It’s always hard for a theatre fan like myself to see an amazing musical transferred from stage to screen. Sometimes things work better on the stage, just as some stories work better on the screen. I’m sure it’s the same for a film fan, seeing a favourite film being transferred to the stage. The film of Jersey Boys received mixed reviews. Despite this, the film actually worked. To anyone who hasn’t seen the stage show, I can understand why they wouldn’t enjoy the film. With the release of the film version on DVD, here’s why Jersey Boys made a somewhat decent, but not quite adequate, transition.
Jersey Boys, the film version, is based on the multiple award-winning stage show. The show opened on Broadway in 2005, in the West End in 2008 and has spawned numerous tours and other productions all over the world. What many people don’t realize, and the film was criticized for this, was that the dialogue, along with other aspects of the film (such as having the actor who originated Frankie on Broadway play Frankie in the film), has come directly from the stage version. This pleased numerous stage fans, as it allowed for consistency and originality.
While I give the film the best for maintaining consistency with its stage predecessor, which is huge, it is seriously lacking in the magic department. The audience should be walking away singing the songs, feeling the buzz of the film, like those did who had seen the stage version. Hopefully, with Into the Woods being released next month (on Christmas Day, no less) we may yet feel that musical magic coming back to cinema audiences.