October 31, 2007

Mike Magbaleta’s Big Apple Adventure Wrap-Up

October 31st, 2007

45 record
Photo courtesy of Linda Lenzi at BroadwayWorld.com.

By Mike Magbaleta, JBB Special Correspondent

My day started at the SF Airport where I met Linda (Tiggerbelle on the JBB Bulletin Board), who recognized me from my picture on the blog. We spoke briefly, then boarded our redeye flight to JFK. We arrived in NYC at 6:10AM, then I took the Long Island Railroad east to my old home at Islip, NY, walked around a bit to check out my old HS, my cousin’s home, part of the town, then hopped on the westbound train back to Manhattan.

At Penn Station, I took the “A” train to the World Trade Center site to pay respects to my fallen classmates that perished there. I took the subway back up to Penn Station, then walked to the Empire State Building. From there, I walked through midtown to the garment district, and had lunch at the 24 hr. diner on 8th Ave and 34th St. After lunch, I figured the Theatre District and Times Square were not too far, so I hiked up to 54th and 9th and started my quest of photographing all “on Broadway” marquees before the event.

I got to the August Wilson Theatre and waited for Linda and Irene, who were meeting at the theatre. I sat by the stage door and saw John Lloyd Young go in and out a few times, and a few of the stagehands (thanks for not striking on the 21st!) doing the same. Irene arrived first, then Linda, who was attending the show with Irene’s daughter Jennifer. When they entered the theatre, we left before meeting again at the Marriott before 5PM.

Since I finished taking photos and purchasing souvenirs early, I headed up to the View Lounge to see if they needed assistance. Entering the venue an hour early was cool because I saw where everything was and would plan the evening accordingly. When the event started, there was a steady rush of fans entering and had no idea how big the event would get! I gathered up my “Jersey Boys Fan Club” membership cards and walked the revolving lounge to see what I could start off with.

After meeting the famous East Coast fans (Hi Charles, Melissa, Howard, Charly, Damaris, Beverley, Lulu, Frank, Wanda, Audrey, “JoJen” and many, many more…..) and fellow bloggers that I’ve known only by their nicknames, I decided to get in line for autographs since I wanted to have the OBC sign my Jersey Boys book. I totally forgot about the “special guests” and while in line, saw Frankie Valli walking with Judy Parker and Bob Gaudio towards the table. About five minutes later, the OBC supporting cast and swings arrived. The Jersey Boys, along with Tommy DeVito and Joe Long rounded out the group a short while after. Imagine if Bob Crewe, Des McAnuff and Joe Pesci were in attendance….. What a pleasant surprise to witness the ultimate gathering for all Jersey Boys’ fans ever, especially in an intimate setting where there are no security guards or barricades separating us from our favorite musical and theatrical groups!

At the table, I made it a point to thank each VIP for their individual contributions to stage and song, and also to take photos of each Four Season with their respective Broadway alter ego! I had to thank John Lloyd Young for his contributions to my son’s high school drama program’s presentation of “Guys and Dolls.” When I approached him, John recognized me by name (due to my nametag…..), but knew who I was after remembering the e-mails and letters I sent him, in addition to earlier BC/EFA donation checks. We chatted a bit and although I was bummed out not seeing the OBC perform live, I still promised to see him onstage, whether it be in a musical or in concert. John was the last cast member to leave the event, and showed what a classy person he is and what the fans mean to him!

After that adrenaline rush, I walked the perimeter and thanked both Michael Longoria for his totally cool Joe Pesci and Peter Gregus for the “Bloomfield via Fairfield” scene, which was my favorite part in the play that does not involve song, but rivals “Who’s on First” for comedic content. I then watched both auctions, which were for a great cause and my favorite item up for bids was the cast signed bowling ball which was extremely cool! I loved the photo of the cast wearing their “wife beater” t-shirts that actually turned from “one of a kind” into 2/2 after tying bids had the organizers set up another photo shoot because of it’s popularity. A winning bid of $4,500 became “9 large”!!!!!

I really enjoyed Irene’s speech, Charles Alexander’s tribute, David Cace’s introductions and Wanda Libardi’s gift presentations to the cast. After the event ended and we said our goodbyes to those that had to leave immediately, a few of us headed down for an “after-event” gathering at the Atrium Lounge. We had a few more drinks and appetizers while sharing nationwide Jersey Boys news, rush experiences, National Tour casts and shows, and sharing tips and tricks to get those elusive August Wilson tickets.

Time really flew at the “after gathering,” and 9:30 PM suddenly became 2AM, then we all left the hotel for our rooms, home, and in my case, back to JFK….. All in all, it was a “totally mindblowing” Jersey Boys/Four Seasons/Broadway experience and a nice short trip back to the city where I had spent some time as a teenager….. The friendships we all started within two years of the production’s opening night, the formal meetings and introductions at the event and the chance to meet the OBC, Brickman & Elice, plus original Four Seasons up close was something that will remain in my memory for the rest of my life!

“Oh what a night, October 21, 2007″….. Many thanks to you, Susie & Dale Skarl for giving us this forum to discuss “our” musical, otherwise we’d always be the last to know…; Irene & Buz Eizen (super philanthropists and exceptional friends with true hearts of gold…..); Howard Tucker for always sharing his kindness and reporting skills with the fans; the Jersey Boys “East Coast” fanbase for their hospitality and kindness towards this CA Kid; Frank Rovello for providing the World with the official Four Seasons website; Charles Alexander for his expert reporting on all things Four Seasons/Jersey Boys in the Yahoo Group and JB Blog; David Cace with Eisner, LLP for sponsorship and his knowledge of everything Four Seasons; Dodger Theatricals; and BC/EFA.


