Everybody remembers it the way they need to…….and this is the way I am going to remember the huge Jersey Boys cast change of 2016.
It all started on a chilly Saturday morning. I woke up full of wonder and excitement at what lay ahead for the weekend. Ha! I’m joking guys. I’m not really going to tell it like that. In reality, I woke up late, had travel issues with engineering works and packed right at the last minute for my London weekend stay which resulted me in bringing my whole house. Carrying a huge backpack, a full bag and other stuff is not the brightest idea walking around London and getting through the tube barriers. But what can I say? I like to make things difficult. I always like to think my life is way more organised and glam than that so for the purposes of an interesting story… we will say I had a personal assistant carrying my luggage for me. And he was fit. Like…think Hugh Jackman.
Anyway….. Obviously we had booked to see Sandys last show on the Saturday and Michaels last show for the Sunday. We also threw in a trip to Simon Lipkins fab new show Miss Atomic Bomb on the Saturday night…but I will write a separate blog on that.
I did something I never ever do and went to stage door before the show. As a rule I hate this because I mean….I didn’t want to bother them as they walked in but knowing there would be mad crowds after the shows and I had to give them their leaving cards made things more difficult. I had back up though. My trusty best friend Ali was on hand to babysit me around London…..and I had an added bonus with the lovely Justina who soon came to realise that I really did need looking after because I’m just generally quite bad at life. Thanks girls….I owe ya!!
So after feeling mighty awkward being at the stage door, basically throwing Sandys leaving bits at him out of embarrassment and trying to run off to my hotel before it was time, I was winning cool points all around. We checked into the hotel and legged it back to the Piccadilly theatre for Sandys last show.
That man certainly knows how to work a crowd. I always find it a bit weird as a fan to say that I am proud of them, but that is what I felt as Sandy sang Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. What an epic show to go out on. He knows he did himself proud and I can’t wait to see what else he does next. I definitely did not cry. I think what happened is I went to take a sip of water … (wine) and it spilt down my face….so then it just looked like tears but it wasn’t. He really has built up quite the fan base and with his talent it will only get bigger.
We even got to say goodbye and good luck to him after the show which was a bonus, because on such a massive cast change I think you just have to assume you might not get the chance to say much. He rocked the Jersey Boys stage and I think I speak for all of us when I say that it would be a dream to see him in his sparkly leotard and flash headband singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off You while doing a bit of Dirty Dancing. It could happen.
Thanks Sandy…you absolute dreamboat.
I woke up on Sunday in a bit of a daze. I just couldn’t believe that all the seasons would be walking off stage that night and not coming back as a season. It is so strange to get so invested in a show. I have been to loads of other shows that I have loved and been awed at …but they haven’t made a dent like Jersey Boys did. They didn’t make me go back again and again …..(except for Rock Of Ages which I mean…. come on….Rock N Roll and Debauchery and Sandy showing off his legs, what more do you want?)…..it is obviously a credit to this Jersey Boys cast that people went back to see them more than once. And the people that did see it just the once left outstanding reviews. This cast made an impact.
Again, we braved the stage door before the show. Again, you could tell from out of space just how uncomfortable it was for me. But…. you know. Last day means special rules I suppose so it is what it is. I have to win points for being the most awkward person who was in London that day as I walked over to Joseph Peters who was talking to other fans and said these exact words in a shaky voice … (Yes, I know I’m 29 but….what can ya do?)
“I just wanted to say good luck for the last show. Because you have been good. Obviously.”
Then I ran to the other side of the road wondering why I ever opened my mouth. Ha!! Swallow me up ground. It didn’t. Ooooo… we also had a mini Jersey Reunion with the very lovely and insanely tall Matt Nalton…..now of Beautiful pedigree but formerly a superb Nick Massi. I think he was pretending that he was there to see the current cast off, but really he just wanted to see his beloved table. What a dude.
Anyway… I managed to give the casts cards out which I was pleased about, then just a short while later we filed in to the theatre. We took our seats, I ruffled around in my bag for the tissues my bestie had kindly provided me with and waited for the show to start.
