Julia Maish, manager of media relations for Chicago's PBS station WTTW Channel 11, said friends often ask how they can get concert tickets for the new tour of Under the Streetlamp, which she describes as "America's hottest new vocal group."
"My answer's always the same: 'Pick up your telephone and make a pledge,'" Maish said. "And even though seeing the new TV special makes it feel like your right at the concert, it makes you want to see them in person performing all the more."
Maish knows the energy and talent showcased by the group of four singers.
She was at the August concert taping at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. The show was created as a highlight for PBS pledge drives on public television stations around the country.
And as an incentive to make a pledge, TV viewers have the first chance at tickets for upcoming dates in May and July for concerts by Under the Streetlamp at both the Park West in Chicago and also a return engagement at Star Plaza Theatre.
"The Park West concert is May 12 and it a pretty intimate space of just around 400 seats," Maish said.
"We are only allotted the Park West tickets for our Chicago PBS pledge drive. The Star Plaza is much larger, so there are more seats available for the July 14 concert in Merrillville for the Northwest Indiana PBS station's pledge drive. Other pledge gifts that will be available for all of this season's pledge drives are Under the Streetlamp CDs and copies of the pledge concert TV special on DVD."
The airings for the one-hour Star Plaza taped TV special begin 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Lakeshore Public Television WYIN-Channel 56 in Merrillville, leading off a string of additional airings throughout the week and pledge drive campaign. WTTW-Channel 11 PBS station in Chicago will air the same special 6:30 p.m. March 11, with additional repeat airings also to be announced.
Charlie Blum, CEO and talent buyer for Star Plaza Theatre, served as the producer for the TV special and he's also the manager for Under the Streetlamp — the quartet of recent leading cast members of the Tony Award-winning musical "Jersey Boys" who perform classic hits from the American radio songbook and are described as having "an irresistible rapport of a modern day Rat Pack."
Blum and his Star Productions are producing the group's new national concert tour, which kicks off May 1 in Los Angeles.
Their song range includes doo-wop, Motown, old time Rock ‘n' Roll and favorite songs from The Drifters, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Four Seasons and many others.
The members of "Under the Streetlamp" are Michael Cunio, Michael Ingersoll, Christopher Kale Jones and Shonn Wiley.
"This is exciting for not only for us at Star Plaza, but also for our audience members who attended the taping," Blum said. "The camera pans out in the audience quite often, so there will be a lot of familiar faces on camera seen over and over again during PBS pledge drive month."
The experience of taping a TV special was exciting for the members of Under the Streetlamp.
"This was something that we talked about for some time, and it's a perfect fit," said Ingersoll, who starred as Nick Massi of the Four Seasons in "Jersey Boys" for three years.
"Each of us played different roles in 'Jersey Boys,' but even more importantly, we all have a different talent area for solo performance. Sharing the stage together gives the audience something unique because of what each of us brings."
For more information on the group, visit underthestreetlamp.com.