Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons On Broadway Opens

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons on Broadway opens at the Broadway Theatre today.  The lives and music of the original four-man pop sensation inspired the massive hit musical Jersey Boys, which is just playing a couple blocks away at the August Wilson Theatre.  The limited engagement offers people an opportunity to see the real-life Jersey boy Frankie Valli singing songs that, decades later, remain part of the public consciousness.  “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “Working My Way Back To You”, “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)”, and “Who Loves You” are just a few of the classic chart-topping hits from the ’60s and ’70s made famous by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Frankie Valli himself is the only remaining member of the original band who performs live, so the concert does not actually feature the original line-up.  But it is Valli’s clarion lead vocals that most people remember most when they think of the band’s songs, so no doubt Four Seasons fans will find the concert a treat.  They are only performing seven shows, from October 19-27.  To get tickets, visit www.telecharge.com or call 212-239-6200.  More information on the Broadway engagement is also available at www.frankievallionbroadway.com.

Open Casting Call for Jersey Boys Film

A couple of significant developments have come about concerning the forthcoming film adaptation of the Broadway mega-hit musical Jersey Boys.  The movie, which already had assigned writer John Logan the task of penning the screenplay, now has a director: Actor-turned-successful director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) will helm the Jersey Boys film.

It has also been announced that the Jersey Boys movie is going to have an open casting call for the four lead parts:  Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, and Nick Massi.  The casting calls will be held in Philadelphia on August 18 and in New York City on August 26.

If you were born to be one of the Four Seasons but can’t make one of these open calls, videotaped auditions are also being accepted through August 22.  Find out more at www.jerseyboysmoviecasting.com.

Seating Options Abound For Book of Mormon Tickets – But A Scant Few Tickets Are Actually Available

More than a year after it won its Tony Award for Best Musical, The Book of Mormon remains Broadway’s monster hit, completely selling out performances several months in advance. The recent departure of original cast members Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells (soon to appear on TV shows 1600 Penn and The New Normal, respectively) hasn’t made a dent in sales either, since The Book of Mormon is the rare Broadway musical where members of the behind-the-scenes creative team (i.e. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone) are more famous than the people onstage.

Needless to say, The Book of Mormon tickets continue to be challenging to purchase. If you want The Book of Mormon tickets, you better be prepared to make your theater-going plans way in advance (are you free in the summer of 2013 by any chance?). Making matters more complicated is that The Book of Mormon‘s official ticket seller, Telecharge, is now utilizing a surprisingly complicated seating structure. When searching for The Book of Mormon tickets on Telecharge.com, you have the option to search by section (see image on the left). In the past, these drop-down menus might show 6-8 sections to choose from, but now The Book of Mormon is an example of a Broadway show that offers roughly two dozen options.

While this lengthy seating breakdown creates the illusion of choice, the reality is that the pricing options for The Book of Mormon tickets are extremely limited. The available regular ticket prices for The Book of Mormon are $69 rear mezzanine, partial view for $145-$165, and everything else in the $155-$175 ticket range. On that entire list of seating choices, only the Mezzanine Rows J-L gets you the $69 tickets. (By the way, the premium seats on that list will run you $250-$477 each.) Another popular Broadway musical, Jersey Boys, has a similar set-up, with numerous seating choices but limited price points. Meanwhile, a show like End of the Rainbow, which is struggling to fill seats, shows far fewer seating choices, but a slightly wider variety of pricing options.

One possible reason for the increasingly detailed seat offerings for popular Broadway shows is customer demand. When searching for The Book of Mormon tickets on Telecharge, you can just leave it on the default ‘Best Available’ setting to be given whatever Telecharge has determined are the best seats. But with Broadway ticket prices at all-time highs (especially for hit musicals like The Book of Mormon and Jersey Boys), buyers feel that if they are paying $155 for a ticket, they should at least be able to choose what row they want to sit in. The incredibly high demand for tickets, though, gives The Book of Mormon producers little reason to charge anything less than an arm and a leg — except for throwing ticket buyers a little bone by offering a few rear mezzanine rows at $69 (which of course sell out very quickly).

The complex seating breakdown for The Book of Mormon tickets also highlights the problem with Telecharge’s online ticketing system. Unlike Ticketmaster, which now lets you easily view and select the precise seats that you want from a seating chart, Telecharge leaves ticket buyers flailing in the dark, attempting to get the system to pull up desirable seats. Having a detailed list of seat row ranges at least allows buyers to choose their preferred seating sections with greater accuracy. Then again, with a sell-out show like The Book of Mormon, customers often find that there isn’t anything available in their selected row anyway. The truth of the matter is that, for big Broadway hits, you often have to settle for whatever is available — or else pay the premium ticket prices.