January 9, 2010

Thank You to Jersey Boys Chicago–Share Your Favorite JB Chicago Memories!

January 9th, 2010

JB Chicago Bank of America Theatre

As we all know, JERSEY BOYS Chicago will end its phenomenal run tomorrow, January 10, 2010 at the Bank of America Theatre. At its closing, the show will have played 27 months — a total of 951 performances — and been seen by 1.3 million patrons.

Chicago has always been my kind of town, but our visit to JERSEY BOYS in July of last year was a visit like no other, thanks to the cast, the crew, and four magical times seeing the show! As the show takes its final bow on Sunday, we wanted to send our appreciation to publicist Kent McIngvale for arranging the interviews; to stage manager Larry Baker for the fantastic royal treatment behind the scenes at the Bank of America Theatre; and to the entire cast for their incredible welcoming during our JBB EXCLUSIVE Interviews!

So many JB Chicago memories! We’re not exaggerating when we said we “rediscovered” JERSEY BOYS in Chicago–including our two RUSH performances, where we not only had an opportunity to get up close and personal to the actors, but also had the chance to see all of the little nuances going up on the stage, along with a few smiles, nods, and winks from cast members!

We wish this fabulous cast, the fantastic band, the hard-working crew, and stage manager Larry Baker all the best in their future endeavors and thank you ALL for some of the most memorable on-stage and off-stage experiences for Jersey Boys Blog!

We would love for Jersey Boys Blog readers to share your JERSEY BOYS Chicago memories! Anything you’d like to share–your experiences at the theatre, the performances, your well wishes to the cast and crew, etc. You can leave a comment below or feel free to click on the Contact link! We’d love to hear from you!


  1. Almost too many great moments to list — out of 43 total Jersey Boys shows, 28 were in Chicago. First to the amazing cast and crew for the top notch performances, seen from the balcony, from the last row, from the first row. To the five amazing performers I’ve seen in Chicago playing Frankie Valli in such outstanding ways (Jarrod Spector, John Michael Dias, Dominic Scaglione Jr., Cory Grant, and Steven Goldsmith) — and each so gracious in after show conversations. To Broadway in Chicago for special events like Heart Month and the wonderful first year anniversary celebration.

    But the best: On April 18, 2009, lunch with Frankie Valli (and Dominic, Michael Ingersoll, Shonn Wiley, and Brian McElroy), followed by the matinee performance with John Michael Dias, followed by Frankie Valli on Saturday night — with John Michael in the audience. After the concert, I asked John Michael for his reaction, he responded “Unbelievable, I just sang those songs this afternoon.” “Oh what a day – Oh, what a night!”

    Comment by Jim Schreier — January 9, 2010 @ 8:10 am

  2. I’m so moved by Jim Schreier’s comment, and all the good wishes that’ve come my way. I think that’s the great moment for me and always will be – that somehow I was lucky enough to be able to take part in something that has come to mean so much to so many.

    I remember walking on stage with Bob and Frankie in April 07 to announce what we thought would be a ten-week run. I remember watching the cast rehearse on 42nd St in NY. I remember the Dodgers agreeing to let Ingersoll switch from the tour to the Chi company so he could fulfill his destiny as local hero. I remember shooting press footage with the Chicago cast in San Francisco in July 07, and celebrating their 100th perf at the Curran. I remember breakfasts with Larry Baker in NY, whenever he came into town to collect a certificate attesting to the amazing fund-raising this company has done over the years. I remember each of the six amazing Frankies (see Schreier above plus John Michael Coppola), plus Jeremy Kushnier, Drew Gehling, Bryan McElroy, too. I remember Bill Schaeffer, the company manager, running in the Chi marathon. I remember the opening night in 2007, and celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday the same weekend with my folks in Chi. I remember Bob and Frankie joining us for breakfast at the hotel. I can tell you, being in Chicago for these past couple of months, that the city is really having a hard time saying goodbye, which is very moving for all of us. I remember it all. And I always will. Thanks, guys! Family is everything.

    Comment by Rick Elice — January 9, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  3. I could write a book, having had so many wonderful experiences attending the show for the past 2+ years, yet at the same time, I’m at a loss for words. Where do I begin? How can I convey what I feel? I want to say a huge thank you to the entire cast and crew for the gift of being able to come to the show and, for over two hours, forget about all of life’s little stresses, and become completely immersed in the show, the music, and the energy and excitement. Being able to have shared this with my daughter, Amy, has been an added bonus. She’s 21 and I’m 54, and we both love the music and appreciate the story. We’ve been fortunate to meet several cast members and they have all been very kind. A special thank you, though, to Michael Ingersoll, who has been there since the beginning and has been especially gracious. All the best to everyone involved and much success in the future.

    Comment by Rose — January 9, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  4. ….and, I have to add, Rick’s post brought me to tears!

