If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw some of my videos from when I went backstage on Jersey Boys. It was such a cool experience, guys! It made me even more excited to see the show. Speaking of the show: tickets are still available and can be purchased right here. More below!
Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (i.e. the guys who made "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" famous). I don't know much about them, but I'm impressed by how much they accomplished - selling 175 million records worldwide, all before they turned thirty. Wow! I have some catching up to do....
Our tour guide was stage manager, Anna Belle Gilbert, who has been with the show for almost a decade. She gave us glimpses of the crew setting up, peeks at the wardrobe areas, and even talked about some of her memories with the show.
One interesting tidbit she shared was that wardrobe is organized by numbers, not by names. While they have their crew that travels with the show, the majority of their help is local (e.g. from whatever city the show happens to be in). Sometimes the local crew may not be familiar with the show or the names of those involved, so everything is organized by numbers. So if Frankie needs his suit and Frankie's assigned number is "10." you would say, "We need 10's suit."
Also there is no rehearsal?!?! The crew arrives the night before, sets up for the next twelve hours, and then it's showtime. In the best way possible, the backstage felt like organized, artistic chaos.
Anna Belle also shared with us how they help spotlight the ensemble cast by using a variety of hairpieces, mustaches, and ear rings. She said they really want to create "distinct characters" throughout the show and want the audience to see that different people are playing each role, as opposed to, say, one blonde girl playing all the backup singers.
I asked Anna what her favorite memory was from the past few years and she talked about a recent situation when a speaker blew and the sound effects were in danger of not working. It was especially important because the upcoming scene involved Frankie getting a phone call and if the sound effects weren't working, he wouldn't know the phone was even ringing.
The solution? Anna grabbed a piece of paper, jotted down the word RING, and stood in the wing, prepared to hold it up every time the phone was meant to ring. Thankfully, the speaker was fixed and the crisis was averted, but Anna said those kinds of things happen all the time.While the audience may never know, the crew backstage is well aware.
I don't know about you, but that little story made me appreciate their work even more. You never know what's going on back there! At the end of our tour, we were hanging out in the lobby when the publicist, Cathy, asked if we wanted to meet "the boys?" Of course!
The guys were super gracious and really kind, but I think I sounded like a moron because I didn't have any questions prepped for them, so I just talked about how Des Moines is very walk-able and how cold it was yada yada yada. Lesson learned: always have questions ready for everyone.
Later that night, I went to the show and LOVED it. The audience was SUPER into it and a few times, I noticed the actors looked geiunely surprised by the level and volume of the applause. Gotta love a good, old Midwestern applause, right? They never stop. Hope you enjoyed this little peek backstage!