has helped the musical become so popular with an international audience and continue to run for nearly a decade on Broadway? Additionally, are you looking forward to the feature film? Undoubtedly, a whole new audience looks likely to be exposed to the falsetto charms and affable antics of four guys from the Garden State this weekend. Oh, what a night!