It’s not so easy to get a movie and a Broadway show here at the same time.
The film version of “Jersey Boys” arrives Friday, bringing the rare chance for a fanatic to see both the movie and the stage musical in the same day. More realistically, it could be a test of whether the screen version will boost business for the stage show, which has been in town since April 2008 and at Paris Las Vegas since March 2011.
“Jersey Boys” is said to be doing well at Paris, and isn’t depending on any “bump” from the movie. So far, the show producers haven’t rushed in with cross-promotions such as “Bring a ticket stub for the movie and get a $20 discount to the live show.” (If they read this and decide to do that, you’re welcome.)
Few other musicals to take up residency on the Strip had the chance to cash in on the free advertising a movie brings: Tom Viertel, one of the Broadway producers of “The Producers” pointed out “a great big billboard (in Times Square) that we didn’t pay for” when the movie arrived in late 2005.
“Mamma Mia!” is the last time both a movie and stage show were here simultaneously. But the show already had its Mandalay Bay end game in play, having announced it would close in early 2009 even before the movie came out in the summer of 2008.
The “Rock of Ages” movie lived and died the summer before it opened at The Venetian in early 2013. Some swear the movie actually hurt the stage show’s reputation with its suckiness. I would argue the two are simply bad in different ways.
The movie version of “The Producers” fizzled before the stage show made it to Paris Las Vegas in early 2007. And “Hairspray” closed at Luxor in 2006, more than a year before the movie could come along to help it.
The Las Vegas cast of “Jersey Boys” saw the movie at a Monday screening. Travis Cloer, who plays Frankie Valli onstage here, noted how the movie and stage show offer “two sides of telling their (The Four Seasons’) story,” with the movie focusing more on the drama than the music.
“I think the stage production is more, ‘Here’s our hits.’ This (movie) is more like, ‘Here’s our story, and by the way we sang some songs while we were doing all this.’ ”
Director Clint Eastwood cast three of the Four Seasons from stage productions of “Jersey Boys,” including Erich Bergen as songwriting wunderkind Bob Gaudio. Bergen opened the Las Vegas edition at the Palazzo in 2008 and stayed for 14 months before the producers let him go (Sunday’s Review-Journal will have an interview with Bergen).
“I know Erich so well it’s kind of weird,” says Deven May, who plays Tommy DeVito in Las Vegas and was part of the first national tour. “Because I played with him onstage, I just kind of see Erich up there.”
“I think it would be easier to watch the movie if we didn’t know people, honestly,” agreed Jeff Leibow, who plays Nick Massi. “It’s a little distracting to watch your friends up there. Especially doing stuff we’ve seen a thousand times.”
Monday’s screening also included the real DeVito, the “black sheep” member of the Four Seasons played by Vincent Piazza of “Boardwalk Empire” in the movie.
DeVito will get a second chance to see the movie in a private screening today at the Palms in honor of his 86th birthday. The screening is expected to include actor Joe Pesci, who is also portrayed in both the movie and stage show as part of The Four Seasons’ formative saga.
As mentioned in both movie and musical, DeVito lives in Las Vegas and spent some of his years before the Broadway debut of “Jersey Boys” working as an assistant to Pesci.
Regardless of the box office, Cloer says the movie is a new shot of inspiration for the cast, reminding him “it’s a great gig” and to “just savor every second of it.” …
There’s another Las Vegas movie in town Friday. “Think Like A Man Too” could be a real boost for Jennifer Romas, who gets a choreography credit for a big Bollywood-style production number set to Bell Biv Devoe.
Romas is one of those hardworking troupers who could use the metaphoric break after a real knee injury in “iCandy Burlesque” two years ago. It was one of several short-lived resume credits that followed an “America’s Got Talent” season with the acrobatic duo Mario &Jenny. …
Speaking of “America’s Got Talent,” here’s a real magic trick. How did the one — the only? — Las Vegas magician we’ve never heard of get on the show and make a big impression?
The first appearance on the NBC talent show by the magician known as Smoothini — billed as “The Ghetto Houdini” — has been rewatched more than 4 million times on YouTube.
Even if he doesn’t progress to the show’s top 10 finalists, it sounds like Smoothini’s days of street and nightclub magic may be in for an upgrade. …
Finally, don’t you think I can’t find another way to mention the “Jersey Boys.” Or “Rock of Ages.” Cast members from both are part of Sunday’s annual Golden Rainbow benefit to help those with HIV and AIDS.
This year’s theme is “Under the Big Top,” so you can count on performances from several of the Cirque du Soleil shows, along with “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Divas Las Vegas,” “Zombie Burlesque,” Clint Holmes, Joshua Strickland and Reva Rice.
Chris Saldana and Edie, emcee of “Zumanity,” are the hosts. This year, the 1 p.m. benefit is in Penn &Teller’s theater at the Rio. Tickets are at the door or can be ordered at 800-745-3000.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.