Jersey Boys, the smash hit Broadway musical that tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, has been entertaining audiences since it first opened on November 5, 2006 to critical acclaim. It’s won the Tony Award, adapted into an underwhelming film and weathered more than 40 seasons on Broadway. Like Wicked, Lion King or Phantom of the Opera, it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. But it has since announced its closing date: January 15, 2017. There’s still some time until then for those who haven’t yet seen the show, but that ending date reminds us that even the most popular shows don’t last on Broadway forever.
By the time it ends, Jersey Boys will have played 4,462 performances, making it the 12th longest-running Broadway show of all time. Although four longer-running Broadway shows are still playing – The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, The Lion King and Wicked – that’s still pretty impressive, especially when you consider that Jersey Boys has seen more than 400 Broadway shows open and close during its tenure. Arguably the best of the so-called “Jukebox musicals”, which use modern pop hits instead of original scores, Jersey Boys is able to to use a biographical structure to avoid the problems faced jukebox musicals before it. Presented as though the Four Seasons were singing in concert, the songs don’t express inner thoughts of the characters singing them, like songs are “supposed” to in traditional musical theater. Yet despite breaking such rules, the show worked, setting the standard for other jukebox musicals since.
Before the Beatles hit the shores of America, the Four Seasons were the most popular rock band in the US. Featuring Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi, they took the country by storm when founded in 1960, and are one of the best-selling musical groups of all time. Jersey Boys tells their story, from obscurity to superstardom. It’s a great story and a great show, filled with great songs and wonderful pageantry.