OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Charlie Blum inks deal to bring Frankie Valli back to Chicago Theatre

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-04-15T00:00:00Z 2013-04-15T11:03:04Z OFFBEAT: Charlie Blum inks deal to bring Frankie Valli back to Chicago TheatreBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

If you've never seen the legendary Frankie Valli of Four Seasons fame perform in concert, you're lucky Charlie Blum, president, CEO and talent buyer for the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, is helping assure Valli doesn't utter the word "retirement."

Valli, who will turn 79 on May 3, sold out The Chicago Theatre last June when Blum convinced him to return to the Windy City for one exclusive concert.

Amazed by the support of adoring fans of all ages, Valli has agreed to do a national tour including select cities, with Blum and his Star Productions securing the one-night Chicago concert for 8 p.m. Oct. 5 back at the beautiful Chicago Theatre. Tickets just went on sale over the weekend and are priced at $73.50, $83.50 and $103.50, and are available at The Chicago Theatre box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, (800) 745-3000 or thechicagotheatre.com.

Of course, one of the reasons so many audiences of a new generation are discovering Valli's lasting talent is not just because of his career performing with the Four Seasons, but also the overwhelming success of the Tony Award winning musical "Jersey Boys," which chronicles the life of Valli and the Four Seasons and features all of their greatest hits. These songs are the unforgettable tunes like "Sherry," "Walk Like A Man," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Rag Doll," "December '63 - Oh What A Night," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," and of course, "Grease." Valli has sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Blum once told me a very interesting "insider rule" he has spent the last 20 years obeying.

"If you book shows for your own personal taste, you'll go broke," Blum said. "But Frankie Valli is proof that every rule is meant to be broken."

It was in April 2007, Blum realized just how important it is to follow instincts. That was when, for the first time, he booked the cavernous Chicago Theatre as a venue to present Valli in concert. Prior to that, the last time he'd booked Valli was for an October 1997 sold-out show at Star Plaza Theatre featuring the late, great comic Soupy Sales as part of a double bill. So he wasn't sure what the box office response would be. Six years later, he's still booking Valli and selling out performance spaces like The Chicago Theatre, which has 3,800 seats, and Star Plaza, which is just a little under, at 3,400.

"Whenever you bring Valli to town, there's always standing-room-only fans waiting for tickets," Blum said.

In our previous interviews, Valli told me he loves spending time in Chicago, because he considers it "the city that helped to get our footing in the music business," and emphasizes the group's two earliest record labels were based in Chicago.

He said it was radio air play from disc jockeys like Dick Biondi that helped Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons rise to fame, starting in the Midwest and then spreading to both coasts.

Blum's other connection to Valli's career and the Broadway success of "Jersey Boys," is his creation in 2011 and management of the popular singing group sensation Under the Streetlamp, starring recent leading cast members of "Jersey Boys."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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