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, Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi, and none other than Christopher Walken as mob boss Gyp DeCarlo was released in 2014.


  • 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.
  • But Not Too White: The band gets rejected by the one record label that enjoyed their demo because they're not a colored group.
  • 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.
  • Familiar Soundtrack, Foreign Lyrics: The musical opens with "Ces Soirees La", a rap song that samples "December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)" being played in French, establishing the popularity the Four Seasons would reach later in their careers.
  • Fell Off the Back of a Truck: The stuff Tommy gets for the group.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Tommy, as Joe Pesci would tell him in their later years.
    Joe: You were a real prick. Nobody would have put up with your shit except we all needed something.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the film. Tommy advises Frankie he's been the victim of a scam, but it's going to be OK, he'll take care of those guys who tried to pull a fast one on him. Frankie wants to know, "Are you going to call Gyp DeCarlo?" Tommy takes offense. "You don't bother Gyp DeCarlo for minor stuff like this. I said I'll take care of it!" Cut directly to DeCarlo's place, with DeCarlo giving the would-be scammers a stern talking-to as Tommy stands by.
  • 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.
  • I Have Many Names: Played for Laughs; Tommy is constantly changing the bands name during their early years, especially before they find their sound.
  • 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...
  • Literal-Minded: Tommy can't seem to get his head around the idea of "Walk Like a Man" being about anything besides walking.
  • My Nayme Is: Early on in his career, Frankie adopts the stage name Frankie Valley since his real last name, Castelluccio, is too long for a marquee. Mary suggests changing the spelling to "Valli" since most Italian last names end in a vowel.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Bob's segment is mostly upbeat until the part where Tommy's gambling problems are revealed. However, as Nick says when he takes over the narration:
    Nick: [Bobby] will tell it was smooth sailing right up until we hit the iceberg with Tommy and the hundred fifty thousand... but the truth is, the group was in trouble long before that.
  • 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.
  • 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 takes over as narrator and reveals that he already had a hit single with another bandnote .
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Frankie Valli lost two daughters within six months of each other, the first in a fall from a fire escape, and the second to a drug overdose. The play and film depicted only the second, because showing both would have appeared contrived and melodramatic.
  • Revolving Door Band: During their early years, the Seasons had to change their line-up based on who was in prison, whether they could get rid of whoever wasn't good and what fad Tommy was trying to profit off. When Bob joins, the line-up sticks for a time, but it isn't long before band members start leaving until Frankie Valli is essentially a solo artist. Fittingly, the band changes it's name to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
  • "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.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Nick quits the band after becoming fed up with the stress of touring and infighting amongst the group.
  • 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 working-class American everyman, rather than the upper-middle class teens or crazy hippies like The Beatles.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: After his first time, Gaudio plays it up for the others by wearing a bath robe and smoking a cig.
  • Stock Footage: In the stage version, the Seasons' television performances are shown with a screen behind them, cutting between footage of the action on-stage and reactions from the crowd during the actual performances.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Each of the four sections is narrated by a different member of the group.
  • Teen Genius: Bob Gaudio, who writes a hit in his teenage years and goes on to single-handedly make The Four Seasons household names.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Tommy. Keep in mind that the 165 large he owed is equal to almost 1.3 million today.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The finale of the show. After their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, each member talks about their feelings of the band's success and reveals what he's up to currently (aside from Nick who, as Frankie reveals, passed away Christmas Eve 2000).
  • Work Off the Debt: Thanks to Tommy's gambling debts, the band has to tour extensively to pay it off.
  • Young Future Famous People: Joey, the friend who introduces Bob Gaudio to Tommy, turns out to be a teenaged Joe Pesci.