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BWW Interview: John Lloyd Young Shares Details About Upcoming Fan-Request Concert at The Space!

After the concert, fans can tune in for a special, bonus post-show where John Lloyd Young and Faragher will workshop songs sent in by-request, never before sung by Young!

BWW Interview: John Lloyd Young Shares Details About Upcoming Fan-Request Concert at The Space!

The incomparable John Lloyd Young is back at The Space in Las Vegas for a brand new concert, this time with songs chosen entirely by his fans! Join John Lloyd Young and his music director, Tommy Faragher, on Saturday, May 1st to hear R&B tunes, Broadway classics and more.

After the concert, fans can tune in for a special, bonus post-show where John Lloyd Young and Faragher will workshop songs sent in by-request that have never before been sung by Young!

Purchase tickets from BroadwayWorld Events here!

We spoke with John Lloyd Young about the process of putting this concert together, what we can expect to hear and more!

How does it feel to return to The Space for another livestream concert?

It's really been a great lifeline for me, my music director, Tommy Faragher, and The Space itself to be able to do these livestreams and to be able to actually sell tickets and engage with the audience. We haven't had to lose momentum with our followers because regardless of where they are in the country or in the world, we've been able to get together, and it's almost like sitting around the fireplace, spending some time together, spaced out every six weeks or so. So, we've had something to look forward to through a lot of this pandemic. And I've said it before, The Space is our creative home away from home.

How were the songs chosen for this concert?

This one was all request. And this is the first time I've ever done something like this in the years and years I've been doing solo concerts. So, we put out feelers to the followers and ticket holders on my fan page on Facebook, 'John Lloyd Young Friends', and did a solicitation for song suggestions. My meet and greets before the pandemic were really popular, sometimes they would last as long as the concert itself, so in order to not lose the meet and greet feeling, we've been doing a virtual after party. And every time it's something different.

So, for Valentine's Day, for example, I actually literally took phone calls from fans and sat down at a little table with a tablecloth and a bottle of wine and acted like I was on speed dates with people for five minute each. It was really fun. Other after parties we've done have been a combination of Q&As, I've workshopped some songs, or sang some bonus material. This time, the first part of the concert part of the program is going to be all requests that came in from people, and that will be a full concert. And those will be requests of songs that people know that I do anyway. It was really interesting to see what favorites people had, and they weren't always what I expected they would be. So that will be all chosen by the fans and followers.

And then the second half, the after party, Tommy and I have reserved that time for brand new songs that we don't do that came up in these requests. So, we're going to workshop them in real time in front of a virtual audience. Those are interesting suggestions. Tommy and I are excited to do that because they could become regular parts of my repertoire. We'll see!

Of your go-to songs, which ones did end up being the most popular that people requested?

What we did was we asked people to choose two songs that are from my regular repertoire, your top favorites, and two songs you've never heard me sing before. And I am so surprised that no one was asking for Jersey Boys songs! Those were not the top of their list, which is gratifying for me to know, finally, after all these years of doing concerts on my own, that other songs that I've chosen, or original songs I've written with Tommy, are people's favorites.

Early on when I started doing concerts, right after the movie came out, I was a little bit rebellious at that point and I was like, "I've gotta not do Jersey Boys songs, I've been doing these for eight years, am I going to do that for the rest of my life? Just sing Jersey Boys songs?" So, I was rebelling, and there were certain sets that I did that had not one song at all. And I realized after the Jersey Boys movie that there were people who came because they loved the movie or they saw the show and they wanted to hear at least one or two songs, and I wasn't doing them at all, and so some people were alienated. Almost like, imagine Patti LuPone doing a concert and not singing 'Don't Cry for me Argentina', you're going to be disappointed no matter how great she is, you want to hear her sing the songs she's famous for. So, I learned that lesson the hard way when I started rebelling and not singing Jersey Boys songs.

