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Theatre: Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys is a slightly documentary-ish Jukebox Musical telling the story of the four signature band members of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons, their lives, their rise to fame, and where they are today. The story provides many good excuses to feature many of the Four Seasons' hit songs.

Debuting on Broadway in late 2005, the show has won four Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and Best Lighting) and as of 2014, has become the 13th longest running show on Broadway. It has had production runs in London's West End, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Philadelphia, Auckland and Brisbane. A film adaptation directed by Clint Eastwood, starring John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli (reprising his Tony-winning role), Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito, Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, and Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi, was released in 2014.

Tropes:

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A large part of the show involves the four members of the group frequently breaking the fourth wall to narrate their point of view.
  • Camp Gay: Producer and lyricist Bob Crewe is depicted this way.
    • No Bisexuals: The real life Bob Crewe identified as bisexual, however.
  • Control Freak: Tommy likes everything being done his way.
  • Dance Party Ending: The stage show ends with "Who Loves You" as performed by the full company. While the movie version is more aptly described as a biopic with music, the end credits shows off its musical roots with "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" performed by the movie's full cast.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Frankie singing "My Mother's Eyes" reduces tough mobster Gyp DeCarlo to Inelegant Blubbering.
  • Fell Off the Back of a Truck: The stuff Tommy gets for the group.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The band spends years toiling in obscurity and doing backup session work for other bands and singers, without any notable success. Then one day, Bob Gaudio thinks up "Sherry" in 15 minutes...and it's a number one hit. Although it is possible that the years of backup session work are what taught them how to create a hit song in 15 minutes.
  • Honor Before Reason: Played for good and for ill. Frankie and Bob make a "Jersey Contract" on a handshake that benefits both of them, as they each look out for each other. But Frankie's code of honor means that he insist the band take on and pay off the massive debt incurred by Tommy — even when Tommy himself leaves the band.
  • Joisey: Of course.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: How The Four Seasons finally decided on their noted band name. Originally they had been The Four Lovers, but when all the letters of the local bowling alley's neon sign, which originally said "OUR SONS", finally light up...
  • Older Than They Think: In-universe example. When considering the band name "Four Seasons", someone mentions that Vivaldi has already used it. Another one protests about having their idea "stolen", apparently thinking that Vivaldi is another Italian guy somewhere in Jersey...
  • One Head Taller: As is the case between the real Frankie Valli (5'5") and Bob Gaudio (6'2"), actors portraying the two roles will typically be the shortest and tallest members, respectively, among the four principle actors.
  • One-Hit Wonder: In-universe Bob Gaudio felt he was originally this before being recruited into The Four Seasons, having already written a relatively popular song called "Short Shorts". After the success of "Sherry" he worried about becoming this again, but this time it didn't last long.
  • Teen Genius: Bob Gaudio.
  • The Quiet One: Nick Massi, with the exception of the segment he narrates.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Displayed a few times throughout the show. For example, Tommy's narration implies he plucked Bob out of obscurity until Bob mentions that he already had a hit single with another band.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The three remaining Seasons rip into Tommy during the negotiations between Gyp DeCarlo and Norm Waxman.
    Frankie: Tommy, you don't give a shit about the group. You never have. It's always been whatever it is you got going on and then there's the group. You never want to rehearse. You drive Nicky to drink, you put Bob through the ringer. Forget about trying to mess with my head, which you've done from day one. Shame of it is, you're not a bad musician if you give it a little time, but nah. You're too busy shooting your mouth off or buying apartments to keep your girlfriends in. But no more. All that bullshit is over.
  • Seasonal Motif: The show is divided into four sections, each narrated by one member of the Four Seasons:
    • "Spring", narrated by Tommy DeVito, covers the group's early years and Tommy's relationship with Frankie.
    • "Summer", narrated by Bob Gaudio, chronicles the Four Seasons' rise to fame.
    • "Fall", narrated by Nick Massi, goes into the group's breakup due to Tommy's gambling debts.
    • "Winter", narrated by Frankie Valli, deals with his solo career.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Downplayed, but a couple of times the Four Seasons' members assert that their success lies in the fact that they sing "for The People," the American everyman, rather than the crazy hippies like the Beatles.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Each of the four sections is narrated by a different member of the group.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • Work Off the Debt
  • Young Future Famous People: Joey, the friend who introduces Bob Gaudio to Tommy, turns out to be a teenaged Joe Pesci.