    Comment by Rose — January 9, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  5. All good things must come to an end at some point but I am having a very difficult time saying goodbye to this show. I was there opening night in Oct. 07 and will be at the last performance tomorrow and was there 15 times in between. I’m not a regular theatre goer but this was truly a unique experience that kept bringing me back and everytime I went back, I brought someone else with me demanding that they experience the joy I did. All of them did, every last one from my 14 year old son to my parents. Meeting my favorite cast member Michael Ingersoll at a radio promotion at my local Jewel Food Store was probably the highlight of my Jersey Boy experience. He was gracious, humble but most of all sincere. I can’t express enough how much I admire him most of all because of his dedication to the Chicago company “from day one my friend.” I wish all the cast and crew continued success in all they do…Chicago won’t be the same without them.

    Comment by Jennifer — January 9, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  6. I’m not from Chicago, my life doesn’t revolve around Chicago, I don’t give a f**k about Chicago. JUST KIDDING!! But as a native and lifelong Los Angeleno I would not be visiting the Windy City as frequently as I do were it not for the fact that a branch of my family has settled there. Seeing Jersey Boys in Chicago three times during my ’08 and ’09 family visits, and bringing along relatives who hadn’t seen the show, has been a wonderful added plus, and I’m sorry to see it leave.

    What have I liked about the Chicago JB experience? For me it has been the opportunity to see performances by actors I hadn’t seen before, along with the fun (though I am generally not the stage door type) of trying to grab an autograph or a pic with them after the show and giving my sons the opprtunity to meet the players as well (at ages 13 and 16 they are up to four Frankies each so sometimes I have to go alone just to maintain my winning edge.)

    But the greatest thing about seeing the show in Chicago for me was a realization that percolated up into my consciousness when I was there last month: There is a special feeling of comfort that comes from seeing the show away from home. It is a feeling felt in the fifteen or twenty minutes before the show starts, seeing the scaffolding and city scene on stage waiting, knowing what is to follow, and knowing it is something you know and love. I enjoy feeling the buzz of the audience around me, wondering how many are first-timers and how many may have rotated through the revolving door of the Elice-Brickman Academy of the Arts before. You know that in moments when the opening chords of C’est Soiree La ring out, you will have a smile on your face you cannot wipe off. You can be thousands of miles from where you live, but it is a feeling of belonging, of comfort, of familiarity, of warmth. As exceedingly hokey as this sounds, you know you are home.

    I have not seen the show yet in it’s more exotic locales of Toronto, London, Melbourne, or that strangest of all places to a Californian, New York. But I know if I get there, I will surely chase the music, trying to get – well, you know the rest.

    Comment by stubbleyou — January 9, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

  7. Ditto to all of the above comments. I’ve only seen it 10 times and today will be the 11th – NOT ENOUGH! Did the Frankie Valli lunch, afternoon matinee and Valli concert at night also – one of the best days in my life – including Dick Biondi! Thank you Chicago Jersey Boys for all the joy you brought us, especially at the Italian Fests. I cannot tell you how upset I am you are leaving and shame on Chicago for not keeping you guys here. This is one of Chicago’s greatest losses ever – even more than the Olympics! I’m sure that all the guys will make it big in whatever they pursue and we wish them nothing but the best. I’m already in tears and it’s not even noon! Anyway, thank you again for all the joy you have brought us.

    I would especially like to thank Rick Elice for putting such a terrific “best seller” together. Hope to meet you some day.

    Comment by Mitzi Opon — January 10, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

  8. I have so many great memories of the Chicago cast. For me it all started at the Curran in SF. Seeing Jarrod, Drew, Michael and Jeremy perform for the first time was something I won’t forget. I remember being so excited to see them perform on the Emmy’s. I remember the buzz and excitement of the cast and crew on their last night in SF knowing that they were opening in Chicago a short time later.

    My mom and I made a few trips to Chicago just to see the guys & gals again. One of my favorite JB memories was celebrating my birthday in Chicago in 2008. It was below freezing outside but we didn’t realize it because we were so excited to be there. We met the truly kind John Michael Coppola who gave me the greatest birthday gift-a tour after the show. I will never forget his kindness or that trip.

    Thank you and congratulations to all the past and present cast and crew of the Chicago cast! You will all be missed dearly.

    Krystal Thomsen

    Comment by Krystal — January 10, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

  9. Having sat in the rush seats many times at The Curran and watched this cast before they ventured to Chicago, NO ONE in San Francisco wanted them to leave. They were so talented, fun, friendly and accomodating.
    My favorite memory: I walked to the BART station after one performance and as I sat down, a young man walked towards me. It was Drew Gehling. I blurted out “Great show!” “Thanks”, he said and proceeded to sit across from me and chat. I mentioned he had been out the previous week and Ryan Quinn West did a great job. He said “You can tell him yourself, he’s sitting behind you.” I turned around and said hello and then saw the “stage door shy” Jeremy Kushnier behind him so I finally got to tell him how much I enjoyed his Tommy DeVito. That was one time I did not mind riding BART!!
    I was forunate to see them 3 times in Chicago and was completely hooked all over again. Steve says it best, that increased heart beat when the opening bars of Ces Soiree La begins and we start the rhythmic clapping getting the audience to join in to begin this incredible emotional roller coaster we call Jersey Boys. A special treat was planning our trip to also see Michael Ingersoll’s one man show. A small intimate theater setting with Michael center stage singing songs and telling the stories of his his journey to Jersey Boys. Near the end of his performance, he breaks out into a Jersey Boys tune and Jarrod Spector stands up in the back of the audience and says “you can’t sing that, that’s my song”. Then Drew and John Hickman stand up to protest also. The audience went CRAZY. I thought I was at a Beatles concert. Then they joined Michael on stage for two songs. I will never forget that night. We couldn’t even see the cast members in the lobby after the show. They were mobbed and had to leave out a side door. Michael stayed, though, and was gracious and patient with all of taking pictures and chatting.