But, what's really surprising me, and this is years later, is that I became aligned with certain other songs. My first solo album that I recorded a long time ago, that was released in 2014, there are songs on there that are not Broadway or Jersey Boys songs, for example, Unchained Melody was one of the biggest requests for this one. That's not my song, and somehow with The Audience (i)'ve gathered over the years that's the song they don't want me not to sing. So it's interesting to see there are interpretations of songs that I didn't do on Broadway that people really want me to do. It's actually kind of a bright light for the future, I'm relieved to know that I can take off the Jersey Boys straightjacket once and a while and still be viable and entertaining.

And for the requests that came in of songs that you have never sung before, are there any songs in that list that you were like, "Oh my god, I can't believe they want to hear me sing this?" or "How am I going to sound?" Anything you're nervous to sing?

I don't want to give away which ones I'm doing because I want the second half to be a surprise. But let me tell you some song requests that I just think are funny or great. And I may or may not do these, the songs that I'm mentioning to you, but they are songs people want to hear me sing. 'Being Alive' from Company is a Broadway song that people requested and I thought, "Oh that's interesting." Phil Collins' 'Against All Odds'. I don't know if I'll do that one! Elvis, 'If I Can Dream'. There were actually a lot of Elvis songs. There was a Sondheim song that I did years ago at a cabaret, and I guess there's a grainy video of that on YouTube, I think it was cut from Company. Some LeAnne Rimes, I was surprised to see that. There are some Frankie Valli songs that I have never sung before, and that I might do. John Denver, Bruno Mars, Jonny Mathis, these are the artists that showed up on my request list. So, we'll do probably half a dozen, we'll do a Q&A, it's basically going to be like inviting the audience into a studio session.

What are you most looking forward to with getting back on stage to perform at The Space?

You know how when you need to get across a river, and there are stones across the pond and across the brook, and you step from one stone to the next? These shows at The Space have been like stepping across those stones to get to the other side of the river of COVID. Each one is a way to touch down with the audience in the absence of... because I do a lot of dates usually all around the country in different places, and I haven't been able to because of COVID, none of us have. But this I have been able to do because it's a short road trip for me to get to Las Vegas, and I can socially distance there, I stay in one of those timeshare apartments so you don't even have to be in an elevator with other people, it's like an apartment, it has its own kitchen... Tommy and I both have separate apartments, we drive to the place separately, do our soundcheck with masks, it's been very safe.

It's been an artistic place to keep going and not have to not perform for a year, it's been every month or so we have a performance. On the other side of this, which looks like it's going to happen, we'll have not lost any of our skill or enthusiasm. Another saving grace in having these little events spaced out during this pandemic is that it's kept me from doing too much emotional eating because I've been like, "Oh, I have to get on stage, I can't look like a bloated, depressed, overweight COVID guy!"

Would you be able to tell me a little bit about what you have planned in terms of future performances? Concerts that you're trying to plan as things open up?

I also do livestreams from home at the Feinstein's in LA, so I'll do one the first week of June, I haven't set the date yet, but I do those too. I've got some sort of performance once a month that's livestreamed. So, this next one is at The Space, the one after that will be at Feinstein's in LA, Feinstein's at Vitello's. I've got dates planned at Feinstein's in New York, 54 below, which is a place I play regularly in normal times. And this will be the second postponement of dates I've had there, COVID caused us to postpone. That's in January.

I have a concert that was planned for White Plains that was postponed a couple of times, and I think it's going to happen at the end of August. And there's a new Feinstein's club in Indiana that asked me a couple of times, I think they're having a grand opening with Michael [Feinstein] himself. He and some other people are opening the club there soon and I already put that off twice, I'm maybe looking at end of June. So, for me, I think the first performance with people actually in the room in a semi-normal way might be June. I'm looking forward to getting out to some of those things again.

Little by little things are coming back and I'm excited about being able to have that rapport with the audience. It's been fun to do it through the camera to people sitting at home, which, I've done some work in my career on camera, I like it, but there's nothing like the live room because it's so spontaneous and you have to go with what you're getting from the audience. I'm looking forward to that communion, which we've all sorely missed. Even for a classic introvert like me this is too much. I'm eager to get out amongst humanity again.

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