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The Musical Jersey Boys Returns To Chicago
Popular production highlights the career of one of music's most successful singing groups
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Actors Corey Greenan, Eric Chambliss, Jonny Wexler and Jonathan Cable (above and below) re-enact performances by The Four Seasons. At bottom, the group in a recording session. 
Brett Beiner Photography
The cast of Jersey Boys is led (left to right, center) Eric Chambliss, Jonny Wexler, Corey Greenan and Jonathan Cable at the Auditorium Theatre. 
  THE Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys, the story about the Hall of Fame history of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, has returned to Chicago for eight shows through April 7 at the Auditorium Theatre as part of the production’s 13th national tour. 
   The 2018-19 North American touring production kicked off in Springfield, Ohio, and features Jonny Wexler (Frankie Valli), Jonathan Cable (Nick Massi), Eric Chambliss (Bob Gaudio) and Corey Greenan (Tommy DeVito). The show, winner of the 2006 Best Musical, is the behind-the-scenes story of the Newark, N. J., group that sailed to international stardom on the wings of a list of memorable songs, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got),” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Rag Doll,” “Working My Way Back To You” and “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night”). 
   Jersey Boys the Musical, written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, provides an entertaining and in-depth look at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, both on and off stage, while they worked to become one of the biggest musical phenomena during the ‘60s and ‘70s, selling more than 175 million records worldwide before their 30th birthdays. Led by Valli, with his famous falsetto, the group had 71 songs in the Top 40 and eight No. 1 hits. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing, thanks to conflicting personalities, fiery disagreements and professional differences––all highlighted in the production.
   The musical also gives you a close look at the character and determination of four talented guys who dedicated themselves to succeed against the odds and become the best they could be. But even when you consider that compelling side of the story, still, it’s the music that is the star of this show. With a score by founding member Bob Gaudio and producer/lyricist Bob Crewe, the songs, in the hands of Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff, are perfectly placed to emphasize important points that contributed to the group’s incredible success. And Sergio Trujillo’s award-winning choreography is representative of the show’s energy.
   Over the years, Jersey Boys has made several stops in Chicago since it premiered at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway on November 6, 2005. The premier engagement of the production in Chicago was an overwhelming success, running for more than two years, 951 performances and experienced by more than 1 million theatergoers.
   Now, it’s back in the city, and those who already have seen it and those who want to see it for the first time are excited about the return of the inspiring story of how a group of blue-collar boys from New Jersey climbed the musical ladder.
   With each production, the legacy of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons grows, and this new group of actors continues to boost the popularity of the show. As Frankie Valli says: “This [musical] is a taste of reality about four guys that grew up in a certain way, in a certain period of time, with all odds against them and they became successful.”
For more information and tickets, go to www.broadwayinchicago.com and www.auditoriumtheatre.org.
Photography by Joan Marcus