This has been a landmark week for the kingpin show known as Jersey Boys. While the Broadway production continues to hover at the top of the box office tallies with tickets continuing to be much sought after, news from outside the Great White Way hold the promise of even brighter days for the Boys up ahead. For all its success, there will always be an underdog quality to this ideal Broadway musical about survival and success. Like the show’s complex leading characters, the musical itself has a grit and determination that inspires outsiders to root for its success even as it becomes increasingly successful. Fans and followers of the production have much to smile about this week.
The Broadway triumph of Jersey Boys is now global, with the opening of the show this week on London’s West End. With characteristic flair, the London critics had a generally positive response to the “American import”, despite the fact that, as Michael Coveney from What’s On Stage put it “‘We put New Jersey on the map’ does not carry quite the same rallying-cry punch on Old Compton Street as it does in Manhattan.” In London, juke-box musicals are described as “compendium shows” as The Times critic Benedict Nightengale describes, “meaning musicals whose plots are usually an excuse to douse the ears of nostalgia freaks with archaic hits.” Such shows, Nightengale goes on to say, “aren’t my favorite tipple.” Well, the London consensus is that Jersey Boys is an exception to the rule. Des McAnuff’s production is likely to run in London for some time to come. But that’s not all.Perhaps there is no city more perfectly suited to Jersey Boys then Las Vegas. In a story that mixes a world of colorful characters with a soundtrack of popular songs, Vegas seems a natural home for the boys. News comes this week that rehearsals have started for the new Jersey Boys Las Vegas production of the show. In a specially designed state of the art theatre built for the show at the new 1.8 billon dollar Palazzo Resort on the strip, there can be little doubt that the Jersey Boys Vegas production will meet with success. No town can out-Broadway Broadway the way Las Vegas can, and in Jersey Boys the town has a perfect musical gem to showcase in flawless Vegas fashion. But, that’s still not all. The Broadway cast of Jersey Boys continues to wow audiences at the August Wilson Theatre. Joining Tony Award winner Christian Hoff and J. Robert Spencer from the original Broadway cast are new Boys Sebastian Arcelus and Michael Longoria. Added to this is news that the tour of Jersey Boys, recently in Minneapolis, is having the same impact on the road that it does in New York.
So, where’s the bad news? Perhaps the only downside is that given all of the success of Jersey Boys, it is only inevitable that the string of Jersey-Boy-wannabe shows will continue. Well, that’s a small price to pay for the big pleasure of the one-and-only Jersey Boys. Who loves you, Jersey Boys? Almost everybody!