Is Broadway Ready For Jersey Boys Like Jay and Silent Bob?
Broadway has seen one group of Jersey Boys succeed, as the musical surrounding The Four Seasons continues to average about $1 million in ticket sales each week, but is the theater district in NYC ready for the invasion of Jersey Boys like Dante, Randal, Jay and Silent Bob?
Word broke a couple of weeks ago that born and bred Jersey guy Kevin Smith (Red Bank) has an idea for a 3rd installment for the Clerks franchise - a final chapter to come to Broadway in 2014? Smith told Vicki Hyman of the Star-Ledger earlier this month that he was says he was inspired to stage “Clerks III” after seeing "Seminar" on Broadway (where 4 young writers has paid their professor $5,000 for a ten-week-long writing seminar - tensions arise and romance falls between students, they clash over their writing, their relations, and their futures). The production featured Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber from Die Hard), who worked on Kevin's 1999 film Dogma.
Smith has also said he could not move forward with this idea without Jeff Anderson on board to reprise Randal. Anderson (another Monmouth County guy who now resides out west) was last seen in Smith's 2008 project Zack and Miri Make A Porno with Seth Rogan - the movie was hurt by its NC-17 rating, limiting its box office take to about $40 Million.
Jason Mewes is for certain to be a part of this project. Mewes (Highlands, along the Monmouth County coast) has been connected to Smith on many side projects - from speaking engagements to their characters being used as part of Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank (logo pictured). Mewes has 6 films do out over then next year, including an animated flick about Noah's Ark with voices of Michael Keaton, Ben Kingsley, Howie Mandel, and Eliza Dushku to name a few.
As of two weeks ago, Kevin had not reached out to Brian O'Halloran (Dante Hicks), who has the most experience of any of the Clerks cast with stage productions. Having made his living for the most part over the last 15+ years with near and off-Broadway productions, O'Halloran (who grew up in Middlesex County) can prove to be a stabilizing force for this potential Broadway outing and accomplish one of his personal goals of his acting career.
The fact is that nobody can play Dante, or Randal, or Jay and Silent Bob other that these 4 talented people. Smith has the vision and the words, Mewes has his natural charisma, plus O'Halloran and Anderson have the chemistry nobody else can recapture in these roles. This is key to any success for Clerks on Broadway.
Broadway has been a high risk, high reward place over the last few years. Right now the Spider-Man production has started to pay off, with the box office take averaging about $2 Million recently. The Tony Award winning The Book of Moron, created by the guys of South Park, has been averaging about $1.5 Million a week.
Clerks would be considered risky, but trendy - movies being reworked into a stage production. Look at Sister Act becoming a Broadway play, same with Ghost, and soon Animal House (being created for Broadway with the help of The Barenaked Ladies). Clerks advantage would be an original script, and as it looks (look back above) the original cast is ready to make their characters come back to life.
A night on Broadway is not a cheap night though, and business for the theaters overall have been down this year in comparison to last year. There is a difference in paying say $12 for a movie ticket, as oppose to a $50-$200 theater ticket. Clerks is probably one of the biggest Cult Classic films of all time, and their fan base is rabid for these characters. Smith's hope (according to The Star-Ledger) is to do a six-month run and sell out all tickets in advance.
The pieces are coming together, the goal is reasonable - are you on board for Clerks 3 on Broadway?