Jersey Boys is one of the most popular and successful Broadway musicals of all time. The jukebox musical tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, chronicling their rise to stardom with songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man.” But with premium ticket prices and mixed reviews, is Jersey Boys worth seeing on Broadway?
What is Jersey Boys about?
Jersey Boys follows the journey of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi, four blue-collar kids from New Jersey who rose to stardom as The Four Seasons in the 1960s. The musical features over 30 Four Seasons hits and dramatizes the band’s struggles with debt, disputes over songwriting credits, and DeVito’s ties to organized crime. With creative staging and choreography, Jersey Boys takes the audience from street corners in Newark to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, bringing The Four Seasons’ rags-to-riches story to life on stage.
What do critics think of Jersey Boys?
When Jersey Boys opened on Broadway in 2005, it earned overwhelmingly positive reviews and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Ben Brantley of the New York Times called it “the most exciting new musical on Broadway,” praising how the show’s documentary style realism made “these men from the wrong side of the tracks seem like stars in your backyard.”
While recent reviews have been more mixed, most critics agree that Jersey Boys features fantastic singing and production values. The energetic cast and execution of the classic Four Seasons hits are consistent highlights. Negative feedback tends to focus on the formulaic book and lack of dramatic tension. As Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “Jersey Boys is a critic-proof Broadway smash. Some of my colleagues think it’s pretty thin stuff, with a book that’s a by-the-numbers rehashing of an episode of ‘Behind the Music.'”
Who stars in Jersey Boys on Broadway?
Jersey Boys has featured many talented performers in its principal roles over the years. Broadway cast members have included:
- John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli (Original Broadway Cast)
- Christian Hoff as Tommy DeVito (Original Broadway Cast – Tony Award Winner)
- Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi (Original First National Tour)
- Jake Samuels as Bob Gaudio (Current Broadway Cast)
While casts rotate frequently, the current stars continue Jersey Boys’ tradition of fantastic vocals, mastering the iconic Four Seasons harmonies and soaring falsetto notes.
What are the best songs in Jersey Boys?
With a catalogue of over 30 Four Seasons hits, it’s hard to narrow down Jersey Boys’ best songs! Here are some musical highlights:
|Original Release Year
|“Big Girls Don’t Cry”
|“Walk Like a Man”
|“December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)”
|“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”
The infectious pop and rock n’ roll hits get audiences dancing in their seats. Frankie Valli’s soaring vocals are show-stopping standouts.
How long has Jersey Boys been on Broadway?
Jersey Boys made its world premiere in 2004 at the La Jolla Playhouse in California before opening on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre in November 2005. The musical became an instant smash hit, recouping its $8 million budget in just seven months.
Jersey Boys is still running on Broadway today, over 17 years and multiple venues later. After 4,642 performances at the August Wilson Theatre, the production moved to the New World Stages complex in 2017 before transferring to its current home at the Music Box Theatre in 2019.
In total, Jersey Boys has played over 4,900 performances on Broadway. It ranks among the 20 longest-running Broadway shows of all-time.
Has Jersey Boys toured internationally?
In addition to its enduring Broadway run, Jersey Boys has been an international touring sensation. The first national tour launched in 2006, followed by an inaugural UK production in 2008. Jersey Boys has since been exported to over 130 cities worldwide, including extended sit-down engagements in Las Vegas, South Africa, Singapore and Australia.
Some fun facts about Jersey Boys’ global reach:
- Jersey Boys has been translated into 8 languages for international productions.
- There have been over 1,500 Jersey Boys tour performances in Canada alone.
- Jersey Boys played a 5+ year residency in London’s West End from 2014-2019.
- The musical has toured in almost every major city across North America.
What ages is Jersey Boys appropriate for?
While jukebox musicals like Mamma Mia! tend to attract families, Jersey Boys carries a suggested guidance rating of 12+ years due to moderate language, smoking, and references to organized crime and jail time. Parents should especially be mindful of the first act’s sexual humor and innuendo.
Most teenagers and mature tweens will likely enjoy and appreciate Jersey Boys. However, the musical deals with several adult themes and situations that make it better suited for older audiences.
How expensive are Jersey Boys tickets?
As a long-running Broadway hit, Jersey Boys commands a premium ticket price. The average price paid for Jersey Boys tickets is currently $155 per seat, with prices ranging from:
- Rear Mezzanine: $69
- Mid Mezzanine: $99
- Front Mezzanine/Rear Orchestra: $149
- Front Orchestra/Center Orchestra: $199+
By Broadway standards, $150-$200+ per ticket is to be expected for top tier seating at popular musicals. However, families and budget-conscious buyers may find Jersey Boys’ prices steep.
Are Jersey Boys tickets lottery, rush or SRO available?
There are ways to secure less expensive Jersey Boys tickets:
- Digital Lottery: Enter the daily online lottery for $29-$59 tickets.
- In-Person Rush: A limited number of $59 rush tickets are sold at the box office when it opens.
- Standing Room Only: Same-day standing room only tickets can be purchased for $59 cash.
These options involve more uncertainty but offer those on a budget the chance to see Jersey Boys for under $60 if they get lucky.
How long is Jersey Boys?
Jersey Boys has an approximate runtime of 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission. Most performances take place Tuesday-Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm and 7pm.
Given its long run time and lack of major special effects, Jersey Boys makes for an easy show for first-time Broadway attendees to enjoy. The intermission helps split up the show nicely.
Will I like Jersey Boys if I don’t know Frankie Valli’s music?
Absolutely! Jersey Boys appeals to both Four Seasons fans and newcomers to their songbook. The musical artfully introduces audiences to the band’s history and music catalog whether they grew up listening to “Big Girls Don’t Cry” or not.
Jersey Boys is first and foremost a compelling musical narrative. The show’s book provides helpful context about the Four Seasons’ origins and creative process. Audiences go in knowing “Sherry” and leave wanting to download Frankie Valli’s greatest hits.
For Four Seasons fans, the answer is easy: Jersey Boys is an uplifting, must-see celebration of the band’s iconic music and underdog story. The musical’s international longevity and box office revenues speak for themselves – audiences worldwide can’t get enough.
Casual theatergoers face a trickier decision. While the performers and production value deliver, the hefty price tag and mixed reviews give pause. Yet those open to an upbeat, familiar pop soundtrack will leave entertained. As Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times, “THE CROWD GOES WILD. Nobody is, at the moment, bigger than Frankie and his boys.”
Ultimately, Jersey Boys combines broad popular appeal with a relatable narrative arc. The opportunity to tap your toes live alongside beloved hits like “Walk Like a Man” and “December 1963 (Oh What a Night)” is hard for music fans of all ages to resist.