They’re pulling the plug on Broadway’s most popular jukebox. The Four Seasons musical Jersey Boys opened on November 5, 2006, to critical acclaim and screaming crowds. Since then, it has won the Tony Award for Best Musical and been adapted into a film directed by Clint Eastwood. Now, having weathered more than 40 seasons on the Great White Way, the show has announced a closing date: January 15, 2017.
The announcement is sure to leave Jersey Boys fans beggin’: Stay! Let’s hold on (to what we’ve got)! But remember, folks: Big girls don’t cry, so walk like a man. And remember, the musical doesn’t close until January: There’s still time to down a glass of sherry and work your way back to the show to say bye bye, baby, one last time. (Mark Ballas, of Dancing with the Stars, takes over as lead singer Frankie Valli starting October 18.)
Recommended: Guide to Jersey Boys on Broadway
Jersey Boys has had an astonishingly long run. Some quick geekery for theater-trivia fans: When it shutters, the show will have played 4,642 performances at the August Wilson Theatre, making it the 12th-longest-running Broadway production of all time. It is guaranteed to hold on to that distinction for years to come: Although four longer-running Broadway shows are still on the boards—The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, The Lion King and Wicked—the next in line is The Book of Mormon, which won’t be in a position to displace Jersey Boys until 2022.
What will be its legacy? Arguably the best of the so-called jukebox musicals, which use modern pops hits in lieu of original scores, Jersey Boys smartly used a biographical structure to avoid the problems that had beset several attempts at jukebox musicals before it. Presented as though the Four Seasons were singing them in concert, the songs in Jersey Boys do not do what they are “supposed” to do in musical theater: express the inner thoughts of the characters singing them. But the whole thing worked, and has led by example. Other shows since then—notably Beautiful, On Your Feet and Motown—have run with the biomusical approach, finding new ways to blur the lines between concert and book musical. Jersey Boys may not be the big man in town for much longer, but the jukebox-musical format rocks on.
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