Given what this Theatrical Thursday is about not all of these will have a link to a novel of any kind. Even though this isn’t book related I wanted to talk about it anyway because I love theatre and once the Festival gets going I’ll be talking about a number of shows that have no other literary history than that of a theatrical production. But I also think that plays has a place in the literary world and that’s why I’m using this place to talk about them.
There were a number of reasons for wanting to see Jersey Boys. The primary reason for wanting to watching this particular show is because the director, Des McAnuff, is the new Artistic Director of the place I work, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. This year he is directing our flagship production Macbeth and one of the musicals this season A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. So needless to say I felt inclined to see this production dispite its one major downfall, the fact that it’s a jukebox musical. I really don’t like the jukebox musical because the stories are contrived and are just a way of drawing people to the theatre because they already know the music.
I saw the all Canadian cast at the Toronto Center for the Arts last week. There were four of us that took the trip from Stratford to Toronto. Sadly the most exciting part of the evening was when we saw Fred Penner come through the front door. He was someone I remember watching on television all the time growing up. So it was really exciting to see him. You may better remember him for this:
After that excitement we entered the theatre to see this production. Jersey Boys, for those of you don’t know, is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The story is good and the music is fantastic but as a show it’s not anything spectacular. I just couldn’t understand why it continues to win all the awards it’s won or won the Tony Awards it got. The best that could be said for this show is that it’s entertainment. It’s enjoyable but I don’t think it’s something people should rush out to see.
My first encounter with this show was watching the Tony Awards. You’ll get an idea of the energy of the show from the clip below from the Tony Awards. For those of you that know the music of the Four Seasons you’ll enjoy the tunes in this show and it may be of interest to see the show.