“Jersey Boys” Record-Breaking Run to End January 15, 2017
On October 4, 2005, Jersey Boys began previews at the August Wilson Theatre, ahead of its official opening night on November 6, 2005. At that time, little was known of the success that lay in store for this jukebox musical. While Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are undeniably a beloved band with a score of hit songs, many jukebox musicals before and after have failed where Jersey Boys has succeeded. With a fun-loving, heartwarming book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and countless sing-a-long tunes from the heart of 1960s rock-n-roll, Jersey Boys hit all the right notes. It took home the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2006, and it went on to break innumerable records. Among these, it broke the box office record at the August Wilson Theatre (formerly the Virginia Theatre) 30 times, and has become the longest running show in that theatre’s 100-year history. Furthermore, it is now the 12th longest running show in all of Broadway history, and one of only five currently running shows that has been playing for over 10 years.
Jersey Boys went on to win the Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2009 for the London production, and has had productions all over the world including Chicago, Las Vegas, Sydney, Melbourne, Stockholm, Tokyo, and several tours in the U.S. and U.K. In sum, it has grossed over $2 billion worldwide, and over 24 million people have attended the show. On top of this, it was adapted into a feature film in 2014. However, all good things must come to an end, and Jersey Boys will play its final performance on January 15, 2017. While tickets were originally on sale until February 5, 2017, those who have purchased tickets for performances after the closing date will be refunded, either automatically through ticketmaster, or otherwise at the point of purchase.
Following the January closing of Jersey Boys, the next tenant will be the musical adaption of the 1993 film Groundhog Day. This production has just premiered at London’s Old Vic theatre, with previews beginning July 16, 2016 and an opening night on August 16, 2016. The book for the musical is written by Danny Rubin, who also penned the screenplay for the film Groundhog Day, for which he won a BAFTA Film Award for Best Screenplay. The music and lyrics are by Tim Minchin, who also wrote the music and lyrics for the currently running production of Matilda. The director is Matthew Warchus, who also directed Matilda as well as Ghost the Musical, La Bête, The Norman Conquests, God of Carnage, Boeing Boeing, and many more shows. When Groundhog Day opened in London, it received a round of unanimously rave reviews. In London, it is common to use stars in rating theatrical productions, and Groundhog Day received the highest number – five stars – from many publications, including The Telegraph, The Stage, The Times, Evening Standard, Whatsonstage.com, and many more.
The controversy surrounding the Broadway production of Groundhog Day is that the originally announced lead producer, the infamous Scott Rudin (The Book of Mormon, Shuffle Along, The Humans, Hello, Dolly!, etc., etc., etc.), decided to pull out from the production, citing an inability to have sufficient influence on the production. However, following the excellent reviews, the director Matthew Warchus decided to step in and produce it himself. According to Warchus, he still greatly admires Scott Rudin, but they just wanted different things and were holding each other back. Therefore, the Broadway production of Groundhog Day is back on track, with previews to begin in March 2017, and opening night set for April 17, 2017 at the August Wilson Theatre. While the Broadway cast has not yet been announced, the London production stars Andy Karl (Rocky, On the Twentieth Century) as the protagonist, Phil, who finds himself caught in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over again. Hopefully, Groundhog Day will absorb the residual magic of Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theatre, and be blessed with some of its good fortune.
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