    Thanks for the memories Chicago cast. I love you all.


    Comment by Linda — January 10, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

  10. I have gotten rush tickets 6 times for the Jersey Boys Chicago in the past year since I first saw it last February. I first saw the show on a Tuesday evening and by fluke, the alternate Frankie, John Michael Dias was playing the role since the regular Frankie had called out that night. Since first seeing him that “fateful night” as I like to call it I have attended Wednesday and Saturday matinees specifically to see him because I was so inspired and fell in love with his voice and him as a performer. Michael Ingersoll has also been so sincere and wonderful to us after each performance as well as blowing us away onstage of course!

    I attended JMD’s last performance as Frankie yesterday afternoon and was moved to tears numerous times as was the whole cast onstage. I crave for what this company has onstage together and nothing brings me pure joy like this show. I also saw Steven Goldsmith play Frankie one afternoon when John was sick and he was fantastic, as well as always being brilliant in the role of Joey.

    Honestly, I love everything about it and can’t believe I won’t be making the drive up from central IL to see it again! I wish them all the best and cannot wait to see what each of them do next!!!

    Comment by Kelsey — January 10, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

  11. I remember their start in SF when they were the SF/Zephyr/2nd Nat’l Tour, or whatever the f**k they were called (but not the Andrews Sisters)… Seeing the cast members in the neighborhood out of character and as civvies, meeting them at public appearances, Jarrod pulling on his tongue at a busy intersection, chatting with John Michael Coppola in the lobby before he went in to critique the finale as dance captain, always bugging Rashad and congratulating his numerous performances we watched, Drew with his dinner on the run rushing to the Curran, Jeremy with his cool “RENT” personna before taking on Tommy DeVito’s onstage character, getting invited backstage by Craig Laurie, the appearance of Frankie Valli, meeting the rest of the lifelong JB fans, attending a performance with Irene & Buz Eizen and seeing Jarrod/Rashad/Craig acknowledge us during the performance and stage door meetings with our “famiglia”. Oh what a run! Hope to see my friends in JB or future gigs!

    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — January 10, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

  12. I saw this cast only once, in May ’09, on a trip to visit a friend who lives in Chicago. It is always a special treat to take people to see Jersey Boys for the first time and to watch their reactions and enthusiasm. The cast was fabulous and it was a great performance. The fans who have shared their memories here illustrate how much this show is universally loved and how hard it is to say goodbye to your favourite cast. I know I’ll feel as you do now when JB Toronto closes,(although I hope that won’t be for a long time). My thanks to the Chicago cast and crew for an amazing evening! Great futures for everyone, I’m sure.

    Comment by JS — January 10, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  13. I love you Zephyr folks.

    Comment by Leanna — January 10, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  14. Despite the strong emotions I felt earlier this afternoon at the final performance, I think it still has yet to hit me that this remarkable run is over. I had the pleasure of seeing the show here in Chicago 16 times, today included, and as everyone else has said, that’s still not enough! It would be so hard to pinpoint a specific moment that sticks out, but the feeling I got before, during, and after every performance was always the same. This show was where I went when maybe life wasn’t going all that great or I just needed a pick-me-up. Jersey Boys did that for me, time and time again. I could always rely on this show to raise my spirits so that’s where I would constantly go when I needed that. It has the incredible ability to make you feel good about yourself and life! A lot of that is attributed to the amazingly talented cast we were blessed to have. Thank you for the last two and a half years, and best of luck to everyone.

    Comment by Laura — January 10, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  15. The last show in Chicago was more than memorable – it was their best! They all outdid themselves. I cried before I got there, during and still tearful. Thank you guys for being so personable after the show and taking time with your many fans and relatives. Thank you Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman for putting together the “Best Musical Ever”. And thank you for your “closing act”. Come back soon!

    Comment by Mitzi Opon — January 10, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

  16. The entire cast of Jersey Boys has been a blessing to the people of Chicago. Not only did they put copious amounts of energy into each show, they also put an equal amount of time and energy into charity work, fund-raising, and creating special and unique moments for countless people. My best memory of the cast of Jersey Boys is when they invited me back stage about a week after my husband passed away and sang some beautiful songs for me, including a JB style rendition of Happy Birthday, (it was a day I had overlooked since it was 2 days after my world fell apart). The cast and the production will be missed by thousands of people…Thank you for the special magic you brought to our city and good luck to all of you.

    Comment by Cindy Clenard — January 11, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

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