Jersey Boys Review - Broadway Really Has Come to Chicago

If you were a tourist in Chicago and you wanted to be sure you would get your money’s worth on a theater production, you’d make the safe decision, right?  You’d choose the record-breaking hit JERSEY BOYS celebrating its second smash year in Chicago. Would you be right?  Oh, yeah! This show is so Broadway!

www.JerseyBoysChicago.com



JERSEY BOYS, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, premiered in Chicago on October 5, 2007 and became a resident production on February 27, 2008. The show is currently playing at the Bank of America Theatre (18 W. Monroe St.) in an open run. It’s also playing in Las Vegas, Toronto, and London and just opened in Melbourne! 

Chicago's JERSEY BOYS stars Michael Cunio as Tommy DeVito, Chicagoan Michael Ingersoll as Nick Massi, Dominic Scaglione Jr. as Frankie Valli, and Shonn Wiley as Bob Gaudio, with Craig Laurie and Chicagoan Jonathan Weir.

 As the press release succinctly put it,

"Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio,Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi--
a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks--became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and funky choreography and sold 175 million records worldwide—all before they were thirty."

They got off to a typical Jersey start, a handshake between Frankie Valli (voice like an angel) and Bob Gaudio (composed his first hit, "Who Wears Short Shorts?" at the age of 15).

Agreement with a Handshake



Soon, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were recording Gaudio's in-demand music, playing on all the pop radio stations and hitting the tops of the charts.

In the Recording Studio



Directed by two-time Tony Award®-winner Des McAnuff, JERSEY BOYS won both the 2006 Tony Award® for Best Musical and the 2006 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Recording, and continues to break box office records on Broadway and in Chicago. JERSEY BOYS is written by Academy Award®-winners Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. Add to that the pure magic of the design and production team and you’ve got BROADWAY IN CHICAGO.

Great Hit! Sherry



The ensemble of JERSEY BOYS includes three women and five men and an orchestra that sings, dances, struts, punches, swears and changes roles so many times it’s impossible to believe so few could be so many. In fact, one woman changes wigs 11 times!

That’s the Broadway part.  Now let’s talk about the heart part.  You can’t help but notice the subtlety of Frankie Valli’s voice maturing in the course of the show. By the time Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sing “Walk Like a Man,” they’re on their way to becoming men.

Walk Like a Man



And then there’s the Boomer factor.  We Boomers in the audience have so many memories laced into these songs!  And just in case we forgot, there are pictures of American Bandstand and Lichtenstein-like cartoons reminding us of the way we were.

What was behind it all? Let's go backstage and see.

Backstage with Shonn Wiley



Charming, handsome, somewhat shy Shonn Wiley ( Bob Gaudio), our celebrity tour guide, is not only quite the singer, but also an accomplished dancer and award-winning choreographer. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see some of those great moves in his upcoming feature films, Tiny Dancer, Red Hook and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Keep up with Shonn at www.shonnwiley.com

Jonathan Wier and the Sign-In Board



Even though he calls Chicago his home, Jonathan Weir ( Gyp De Carlo) has toured with the  Lion King, Scrooge the Musical, and the San Francisco company’s Jersey Boys. Somehow, he also makes time to be an instructor of theater at Loyola University. He showed us to the incredible wig room where the three women in the ensemble transform themselves.

The Wig Room



The next stop was the dressing room complete with sewing machines “just in case.” In one scene, in the background, it looked like a young woman was undressing while they were, uh, “kissing.” In fact, she was getting out of one costume so she could quickly change into the next.

The Dressing Room



You would think seeing all the machinery, lights and mundane equipment would take the romance out of the experience.  Au contraire. It’s astonishing to see the ingenious way technology morphs into art in the hands of creative talent.

The performance schedule is as follows: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets for JERSEY BOYS range in price from $30 - $110. A select number of premium seats are also available. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St. and 18 W. Monroe St.); the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000; all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores); and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

Groups of 15 or more should call (312) 977-1710. Rush tickets ($25) go on-sale at 10 a.m. (11 a.m. on Sundays) the day of each performance. Ten (10) front row seats are available at the Bank of America Theatre Box Office (18 W. Monroe St.) only. As many as forty (40) additional seats, subject to availability at select performances, are made available online at Ticketmaster.com and at the Bank of America Theatre Box Office. Rush ticket limit is two (2) tickets per patron and all seats are limited view. For more information on JERSEY BOYS, go to
www.JerseyBoysChicago.com or www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

Jersey Boys Update:
The Honorable Mayor Richard M. Daley with Mayor of Northlake Jeffery T. Sherwin and more than 80 suburban mayors celebrated more than two years of the smash-hit musical Jersey Boys on Tuesday, October 27.

Mayor Daley with the Jersey Boys


Tickets for the final block of performances through January 10 are on sale now.

Photos:
Joan Marcus and Amy Boyle for Margie Korshak, Inc.
Herb Simms for Chicago Splash


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