The Jersey Boys return to Chicago...And, Oh, What a Night it is at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre.

The Jersey Boys return to Chicago...And, Oh, What a Night it is at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre.
Jersey Boys 1st National Tour - (l to r) Michael Lomenda, Joseph Leo Bwarie, Preston Truman Boyd and John Gardiner. Photo: Joan Marcus

Chicago, Friday, April 13, 2012. The Jersey Boys are back in town after a nearly two year absence. This time around, they are part of a new touring production of the mega-hit Jersey Boys that tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The new production that opened Wednesday at The Bank of America Theatre is every bit as good, if not better, than the original. 

The premier engagement of Jersey Boys played Chicago for over two years between 2007 and 2010 with over 951 performances and was seen by more than one million theatergoers–worldwide Jersey Boys has played to over 13 million people…and counting. If you want to catch Jersey Boys this time around, you’ll have to be quick on your feet as it is here for a brief nine week run–only through June 2, 2012.

Most people come to Jersey Boys for the music.  With such memorable hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” that would be reason enough.  But Jersey Boys doesn’t just stop and start with the music. The musical also tells a compelling story based on the real life of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi.

The story follows the group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey through their ins and outs with the law, their life on the road and their relationships with their families to their meteoric rise to the top of the American pop music scene in the 1960s. The group did what no other had done at the time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide–all before they were thirty.

The cast for the current production is superb. Frankie Vallie played by Joseph Leo Bwarie is a knock-out. Bwarie has toured over 40 cities spanning almost 4 years in the Valli role including opening Jersey Boys Las Vegas and Toronto.  He may be the best yet in the Valli role.  Bwarie has an amazing vocal range that produces a haunting falsetto that brings down the house when he sings “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” backed by the full on-stage (and off-stage) orchestra–rocking the entire theatre. In addition, he is a powerful actor who has a special chemistry with the rest of the cast members as well as the audience.  (PLEASE NOTE: If you want to see Bwarie in the Valli role, he only plays evenings. Nick Cosgrove, who I have not seen, will play the Valli role at all Wed. and Thurs. matinees, plus Sunday evenings and on April 12, 17 and 24.).

The rest of the cast is exceptional.  Preston Truman Boyd, plays the talented Bob Gaudio, the youngest member of the group.  Gaudio wrote the 1950’s hit “Who Wears Short, Shorts” at age fifteen, two years before he joined the fold and then went on to lead the group into the stratosphere with an on-going string of hits.  The Tommy DeVito character, who founded the group, is played with just the right amount of spunk and toughness by John GardinerMichael Lomenda who plays Nick Massi is a perfect fit for the role of the fourth wheel who compares his position in The Four Seasons to Ringo’s with The Beatles.

The show is directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

Ticket Information.

Individual tickets for Jersey Boys start at $37. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), 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 Broadway in Chicago.   A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Groups of 15 or more may receive a discount on most shows by calling (312) 977‐1710. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W Monroe St. Some tickets are already listed on Ebay for $300.

Parking.

Discount parking with ticket stub  at Adams & Wabash Bank of America InterPark Garage Address: 17 E. Adams St. Garage Phone Number: 1-312-554-0112. Valet parking is also available at many nearby restaurants including The Italian Village, 17 W. Monroe, 312 332 7005.

Special Bwarie Appearance.
Recording artist and Jersey Boys star Joseph Leo Bwarie will be speaking of his journey from “Jersey Boys” to “Nothin’ But Love” and signing his new his new CD Monday, May 7th at Oakbrook Center Barnes & Noble from 7 to 9p.m.  Mr. Bwarie will be gifting a “NOTHIN’ BUT LOVE” t-shirt with in-store purchase of his debut CD (receipt required).

Learn about Bwarie’s collaboration with legendary producer/arranger Charles Calello, renowned arranger for Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons at this special event.  297 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL  In addition to Barnes & Noble, the CD can be purchased at his website  or on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.

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