Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Broadway's Paul Alexander Nolan On Making His Feinstein's/54 Below Debut This May and The Power of Music in Life

Broadway's Paul Alexander Nolan On Making His Feinstein's/54 Below Debut This May and The Power of Music in Life

Broadway's Paul Alexander Nolan (Escape to Margaritaville, Bright Star, Jesus Christ Superstar, Once) will make his Feinstein's/54 Below debut this May and take audiences on a musical journey -- featuring the iconic influences and some personal favorites, who have made an impact along the way. Incorporating tunes from multiple genres, including pop, rock, folk, bluegrass, and more, Nolan will explore the sounds that have inspired him on stage and in life, while sharing stories.

BroadwayWorld had the chance to catch up with Nolan before his debut about his personal musical influences; what audiences can expect from his performances; and the story behind why he learned to play the guitar!

Congratulations! How does it feel to be making your Feinstein's/54 Below debut?

It's very exciting! This is the first concert that I'm putting together, and it's been a great learning experience. It's been fun to choose the material and songs, and there's the added element of the thrill of a live event where anything can happen!

I'm looking forward to having Carmen [Cusack] and other special guests join me. I will always take any opportunity to share the stage with Carmen.

Awesome! Can you share some of the musical influences who have inspired you?

Even before I was in Once, I was a big fan of Glen Hansard and was greatly inspired by his work and creativity. The list is endless, but others include Queen, Jeff Buckley - if I could sing anyone, it would be Freddie Mercury. I really learned to sing by listening to others and studying their musicianship. When I was a kid, I remember listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack over and over and learning how to sing those songs.

With this concert, I didn't want to cover just one genre, and wanted to delve into different types of influences in the worlds of rock, pop, folk, bluegrass, and more, as well as some crowd favorites! I tend to gravitate toward music that is accessible and fun for audiences to experience.

Most recently, you had the opportunity to work with Jimmy Buffett in Escape to Margaritaville. What surprised you about Jimmy's music?

I really became a fan of Jimmy's music through doing the show. He writes such great tunes and surprises you through the lens in which he filters his music - you can pick up on the longing, self-reflection, and learn how he handles some of the tougher emotions, like sadness or hurt, through songs, like "He Went to Paris." A lot of the lyrics are really poetic.

Right on! Is there a story behind why you learned to play guitar and how long you've been playing?

I actually first learned to play the guitar for my sister's wedding - she got married on a farm in Canada in front of about 40 guests. I was hiking in Spain at the time I received the e-mail, and thought, "I don't play piano, but maybe I can learn something on the guitar." I learned that summer - it was during my time playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar while in Stratford, and I taught myself on my days off.

When I saw Once in 2008, I was really influenced by Glen Hansard and wanted to play more guitar. It's definitely not an easy instrument to learn and takes a lot of practice and dedication. I feel like it's fun to incorporate into something like a cabaret.

What can audiences look forward to for your upcoming debut?

There will be a lot of music over the course of the night and some entertaining storytelling. The name I first thought of when choosing the theme was "Hero's Road Trip." I wanted to create a compelling character arc, centered around an individual finding their way in life and stepping outside of a comfort zone -- whether it's in the context of a relationship or through another life-changing event. I also wanted it to feel like a great playlist that you could use for a road trip - a time where lots of people do their best thinking. Music becomes a huge part of that, in figuring out life's mysteries and growing in our own experiences. I'm excited to have audiences come check it out!

Show dates and times: Fri, May 3: 7 p.m.; Sat, May 4: 7 p.m.; and Tues, May 7: 7 p.m. For more information and to buy tickets, click here: https://54below.com/events/paul-alexander-nolan/

Photo: Courtesy of Feinstein's/54 Below


Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid Cabaret fan in NYC? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.




Photos: Natalie Douglas Celebrates Lena Horne At Birdland! Photo
Birdland presents thirteen-time MAC Award winning singer Natalie Douglas in “To Lena: A Tribute to the Lady and Her Music.”

Tim Connell Returns To Pangea This December With …AND SO IT GOES Photo
Actor-singer-storyteller Tim Connell returns to Pangea for a third time this year with ...and so it goes... on Thursday, December 8 and Saturday, December 17, both at 7 PM. He is joined by his longtime collaborator, a Musical Director James Followell. The show is directed by Steven Petrillo.

Karen Mason to Present Holiday Concert CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! at Birdland in Dec Photo
BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB will present the return of Karen Mason with her concert “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” on Monday, December 19 at 7:00 PM. Mason’s legendary holiday show features unique interpretations of old and new seasonal classics.

Maltby And Shire Revue # 3 Promises A Third Chapter Photo
After groundbreaking and life-changing revues Starting Here, Starting Now and Closer Than Ever, Maltby and Shire have made a start on REVUE #3


From This Author - Courtney Savoia


BWW Album Review: SPACE DOGS Is Far Out!BWW Album Review: SPACE DOGS Is Far Out!
March 8, 2022

SPACE DOGS is the epic new musical, telling the mind-blowing true story of Laika and the Chief Designer — a stray dog and the top-secret Russian scientist, who sent her to space during the Cold War. Written and performed by Broadway’s Van Hughes and Nick Blaemire, this production is equal parts adventure and intrigue, while capturing the depths of human emotion and the immortal friendship between man and dog, as they journey together to the stars.

BWW Album Review: 'The Sunday Set' Will Keep Your Spirits High All WeekBWW Album Review: 'The Sunday Set' Will Keep Your Spirits High All Week
February 22, 2022

CLUB44 RECORDS recently announced the release of The Sunday Set, the new album from Billy Stritch and Jim Caruso – including an entertaining selection of urbane standards, jazz favorites, and clever comedy numbers. The album, recorded live at The Birdland Theater, features vocals from Stritch and Caruso, with Stritch on piano and Steve Doyle on bass, and will keep your spirits high all week!

BWW Album Review: FROZEN Star Samantha Barks Bravely Leads Listeners 'Into the Unknown' With Her New AlbumBWW Album Review: FROZEN Star Samantha Barks Bravely Leads Listeners 'Into the Unknown' With Her New Album
December 28, 2021

Frozen star, Samantha Barks, recently released her latest album, Into the Unknown, under new record label, Westway. The album features selections from a number of contemporary musicals, including Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Jagged Little Pill, Ghost, Mean Girls, Moana, The Greatest Showman, and more.

BWW Album Review: A VERY DARREN CRISSMAS Serves Up the Perfect Cup of Holiday CheerBWW Album Review: A VERY DARREN CRISSMAS Serves Up the Perfect Cup of Holiday Cheer
November 12, 2021

Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild award-winner, and singer-songwriter and activist, who has graced the screen and Broadway stage in popular acts, including Glee, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and more, Darren Criss is ringin’ in the holiday season with a new album! Ron Fair, multi-Grammy nominee and producer of numerous Grammy-winning hits, produces.

BWW Album Review: Scott Alan's 'Nothing More' Celebrates the Joyous, Fulfilling, and Sometimes Messy Parts of FatherhoodBWW Album Review: Scott Alan's 'Nothing More' Celebrates the Joyous, Fulfilling, and Sometimes Messy Parts of Fatherhood
November 1, 2021

American songwriter, Scott Alan, recently released his ninth album, Nothing More, and partnered with musical director, Ben Cohn, on this special recording that serves as a love letter to his daughter, during her first couple years on Earth. Alan has worked with some of the most talented stars of theatre, TV, film, and music.