Frankie Valli not crying as ‘Jersey Boys’ prepares to close
NEW YORK (AP) — The guy who gave us the song “Big Girls Don’t Cry” isn’t tearing up over the imminent closing of the Broadway show about his life, “Jersey Boys.”
“I’m not sad,” Frankie Valli said by phone. “I never dreamed it would last 11 years. The beauty about this whole situation is it’s not over. It is now beginning to happen in other parts of the world.”
The Tony Award-winning musical based on the Four Seasons’ career and harmonies will hold its final performance on Jan. 15 after 4,642 shows at the August Wilson Theatre. It’s the 12th-longest running show in Broadway history.
The musical , which opened in 2005, tells the story of Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi and features 20 Four Seasons songs, including “Sherry,” ″Big Girls Don’t Cry,” ″Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Oh, What a Night.”
Michael David, a “Jersey Boys” producer for Dodger Theatricals, said the final show will be bittersweet. “They’ll be tears but this has been a blessing and we’re all smart enough to know it,” he said. “This probably won’t happen in our lives again.”
Valli, 82, said the show would live on in productions in Japan, the Philippines, Sweden and London, as well as a current U.S. and U.K. tours. Upcoming is a South America production and performances in schools and on cruise ships.
“The funny thing about theater is that something can go away and come back 20 times — probably even after I’m gone. That’s the beauty of it. It’s better than doing a movie. It’s better than doing anything, in my opinion,” he said.
David said the decision to close was made before box office numbers got terrible. “We wanted to leave with a dignity and elegance that the show deserved,” he said. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Look, let’s call this one ourselves.’”
The show won the Tony for best musical, a Grammy Award for best cast album and has been seen by over 24 million people across the world. It has grossed over $2 billion worldwide.
“I think ‘Jersey Boys’ had this ecumenical reach, more than most Broadway shows I can think of. It was a rags-to-riches story, it was a backstage story, a universal story,” David said. “It was about your organic family but it was also about families built from scratch. It was about the mafia, rock and roll, brotherhood. It was something for everyone.”
The musical helped make it safe on Broadway for biographical musicals like “Beautiful” about Carole King and “On Your Feet!” about Emilio and Gloria Estefan. And it attracted men, an elusive Broadway target. “I do feel as though we were innovators,” said Valli.
Valli, who plans to hit stages in Florida this January, also has a new album out — ”’Tis the Seasons,” which is his first solo Christmas CD. (He and the Four Seasons released one in the early 1960s.)
On the disc, Valli offers his takes on such classics as “Joy To The World,” ″Winter Wonderland” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” and turns in a bluesy “Merry Christmas, Baby” with help from guitarist Jeff Beck.
Rhino Records sent him some obscure songs as potential album cuts but Valli preferred the classics. “I said, ‘Let me do them and do them my own way. Let’s try to get away from the tradition.’ So that’s what we did.”
Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits