Quite simply stated, Jersey Boys is one of the best audio/visual things I’ve ever experienced. The way more than apt individual who wrote/programmed the set-design/lighting hit a bases-loaded, home-run with me. The set design itself, in terms of walls, furniture, stage-lighting etc. was gorgeous, if not remarkable, but there’s another facet to the design. Large 1/4-stage size? planes of light at the back of the stage changed colors and danced to the music, in fact the phrase that came to mind was that the planes of light were the fifth instrument. For those of you – and you know who you are – the fifth instrument refers to 50s – 60s rock and roll groups that usually had only four instruments: Drums, bass-guitar, lead-guitar and rhythm-guitar. Often the planes of light were big blocks of artist’s blue.
The only iffy thing for me was that there was not one out of four, of the lead-actors in the show, with an Italian surname. In fact I recall only two or three Italian names in the entire cast of 20-30. And this is a musical about basically five or six American Italians from New Jersey. Having said that, the players that played the Jersey Boys couldn’t have been better. Not attempting to mimic or copy Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ voices, they just did their own thing, and their thing was good, very good.
The music was loud – good loud – and was note perfect. There was a drum set center-stage, rear and it was working throughout the night. It was difficult to determine what other – if any – instruments were plugged in as most of the soundtrack was prerecorded. If I’m wrong please let me know. It was a bit unsettling to discover the recorded soundtrack, but I got over it and really enjoyed the show.
All the great recordings from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, starting with SHERRY were performed with great skill and expertise. And maybe, with great respect – I’m speaking of the viewpoint of the story writers.
“Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. It is a documentary-style musical, based on one of the most successful 1960s rock ‘n roll groups, the Four Seasons. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005, and has since had a North American National Tour, along with productions in London’s West End, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Philadelphia, Auckland and currently in Brisbane. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical.’
“was a member of the folk trio The Tarriers in the late 50s, with Eric Weissberg and actor Alan Arkin. He played Bluegrass guitar on the 1963 album New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass with Weissberg;” “this was later reissued as Dueling Banjos, a pseudo-soundtrack album for Deliverance in 1973. (The title track was the only piece that was actually used in the film.) IMdB;” “he sang with John Phillips and Michelle Phillips in The New Journeymen before they split off to become 1/2 of the Mamas and the Papas He was an American screenwriter, best known for his collaborations with Woody Allen. He is also known for playing the banjo with Eric Weissberg in the 1960s, and for a series of comical parodies published in The New Yorker.” – Wikipedia. Makes you wonder!!!
“Elice earned his BA from Cornell University, his MFA from the Yale Drama School and is a Teaching Fellow at Harvard. He was the salutatorian graduate of Francis Lewis High School in Queens, New York (class of 1973). He is a charter member of the American Repertory Theatre. His partner is actor Roger Rees.”
Bob Crew comes out as the big winner/mover and shaker, record producer/song writer, ain’t it always so.
I was just invited to see Jersey Boys at the *Buell Theatre in Denver. I mentioned to the inviter that there is a Denver connection to Jersey Boys.
“Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. It is a documentary-style musical, based on one of the most successful 1960s rock ‘n roll groups, the Four Seasons. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005, and has since had a North American National Tour, along with productions in London’s West End, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Philadelphia, Auckland and currently in Brisbane. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical” more from WIKI
The Denver connection is a Green Eyed Lady. Denver’s own Jerry Corbetta (born September 23, 1947, in Denver, CO was a founding-member of Boulder, Colorado’s, 70s psychedelic-rock-band, Sugarloaf. Sugarloaf’s, Green Eyed Lady reached #3 on Billboards Hot 100 in 1970. Don’t Call Us We’ll Call You was another national hit by these inovative musicians. In the 80s, Jerry Corbetta joined the Four Seasons‘ line-up and the group became a sextet. “He [Jerry Corbetta] co-produced Frankie Valli’s critically acclaimed album “Heaven Above Me“, then was asked to join The Four Seasons for their Twentieth Anniversary Tour.” read more…
*Buell Theatre is located in the Denver Performing Arts Complex which is the second largest of its type in the world to New York’s Lincoln Center. The DPAC is located at 1031 13th Street on 12 acre site including ten performance venues connected by a tall glass roof. Buell Theatre Tickets used to be known as the Temple Buell Theatre.[sic]
Originally posted August 20, 2010 – See Jersey Boys for Free, story after this preface and photo.
This is an album of tunes from the early days. Most of the songs are from the early days before the British Music Invasion and before the Beatles knocked The Four Seasons off the top rung of the hierarchy of the rock n’ roll music-business – when The Four Seasons were arguably the most popular “rock band.” The Vocal Group Hall of Fame has stated that “it [The Four Seasons] was the most popular rock band before The Beatles.” It was also at a (brief) point on the timeline of American music when young Americans with Italian surnames occupied a sizable portion of the airwaves. [Perhaps the term Rock Band should be replaced with Vocal Group. The Beach Boys were certainly in the running: “from 1962 to early 1964, only the Beach Boys matched the Four Seasons in record sales in the United States” – Wiki. [Elvis is another story, he was in a class of his own. The first Number 1 rock n’ roll record was Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” topping the charts around July of 1955. Elvis’ first number one hit, “Heartbreak Hotel” was in 1956.]
This is just one person’s take.
“When the British Music Invasion’s initial – first few years – bombardment was over, the Italians – much to the delight of Chef Boyardee-America – were sent back to the streets of Philadelphia, New Jersey and other Italian, East Coast strongholds.” “The “I Did It My Way” dream was over.” “From that point on, if they wanted to play, many had to do it “someone else’s way,” or so it seems.” “A few groups and individuals survived – the crème de la crème.”
