Tomorrow marks the premiere of a movie literally no one in the world asked for, the Clint Eastwood (??) adaptation of Broadway’s hit Jersey Boys:
Who besides boomers will enjoy this? The voice over is SO CORNY.
Ok, I don’t think ALL jukebox musicals are terrible. There’s Mamma Mia, which is fun! And Everyone Says I Love You. I think I’m just suffering from jukebox musical fatigue! WHEN WILL IT END?
I put together five quick reasons why this trend needs to slow the fuck down already.
There are so many of them!
Wikipedia lists fifty two (non-films) since 2000.
This is a common complaint about jukebox musicals: the story is written around the songs. Therefore, the behind-the-music story of Jersey Boys (“bio-musical”) has become a pretty popular framing structure in these jukebox musicals–think The Boy from Oz or the more recent Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
American Idiot was kind of a rock opera before hand and there was an overarching story to the music (I will ignore the co-opting of punk rock by a very non-punk rock media). But shoehorning in a bunch of 80s glam metal songs into a trite, sexist story does not make a good musical, Rock of Ages.
Lazy, less original music
Hey let’s write a musical around songs that already exist so we don’t have to hire songwriters! But how much more superior are these original songs from “bio-musicals”?
Is there anything better than this?
By Little Steven! There were covers in this movie but they were period-appropriate, chosen after the movie was written, and not overplayed. But this is the song I remember most from Not Fade Away.
Nostalgia is gross
I posted about this here when talking about reunion tours. If you didn’t get to see Frankie Valli or Tupac at the height of their popularity, a musical and a hologram, respectively, are pretty shitty representations of the original music.
The Proclaimers have a musical! I can not name more than one of their songs. [Is there another Proclaimers song anyone needs to know? -K]
And this guy does too. He STARS in it. Here is the synopsis of All the Fun in the Fair from Wikipedia: The show follows Levi Lee, a recently widowed father with a rebellious teenage son. There is a gypsy future teller who is in love with Levi, and tells him there is danger and mysticism in his future. Dodgems and motorbikes, crafty cons and candy floss, fairground horses and fights, as well as unrequited love, romance and rock and roll bring out the carnival atmosphere in this world of fairground life.
Oh England, your strange taste puzzles me.
BONUS: A SUGGESTION
Since Katie would add this as a comment, I decided to beat her to it! Why not revive some overlooked musicals on Broadway instead, like the super bizarre Chess? (There is a recent concert of it on Youtube here if you are so inclined. JOSH GROBAN!) [Recently I was at the dentist and a Josh Groban song come on the radio and I had a hard time not laughing because I associate him with comedy and not music. You are hilarious Josh Groban! On an other more related note I have almost bought the Josh Groban/Idina Menzel Chess in Concert album off Amazon many times. “Nobody’s Side” is my fucking jam. -K]