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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Oh what a night

While Wicked continues its strong run at the Oriental Theater, Jersey Boys is the latest Broadway show to capture the spotlight in Chicago. The story of musical icon Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys has been drawing big crowds since its Chicago debut back in October. And after weeks of seeing the ads for it on the sides of buses and hearing about it on the radio, I finally saw this Tony Award-winning musical last night - from the front row.

Each morning at 10 AM, rush tickets go on sale at the LaSalle Bank Theater box office. Ten front row tickets are available daily, and additional seats throughout the theater may be available from time to time. I didn't know how early I needed to arrive to have a shot at the tickets - but I didn't think I could tolerate standing in the cold for long anyway. I decided to get there around 9:30, figuring if there was already a crowd by that time, then I wasn't meant to have the tickets anyway. But luck was on my side - I was the fourth person in line, which allowed me to buy tickets front row center.

They weren't kidding when they called it the front row - our seats were literally at the edge of the stage. Because of the proximity, we had to crane our necks to see - and we missed out on a little of the action toward the back of the stage. But that didn't matter with a show like Jersey Boys, a story that revolves around the music much more than the visual effects. And being so close, we got to see fine details on the faces of performers which added a new dimension to the show - the fleeting looks of exhaustion after the high energy rendition of December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), the glow of appreciation for the wild applause after the act-closing songs Walk Like a Man and Who Loves You - and Jarrod Spector practically channeling Frankie Valli in the number that brought down the house, Can't Take My Eyes Off You. From the front row, we felt like part of the action, as the story took us from the discovery of Frankie and his trademark falsetto all the way through the group's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A day later, the songs are still in my head.

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