Oh, what a night indeed! The Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Jersey Boys, which tells the story of the Four Seasons against a backdrop of their greatest hits, arrived in the West End last night (18 March 2008, previews from 28 February), opening at the Prince Edward Theatre, where it’s currently booking to 18 October (See News, 17 Oct 2007).

At the curtain call, original band members Franki Valli and Bob Gaudio took to the stage alongside Ryan Molloy and Stephen Ashfield, who play them in the hit musical. To an encore of “Oh, What a Night”, one of the Four Seasons’ signature chart-toppers, Valli, Gaudio and the company were given a standing ovation by the star-studded audience, which included Alan Sugar, Barbara Windsor, Brian May, Cameron Mackintosh, Dave Clark, Denise Van Outen, Elaine Paige, Dave Clark, Matthew Bourne, Mel Smith, Judi Dench, Pete Townshend, Scarlet Strallen, Vanessa Feltz and Teatro.

For Whatsonstage.com TV, we were on hand for arrivals and the curtain call of Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre and the post-show party at the Natural History Museum. Amongst our TV interviewees are Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio and their onstage doppelgangers Ryan Molloy and Stephen Ashfield along with co-stars Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock and book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice as well as other first night guests including Anita Dobson, Russ Abbot, Tim Healy, Denise Welch, Ruthie Henshall, Cilla Black and Ciara Janson.

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Jersey Boys follows four blue-collar boys – Valli, Gaudio and their friends Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi – on their journey from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey to international success as an American pop music sensation. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30. Amongst their many hits included in the show are “Sherry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, “Working My Way Back to You” and “Who Loves You”.

The West End production reunites the Broadway creative team, led by director Des McAnuff, choreographer Sergio Trujillo and designer Klara Zieglerova. Jersey Boys is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. Following a four-month try-out in La Jolla, California, Jersey Boys opened in November 2005 at Broadway’s August Wilson Theater, where it continues to run. Amongst its accolades to date, it won four 2006 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

In addition to Molloy, Ashfield, Carter and Bulcock – who star as band members Valli, Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi respectively – the musical features Simon Adkins (as Bob Crewe), Suzy Bastone (Mary Delgado), Michelle Francis (Francine), Jye Frasca (Joe Pesci), Tom Lorcan (Knuckles/Donnie), Stuart Milligan (Gyp Decarlo), Amy Pemberton (Lorraine), Joseph Prouse (Norm Waxman), Griffin Stevens (Hank Majewski) and Scott Monello (Frankie Valli alternate).

- by Terri Paddock