Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh, What a Night!

A few years ago, I saw Jersey Boys in New York with Miss M. While she had had a very long day and actually nodded off several times during the show, I raced out of the theater during intermission to call my parents and tell them how awesome it was and that they MUST see it. Miss M and I were probably the youngest people in the audience that night by at least 20 years, but I was bouncing around and singing along to every single song, because I was raised on the music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. I tried to figure out a way for my family to all go see the show when we were visiting relatives in New Jersey, but it never worked out. So when I got an email earlier this year announcing that the production was coming to Chicago, I took the day off of work and spent three hours waiting in line outside on the day tickets went on sale (it was February, and it was freezing) to get seats for the night of Friday, October 26th. It seemed so far away at the time, but this past weekend our show date finally arrived.

For those of you unfamiliar with the musical, it chronicles how four guys from New Jersey formed the group "The Four Seasons" and rose to fame. I won't spoil anything for anybody, of course, but it is actually quite a crazy story. I think that some people (my husband) went into the show thinking that it was just going to be song after song after song, but there actually is a riveting plot that is intertwined amongst shortened versions of the group's hits. I noticed when we walked into the theater that they had signs warning patrons about "smoke machines, flashing lights and profane Jersey dialogue." How hilarious is that? Apparently there is a completely different level of vulgarities that belongs just to New Jersey. But I applaud the show for "keeping it real." If you can put up with the swearing, then you will be able to enjoy some of the group's biggest hits. I guarantee you know at least one of their songs no matter how old or young you are: Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like a Man, My Eyes Adored You, Can't Take My Eyes Off of You, and of course, December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night). There are many more besides those, too!

My parents, my husband and I greatly enjoyed the show Friday night. While I personally did not feel that the crowd in Chicago was as participatory as the crowd in New York had been (maybe it had something to do with the proximity to Jersey?), at the end everyone did stand up and dance and sing to Oh, What a Night. There was even a heated auction afterward for a page of Sherry sheet music that was signed by Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio--it went for $1,000!

Jersey Boys is touring around the country (and goes to London next year), so if you get a chance to catch it, I highly, highly recommend it. Even my husband, who was extremely skeptical about the show because he doesn't like what he terms "yaiiii yiiii yiiii music" (falsetto singing of lines like: "Bi-ig girls, they don't CRYYY YAAAIIIII YIIIIII!!!") was extremely impressed. You don't even have to take my word for it - the production won a ton of Tony Awards (including Best Musical). And if you watched The Emmy Awards this year, then you saw a short montage of clips from the musical during the tribute to The Sopranos. The guys who performed are the same cast I saw this past weekend.

I had been looking forward to the show for so long that now I'm a little bit depressed that it is over. But I can still rock out to their songs on my iPod and sing Who Loves You? to my dog when the mood strikes me (which seems to be at least once a day...).

- e


Anonymous said...

I think it is a GOOD thing that the Chicago crowd was 'less participatory'. I think I would have liked the show more when I saw it in NY if the people around me would have piped down and sat still a bit more! During the entire show I just kept thinking - "I did NOT just spend $100 to listen to 4 bleached blond baby-boomers from Dallas screech out the lyrics in my ear!!" This is not a rock concert, this is musical theater. If I started belting out "Music of the Night" during Phantom of the Opera, I would have been promptly removed from the theater.

And the woman in front of me was swaying around so erratically, that no matter how I sat in my seat I could not see a thing. Maybe it would have bothered me less if she had any rhythm whatsoever.

Given, I was in my 7th month of pregnancy, so my mobility and patience were extremely limited.

Ok, glad I had a forum to share that finally! :)

Glad you had fun!

Erika (aka "e") said...

Ummmm, yeah. You wouldn't have liked sitting in front of me in NYC, either. ; ) I just felt like it was a different kind of show than other musicals because it was based on all of these songs that were already immensely popular. I agree that with any other show, it wouldn't have been appropriate, but for this one it just seemed made for singing along. But I behaved in Chicago because everyone else was. I'm a follower in that way.

- e

Wanders said...

Well, Jersey Boys won four Tony's, but the Drowsy Chaperone won Five that same year. And I have my personal reasons for preferring Chaperone to Jersey Boys, although there is nothing wrong with Jersey Boys. (It's actually a really cool story as to why I prefer Chaperone, but I'm not comfortable sharing it on a blog. But drop me a note if you're interested, e.)

carlotta1924 said...

hello, i was actually looking for a free music sheet for december '63 when i stumbled upon your blog =)

i was in the US (CA) last year when jersey boys was being shown in LA but unfortunately i didn't have the time. i love most of the four seasons' songs tho, but as you said there are more so i gotta check them out too :D