Book by Richard Dresser. Music and lyrics by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. The original Broadway production opened on 2 February 2005 and was directed and choreographed by John Carrafa. The production closed on 5 April 2005, running for a total of 94 performances.
Good Vibrations is a jukebox musical that tells the story of a ground of high school friends who are desperate to escape their small New England home town. Dreading the prospect of a life working at the local factory, Bobby, the vain and popular “big man” on his small high school campus, and his pals, the engaged Eddie and shallow Dave, decide to drive to the “Promised Land,” the beaches of southern California. The only problem is that they don’t have a car to make the trip. Caroline, the mousey class valedictorian who has had a crush on Bobby since the fourth grade, has a new red convertible, so the trio con her into driving them to California. Although they set out to find true love and outrageous adventure, and ride the wave of their wildest dreams, once they reach the West Coast, things don’t turn out exactly as they had planned.
The score of the show includes many hit Beach Boys songs: “Our Prayer,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Karate,” “Keep An Eye On Summer,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “In My Room,” “I Get Around,” “When I Grow Up To Be A Man,” “Breakaway,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Surf City,” “Shutdown,” “Be True To Your School,” “Car Crazy Cutie,” “Warmth Of The Sun,” “Pet Sounds,” “Surfin’ USA,” “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “California Girls,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Stoked,” “Surfer Girl,” “Darlin’,” “Your Imagination,” “Caroline, No,” “All Summer Long,” “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Reprise),” “Sail On Sailor,” “Sloop John B,” “Friends,” “Good Vibrations,” and “God Only Knows.”
Good Vibrations is the kind of jukebox musical that gives the form a bad reputation: a predictable plot punctuated with as many popular numbers from a particular pop music act, no matter how superficial the connection between the score and the action it serves. The show was a flop – and not a particularly good one. The stories that have emerged about the creation of the show with its multiple rewrites, especially of the ending, make one wonder whether anyone who had anything to do with the creation of this show knew what they were doing.