Fans hear inside scoop of showbiz from former Jersey Boys

2012-04-27T00:00:00Z 2012-06-04T11:27:05Z Fans hear inside scoop of showbiz from former Jersey BoysBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

MERRILLVILLE | Sandy Ferris, of Crown Point, describes herself as "the  biggest fan of Under the Streetlamp."

"These guys were big when they were in the Broadway show 'Jersey Boys,' but they are only going to get bigger," said Ferris, who was among the nearly 100 guests who were at Star Plaza Theatre on Thursday for a free audience event face-to-face with the new quartet Under the Streetlamp.

"I already have my tickets for the their July concert here at Star Plaza, including my 'meet and greet' ticket option," Ferris said.

The members of Under the Streetlamp, Michael Cunio, Michael Ingersoll, Christopher Kale Jones and Shonn Wiley, all previous Broadway performers in "Jersey Boys," the stage musical about singer Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, led the free "master class" to talk about the roller coaster world of living in the spotlight as entertainers.

The four men return to the region this week for final rehearsals before the May 1 kickoff of their national tour in Los Angeles.

Wiley said not only has he found his career choice takes talent, but also luck and guidance, the latter under the director of Star Plaza Theatre CEO and Talent Buyer Charlie Blum, who is serving as the group's manager.

"Before I was cast in 'Jersey Boys' for the Chicago run of the show, I was starring in 'Dracula the Musical,' and I'm not kidding," Wiley said.

As for Cunio, he said after a successful Broadway run starring in "Hairspray" in 2007, he decided to leave show business and work at a wine bar as a sommelier.

"Then one day, I got this call from a casting agent to audition for 'Jersey Boys,' and it was just meant to be," he said.

"Most of all, I've learned you have to enjoy the journey, which is what Charlie Blum has taught me. He says if you're not enjoying the journey, than you'll also never enjoy the view when you get there."

The group will return to Chicago for two performances May 12 at Park West, where only a few seats remain for the afternoon show. The tour ends with the quartet returning to Star Plaza for a July 14 concert.

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