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WHAT’S GOING ON BROADWAY FANS?! The 74th Annual Tony Awards is just 13 DAYS AWAY. Can you believe the wait is almost over?!! With getting us back into the groove of Broadway’s reopening and celebrating this annual tradition, we at New York Broadway Tours are continuing to serenade you every morning with many of our favorite legendary performances on our TOP 50 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. More showstoppers from previous telecasts coming up. Get ready to belt it out!!!
At # 13 on our countdown, we follow 4 locals from New Jersey who come together and create one of the most successful Rock ‘N Roll groups of the 1960’s. This is Jersey Boys. The show tells the story and features the songs of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. It features a score by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe along with a book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice.
From the 2006 telecast, here is Tony winners John Lloyd Young as “Frankie Valli” and Christian Hoff as “Tommy DeVito” along with Tony nominee J Robert Spencer as “Nick Massi”, and Daniel Reichard as “Bob Gaudio”, and the full original Broadway cast performing a medley of some of your favorite FOUR SEASONS tunes. They consist of….. CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU and the show’s finale WHO LOVES YOU.
JERSEY BOYS was originally conceived by OG Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio. He wanted to create a musical featuring the discography of the band… almost done in the same style as Mamma Mia! with an original story. He hired book writers Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman along with director Des McAnuff, and producer Michael David of Dodger Theatricals). However, it was Brickman who suggested Gaudio in creating the musical to really tell the story of Gaudio’s own personal experiences of being part of The Four Seasons. He believes it’s a true classic rags to riches, and back to rags classic American story. There also wasn’t that much about the group’s history prior to the show happening because there weren’t that many tabloids about them in magazines during that era. However, Brickman and Elice were surprised to discover the Four Seasons (including Bob Gaudio) had criminal records but they cleaned themselves up in the end. They also explored previous interviews from the alive OG members at the end…. Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito (who recently passed away), and Gaudio. Each of them shared their own experience of the story. However, the script received that “A-Ha” moment when DeVito told Brickman and Ellis to not listen to what the other members said. It immediately was given that Rashomon effect into the story that we know today. In case anyone may not know, each member of the Four Season narrates their side of the story especially with the drama they go through.
The show had its World Premiere run in California at the La Jolla Playhouse in the Fall of 2004. It was well received by critics but bits of the Book needed some work and revamping before Broadway. In addition, the lead role of “Frankie Valli” (originally played by David Noroma) was recast by newcomer John Lloyd Young.
FUN FACT: Young originally auditioned for the show’s world premiere run as “Tommy DeVito” however he failed to get the role. When the show was getting ready for Broadway, he persisted and auditioned again. This time, he booked it and replaced David Noroma as “Frankie Valli”. This shows you that persistence pays off!!!
JERSEY BOYS officially made its Broadway Debut in the Fall of 2005 where it played Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre for 11 years and 4,642 performances as the 12th Longest Running Show in Broadway History. It became an instant box office smash playing to packed houses every single night. Under the direction of Des McAnuff and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, the original cast was led by…
John Lloyd Young as “Frankie Valli”
Christian Hoff as “Tommy Devito”
J. Robert Spencer as “Nick Massi”,
Daniel Reichard as “Bob Gaudio
Michael Longoria as “Joe Pesci” (and OG alternate “Frankie Valli”),
Jennifer Niamo as “Mary Delgado”,
Erica Piccininni as “Lorraine”,
Sara Schmidt as “Francine Valli”,
Mark Lotito as Gyp DeCarlo,
and more.
The Broadway production had a huge roster of replacements throughout its unforgettable 11 years.
JERSEY BOYS went to be nominated for 8 Tony Awards in 2006 winning 4 for BEST MUSICAL, BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (for John Lloyd Young), BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (for Christian Hoff), and BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL (for Howell Binkley). The show’s original cast recording also went on to top the charts and win a 2007 Grammy Award for BEST MUSICAL THEATRE ALBUM.
With the success of Broadway, the show went on to become a worldwide phenomenon with productions everywhere from London’s West End (where it went on to win the Olivier Award taking home the only the big prize that evening BEST NEW MUSICAL), Australia, Several Touring companies worldwide, Global companies translating the show into various different languages, and even a company on Norwegian Cruise Line.