There’s a Denver Connection to The Four Seasons (at the end of this post.)] Some of the aforementioned is derived from a sociological theory that deserves much more depth and discussion. The LasVegasBuffetClub’s blog pages will present such an in-depth post in the future.
Story from LasVegasAdvisor’s Anthony Curtis
“See Jersey Boys for Free: The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will celebrate its 1000th show at The Palazzo at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 28th. To celebrate the milestone performance, Jersey Boys will host the “Walk Like a Man” shoe drive, where fans can bring a pair of new children’s shoes to the theater lobby between noon and 5 p.m. on the day of the show and receive a complimentary ticket to that night’s performance in exchange. A maximum of two pairs of shoes per person will be allowed and up to 1,000 tickets will be distributed to fans who participate in the drive. All shoes will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.” Story from LasVegasAdvisor’s Anthony Curtis
From The Palazzo’s Official Website
Las Vegas welcomes the musical phenomenon Jersey Boys to its exclusive West Coast home at The Palazzo!
This super-hit blockbuster takes you up the charts, across the country and behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Discover the secret of a 40-year friendship: four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom and experience electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these guys all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and more. As the New York Times says, “The crowd goes wild!”
“An Electrifying Seismic Sensation!” – LA Times
“A Bona Fide Mega Hit.” – San Diego Tribune
“A Cheering, Stomping, Hats in the Air Triumph!” – Toronto Star
There’s a Denver connection to The Four Seasons.
Denver’s Jerry Corbetta joined The Four Seasons in 1980. Corbetta was in the Boulder, Colorado based rock and roll band, Sugarloaf, in the 1970s. Boulder’s Corbetta and Sugarloaf (named after a mountain in Boulder) are best known for two songs, both of which hit the top 10 charts in the United States: “Green-Eyed Lady” in the autumn of 1970 (their biggest hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard chart) and “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” in 1975 (US #9.) – Wiki
Another Boulder connection:
Around the early 1960s an early incarnation of the Four Seasons was called “Frankie Valle and the Romans” – not to be confused with the Boulder-based band “The Romans” with members: John “Skip” Laguardia-manager/guitar, Dave Mariano-bass/vocals, Tommy Moore-drums, and Bill Carbone-guitar/vocals. Other occasional players with The Romans were: Doug Dolph-guitar, Paul Longo-saxophone and Frankie Reno-vocals.
Hard working, all but forgotten and now seemingly invisible small-town-band “The Romans” played the Denver/Boulder area’s so called 3.2 Circuit which referred to Denver’s liquor law permitting 18+ year olds, access to clubs that served only 3.2% beer. The age limit for hard-alcohol/6% beer clubs was 21. Most of these 3.2 clubs were owned by 60s premiere club owner, Nate Feld. Feld was from the family presently affiliated with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Nate Feld was also a partner of Denver rock impresario Barry Fey.
The Romans band also played fraternity houses in Boulder as well as other nightclub venues in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, Greeley, Pueblo and surrounding areas. One of the more popular gigs at the time in Boulder (before the drug culture) was the infamous TOGA PARTY, made famous by the movie Animal House.
“I remember The Romans playing at a very hot Toga Party on the Hill in Boulder.” “They did a rousing version of the Kingsmen’s song “Louie Louie” that must have lasted for twenty minutes with a ten minute guitar solo on a Cherry-Red Guild Starfire.” “Everyone was dressed in bed sheets – for togas, beer was flowing from kegs of Coors, and everyone was going absolutely crazy.” Psychedelics were just on the horizon.
*The 60sOfficialSite.com says
Though generally not credited with starting the “Invasion”, Dusty Springfield was one of the first British artist[sic] to have significant success in the U.S., with her hit single “I Only Want to Be with You”, released in November 1963.
I spent half of my life in love (as a fan) with Dusty Springfield and still am, I agree and I’d like to add:
“In 1962, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “Stranger on the Shore,” by Mr. Acker Bilk. It was the first British hit to make the top of the U.S. charts” – PugetSoundRadio.com
I’ve always realized the irony: (British) Stranger on the (American) Shore. This was the shot heard ’round the world.
[MUSICAL NOTES INSERTED HERE] How lo—ng – – – – has this bee’n go—ing on???
Strong in the 1940s and 50s, continuing into the 60s, starting to fade by the 1970s.
Some of this information was written by an artist-type individual. He makes no claims to intelligence nor does he claim any degrees of higher education. And the professors say, Uh, You really don’t have to tell us that.
“The British Invasion had a profound impact on the shape of popular music. It helped internationalize the production of rock and roll, establishing the British popular music industry as a viable centre of musical creativity, and opening the door for subsequent British and Irish performers to achieve international success. In America the Invasion arguably spelled the end of such scenes as instrumental surf music, vocal girl groups and (for a time) the teen idols that had dominated the American charts in the late 1950s and 60s. It dented the careers of established R&B acts like Fats Domino and Chubby Checker and temporarily derailed the chart success of surviving rock and roll acts, including Elvis Presley. It prompted many existing garage rock bands to adopt a sound with a British Invasion inflection, and inspired many other groups to form, creating a scene from which many major American acts of the next decade would emerge. The British Invasion also played a major part in the rise of a distinct genre of rock music, and cemented the primacy of the rock group, based around guitars and drums and producing their own material as singer-songwriters.”
“Though a majority of the acts associated with the invasion did not survive its end, many others would become icons of rock music.”
“That the sound of British beat bands was not radically different from American groups like The Beach Boys, and damaged the careers of African American and female artists, have been the subject of criticism of the invasion in the United States. American singer Willy DeVille said the invaders played a watered down version of American music and pushed aside talented American artists such as Ben E. King and Smokey Robinson, adding that Americans, by favoring “anything that fucking glittered”, fell for a “big money complicated political con game”.”
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