  1. Mike, it was so nice to meet you too at the event. We didn’t get to talk much…I think everyone was still in state of “shock & awe” after such a wonderful evening, but it was fun to visit afterwards in the lounge at the Marriott…and you’re right…those four and a half hours flew by! I took some pictures of the group and will get them to you. I’m glad you had a memorable trip.

    Comment by LuluThompson — October 31, 2007 @ 10:25 pm

  2. Hey, Mike,

    This event was obviously very fun from my perspective, but sounds incredible from yours. Just think, after I become a “civilian” in just a few short weeks *I* can become a JERSEY BOYS fan, too, and see all these great companies you all follow (including the Broadway company). Can I have a fan club card too?

    Yours always,


    Comment by JLY — October 31, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

  3. Mike, thanks for sharing the event so those of us who couldn’t attend, can enjoy it through your eyes. Glad the night was fun and successful. The East Coast fans are lucky to be able to see the OBC on a regular basis.

    Comment by anne — October 31, 2007 @ 11:39 pm

  4. Mike, what a wonderful chronology. After all our correspondence and e-mails, it was exciting to finally meet you. And indeed you seemed awed and excited by it all, almost as if you were a kid again.

    Also sort of glad you mentioned Brickman & Elice, who are sometimes overlooked. I see Rick at nearly all the shows I’ve attended and at so many of the events as well. He always remembers my name and specifics (we’re both big Bette Davis fans, even more so that our Matt Scott is in “A Catered Affair”), and personifies class.

    Glad your trip out was so fruitful, and looking forward to much more correspondence with you, Mike.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — October 31, 2007 @ 11:43 pm

  5. Wow Mike, I had no idea how much you squeezed into that day. You definitely made the most of your trip. I’d love to see your pictures of all of the marquees. What a great idea. It was great meeting you. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

    Comment by Melissa — November 1, 2007 @ 6:31 am

  6. Mike,

    This was so wonderful to read! So glad you enjoyed everything and had a wonderful time. It’s certainly an evening I will never ever forget!!

    How terrific that JLY responded to your post and that he wants to be a fan too!!! He’s so down to earth!

    All best Mike and hope to see you again sometime soon.


    Comment by Wanda — November 1, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  7. Hey Mike, thanks for helping me to recall the really fun night. It was awesome to see your familiar face there. From Berkley to Broadway, who knew? One of my favorite parts of the evening was the seven of us talking for hours until 2 a.m. Glad you had a great time. I did too! I’m sure I’ll see you at the Curran sometime this month.

    Comment by Lauren — November 1, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

  8. To John: Thanks for the kind words! No matter what, I’ll still follow and support your career, because of how you’ve inspired the fans here and built lasting friendships with them, especially my son Michael III and his budding acting career.

    I’ll definitely keep in touch and will have a surprise in the mail to you from Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, CA, where you helped us in a huge way with “Guys and Dolls”! I have a few more Jersey Boys Fan Club cards left from October 21st too, and will add one to the package as well.

    The Magbaleta Family will always be among your biggest fans! Thanks again and take care!


    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — November 1, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  9. To all my fellow “Fantastic Fans”:
    Thank you for a great evening! After all that walking and exploring NYC/LI, I had no idea what to expect at the Marriott. I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the friends I’ve made in such a short time and valuable sources of Jersey Boys information in person! Also, seeing the entire cast, the guys who “wrote the book” and Four Seasons in attendance was truly “once in a lifetime”.

    If I miss out on Jersey Boys public appearances or if newsflashes about the casts are released and I miss it, it’s comforting to know that I can find out about news I’ve missed by checking the boards and I’ll be sure to find the answers I need.

    I try my best to provide and entertain my fellow fans here with whatever knowledge I can share, and have made many friends along the way. For as long as Jersey Boys is playing, and no matter if our favorite cast members move on to other plays or ventures, I know that we’ll never break the bond, of which I’d be proud to say “we’re as close as family” (Thanks to Rick Elice for that inscription in my Jersey Boys book…..)

    Take care, and I hope to meet up with you all in the future!

    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — November 1, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  10. Mike,
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. It put a smile on my face to go back and reminisce that special night that we all enjoyed so much.
    It was great meeting you and I hope you come back soon to New York and see Jersey Boys on Broadway.
    Please let us know the next time your in town.

    All The Best,

    Comment by Damaris Dugan — November 1, 2007 @ 5:53 pm

  11. Great journalism, Mike. I am not a wonderful writer (I do math) but surrounding myself with the journalistic experts, Howard, Audrey, and you – there is hope that someday I may write also. Good job, Mike.

    See you in SF in December.

    John, you can have all the fan cards you want! IE

    Comment by irene eizen — November 1, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

  12. Haha! JLY wants to become a crazed fan like us! Awesome! Welcome to our world!

    Mike, your report of the evening is wonderful! How I wish I had been able to attend, but thanks for making me feel like I was there!

    Comment by Helen — November 3, 2007 @ 11:06 am

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