A month after shutting down ON Broadway, it was announced that JERSEY BOYS was here to stay in the Big Apple. In the Fall of 2017, the show made its way OFF-Broadway to its current home at New World Stages. For its current Off Broadway run (with the production being in a smaller space), the set was created smaller along with 4 Ensemble actors tracks being cut. The script however is still the same. With its same original creative team, the original Off Broadway company was led by….
Aaron De Jesus as “Frankie Valli”,
Nicholas Dromard as “Tommy Devito”,
Mark Edwards as “Nick Massi”,
Cory Jeacoma as “Bob Gaudio”,
Jon Hacker as “Joe Pesci”,
Jennifer Niamo as “Mary Delgado”,
Rachel Schur as “Lorraine”,
Jenna Nicole Schoen as “Francine Valli”,
Stephen Cerf as Gyp DeCarlo,
and more.
Several replacements have gone into the Off Broadway run including most recently notably the Granddaughter of the real Frankie Valli himself. In 2019, Olivia Valli joined the cast playing her own real life Grandmother “Mary Delgado” for a strictly limited engagement. See, it runs in the family.
JERSEY BOYS was still playing to packed houses every night at its current Off Broadway home and around the world.
The show was abruptly shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12th, 2020. However, they are starting to return. The New York company will resume performances Off Broadway at New World Stages starting November 15th, 2021.
Most recently, the show launched its first West End revival at the newly renovated Trafalgar Theatre in London.
Along with its success on stage, JERSEY BOYS became a smash on the big screen. The film version was released in 2014 from Warner Bros. Pictures. Under the direction of Clint Eastwood, the cast was led by….
John Lloyd Young reprising his Tony winning role as “Frankie Valli”,
Vincent Piazza as “Tommy Devito”,
Michael Lomenda as “Nick Massi”,
Erich Bergen as “Bob Gaudio”,
Jon Hacker as “Joe Pesci”,
Renee Marino as “Mary Delgado”,
Erica Piccininni as “Lorraine”,
Freya Tingley as “Francine Valli”,
Christopher Walken as Gyp DeCarlo,
and more.
Most recently, it was announced that a Live Televised production of the musical is set to be released this holiday season. Filmed in Cleveland, OH, it will be a made-for-television presentation featuring the show’s original staging and led by an exciting cast consisting of….
Nick Jonas as “Frankie Valli”,
Andy Karl as “Tommy DeVito”,
Cj Pawlikowski as “Bob Gaudio”,
Matt Bogart as “Nick Massi”.
In addition to life outside of doing the show’s success 8 times a week, the original Broadway FOUR SEASONS (Hoff, Reichard, and Spencer with the exception of Young being replaced by Michael Longoria) reunited and embarked on a concert tour as THE BOYS done in the style of a cover band show performing majority of songs from the show and additional Four Seasons tunes not in JERSEY BOYS. However, the group all got sued by Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice who claimed they were “stealing songs, stage elements and copyrighted logo” that imply that it is an authorized spin-off of JERSEY BOYS. They immediately gave the group a name change from The 4 Hitmen to what it is today as The Midtown Men. Longoria, Hoff, Reichard, and Spencer counter-sued, claiming that the accusations were false, and alleging the use of “bully tactics” in an “effort to injure the livelihood and the reputations” of the actors. All they were doing was paying tribute to their job. The original lawsuit was dropped in 2010 with the condition that they kept the performance distanced to the world of JERSEY BOYS. It was tweaked up featuring a tribute medley to music from the show (THE FOUR SEASONS) along with other additional Rock ‘N Roll songs in the 1960’s. Even before all of COVID-19 was happening, THE MIDTOWN MEN continued to give concerts all across the country…. Some with a small band and some featuring the world’s greatest symphony orchestras.
JERSEY BOYS has also been continued to be performed in Schools, Community, and Regional Theaters.
Isn’t this musical so great in the way it gets the audiences walking out humming those tunes?!!
Mike Haber
Author: Mike Haber

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