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  • Angela Allyn

Exuberant Jersey Boys at Mercury

Mercury Theater Chicago’s high energy new production of the Jersey Boys: the Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons has just the right zing for Chicago’s crisp spring: it will warm you up and send you out into the night singing. Mercury Theatre is definitely the place to be to revel in the Four Seasons songbook this particular time of the year. 

This 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical and 12th longest running show on Broadway was the first biographical jukebox musical, birthing a genre.  But only music theater devotees care about that: what the average audience member loves about this boys-from-the-bad-streets who get to “live their dreams” tale is the music.  These songs have proved popular and have been covered for generations. Book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice tell the compelling and at the time little known story behind the music and the men who made it.  Dividing the show into actual seasons as sections and letting each member of the quartet share their version of how it all happened gives the plot facets and depth. From a bar band with teenage delinquents, to ex cons making music as a side gig to petty crime, to million record selling musicians who became the soundtrack of a generation, these four boys to men from a New Jersey neighborhood are on a journey, and it’s a vintage Cadillac joy ride to join them. .  

In the intimate Mercury space where every seat is close to the stage, co directors L. Walter Stearns and Brenda Didier create a dynamic entertaining rendition of the show bursting with talent. Christopher Chase Carter’s choreography balances known moves we can see on YouTube with stage-filling dynamite original numbers that make you want to get up and dance with the cast. 

Michael Metcalf’s Frankie Valli captures the unique vocal style and fresh faced earnestness. Adrian Aquilar portrays the machismo and bravado of Four Seasons founder Tommy DeVito. Andrew MacNaughton’s Bob Gaudio is innately likable.  Dan Gold’s strong quiet (well at least until the towels rant) Nick DeVito has a delightful depth. Adam Fane’s Bob Crewe brings the house down. This ensemble is having a ball and it's contagious! This cast will move you, make you laugh, and leave you dancing and singing your way home. 

Special kudos to costume designer Rachel Boylan who captures the delicious period looks, and to wig designer Kevin Barthel who worked overtime to create an army of hair to make characters come into picture perfect period specific beauty. 

Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is playing Wednesdays through Sundays until May 19th 2024 at the Mercury Theater, 3745 North Southport in Chicago.  Don’t run, don’t walk, dance your way to the theatre!  For tickets and information go to

Photo by Liz Lauren

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