I usually have reservations seeing Juke Box musicals or musicals based on existing songs or music. This is probably why I never saw Jersey Boys until now and also allowed for almost 14 years to lapse before making a return visit to Mamma Mia. So one day in March I chose to see them both!
A number of friends and acquaintances have seen Jersey Boys and they raved how good the musical is! I was curious and had a feeling it would be good whilst hearing the pre-show music from the show played in the waiting area before we were shown to our seats. I recognised some of the tunes, which some are universal and popular to each of us one and all.
Jersey Boys is based on the lives of Frank Valli and the Four Seasons. It isn't just solely about their hits but it focuses on their lives off stage and much as on stage. The artists shared triumphs as well as struggles. Frank (Jon Lee) narrated each of their individual journeys. The creative time, Marshall Brickman, Bob Gaudio, Rick Elice and Bob Crewe did a commendable job putting the musical together around the lives of the artists in the Four Seasons.
At the performance I went to we had Jon Lee (Alternate) as Frank Valli, Edd Post (Bob Gaudio), Jon Boyden (Tommy Devito) and David McGranaghan. It was good to see Will Barrett (Bob Crewe) after seeing him as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera in 2011. They led a very talented cast.
I thoroughly enjoyed the music - some I was familiar with such as December 1963 (Oh What a Night), Can't Take My Eyes Off You and Working My Way Back to You and some I wasn't familiar with. Great staging though very high from where I sat in the front row. However it didn't hinder my enjoyment.
I look forward to seeing it again some day at West End's Piccadilly Theatre where the production will transfer during March 2014.
I enjoyed Mamma Mia for the 2nd time despite being in an uncomfortable seat. Luckily I was able to stand to enjoy and party away as there were no seats behind me. I first saw it back in 2000 when it was originally on at the Prince Edward Theatre, where I was earlier in the day!
The musical is based on Catherine Johnson's book and accompanied by ABBA's songs. Johnson tells a story about a Greek Island Paradise on the eve of Sophie's (Emily Dunn) wedding; Sophie's aim is to find out who her father is and invites three possible Dads (Harry Bright (Neil Roberts), Sam Carmichal (Richard Taylor Wood) and Bill Austin (James Gaddas) who were part of Donna's (Diane Pilkington), her mother, past. The tale links nicely with ABBA's music which emphasises love, laughter, friendships, reminiscing and discovering ones life journeys.
The musical is produced and directed by Judy Craymer and Phyllida Lloyd respectively. Mark Thompson's Staging links nicely with Howard Harrison's lighting and Bobby Aitken's sound elements. The talented cast performed well under Anthony Van Laast's choreography and interaction from the members of the audience was at the max. We sang and danced many of ABBA's legendary songs: Dancing Queen, Take A Chance On Me, Winner Takes It All, Voulez-Vous and so forth.