Thomas Goodridge walked out to the top of the stairs as Barry and the crowd went wild. The crowd went wild right? << I’m sorry. Couldn’t help myself. I knew from that moment and Tommy Gs happy face it was going to be a suitably crazy send off for these guys. The cast is so strong that people like Thomas and Simon Adkins….despite not being seasons are still adored by the crowds. All of the guys just worked together so brilliantly and yes, I know we all go to see the show and should expect nothing from the stage dooring….but I think the cast are also firm favourites because of the patience and love they have shown us over the years. I don’t pretend like I am any of their friends, I go to the theatre….enjoy the show, maybe get a bonus chat afterwards and go home….but I can say that Tommy is not only one of the nicest guys in the West End…but actually one of the nicest guys I have ever met.
Cest Soirees La started up with all the crowd singing along, it was electric. The crowds cheered as Jon, Gary and Matt Hunt walked out from the darkness….and we couldn’t even hear Michaels ‘Silhouettes’ over the sound of the cheering and whooping. Everyone of course always talks about the big songs….and I love them as much as the next JB fan but we all need to take a moment to appreciate the little bitty not quite full songs such as Mood For Love and Opus 17……ahhhh. The way Michael hits those notes actually makes my heart go a bit gooey. I think I even stopped breathing. Crystal clear voice. Magic.
I think the atmosphere of the night kept me going. I very nearly lost it at the boys last ever Cry For Me …… where Edd sounded the best he’s ever been. It is such a sweet moment seeing them all together around the piano….. and it is one of my favourite show moments. The applause after that went on for so long I was certain the show would be held up for about an hour!!
I will miss Michaels singing…. but I will also miss his absolutely hilarious faces he pulls in Go Ape. How can you be an emotional when he’s pulling those faces?! He’s brilliant!! (Shall we talk about when Sandy does the thrusting in Go Ape as well or is that a topic for another day?!)
The three big numbers on Sunday night gave me chillier chills than I had ever had before and seeing them all in their red jackets made my face go in the shape of that heart eyed emoji. All of it was just magical. Seeing Jon and Gary doing some killer moves with their guitars, Edd bopping away at his keyboard and Michael reaching the high notes with no effort at all. Aaahhhh.
I could sit here and list every song but ….what is the point. Those who were there knew it was wonderful, those who weren’t there can probably tell that it was amazing….and I would be here all night writing this and I am still too tired from travelling back from London! I have never been so tired from a weekend away before but I put that down to being the poorliest I have ever been for a whole month. (Also a story for another day…let’s just say the words Flu, Chest infection, near pneumonia and some wildly strong antibiotics.)
The second act was class all the way. Everyone in the Piccadilly stood up after Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and I am pretty sure I did my voice some damage from screaming so much.
Seeing the seasons do their speeches for the last time was very choking. But….the fact that everyone was standing up for ages at the end, cheering them on definitely got rid of the sadness.
That show on Sunday the 13th of March 2016 will go down in history as one of the best performances the west end has ever seen. Magic. Magic. Magic.
I’m sure I don’t even need to say what stage door was like. Bloody crazy. I have never seen a crowd so big and it would have been intimidating for anyone to walk out on. I just had a present for Michael to pass on….and Ali had to go home for her train so she had left alternate babysitter Justina <<see what I did there….. with strict instructions to make sure I handed the present over. So I did the only thing I could do, I found Michaels absolutely lovely Mum and gave it to her. I wimped out!! Ha! I did say a quick goodbye to him which was lovely, he and his family were drinking it all in and it was wonderful.
As I think back over the weekend, I can’t help but feel happy. The sadness has gone and I am looking forward to seeing what the guys go into in future.
A special mention to Jon Boydon who rocked out for six whole years as Tommy De Vito. All of the guys became stars in my eyes.
We all have our favourites in shows and being a fan of Sandy which led me to Jersey Boys opened up a whole new group to break the bank for.
As I said about Tommy G, Michael Watson is also one of the loveliest men I have ever met. He takes it all in his stride and doesn’t let all the adoration go to his head. And I think that is a star quality in itself. We will definitely see him go far and I will be there to watch along the way.
Oh, what a night. Oh What a weekend, and Oh what a bloody talented cast.
Gorgeous send off and I am so glad I was able to witness the crowds shake the Piccadilly.
Good luck to the new seasons taking over on Tuesday, I am especially looking forward to seeing Matt Hunt as Nick Massi and Simon Bailey as Tommy De Vito. I would be shitting it if I was them, but that’s why I’m me and they are professional actors 😉
Everyone remembers it how they need to, right? And I will always remember my five seasons Michael, Sandy, Jon, Gary and Edd….along with Thomas, Joseph and Simon Adkins being just a teeny tiny bit amazing. Thanks for the memories boys.