THE DOO WOP PROJECT Brings Their Music to Music City for Shows at City Winery 4/5

THE DOO WOP PROJECT Brings Their Music to Music City for Shows at City Winery 4/5

What with all the creativity being expressed onstage at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre during the run of the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys, it should come as no surprise that imaginations were just as active - and as fertile - backstage. Take for example, the creation of The Doo Wop Project, the six-member enclave of performers that was borne of offstage conversations and considerations among some cast members of the long-running show.

"We had an idea to create an authentic doo-wop group," explains Dominic Scaglione, one of the five singers in The Doo Wop Project, which brings their unique style of music to Nashville this Friday night for two shows at City Winery. "We didn't expect it to have the longevity and the success that it's had, but when you have the best voices we could find from our pool of friends to celebrate classic doo-wop songs and creating new songs..." And to "doo wopify" (that's the technical term for what they do) other tunes - both classic and contemporary - interjects Charl Brown, another singer in the group, The Doo Wop Project's success may well have been a foregone conclusion, even if its creators are loath to admit to such pretensions during the group's formative days

THE DOO WOP PROJECT Brings Their Music to Music City for Shows at City Winery 4/5

Dominic Scaglione

Scaglione, who played Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway for seven years, and Brown, "who among many fabulous things originated the role of Smokey Robinson in Motown: The Musical," last week talked about their upcoming Music City performances even as they prepared to pack up and ship out to Texas for a weekend tour of several stops in the Lone Star State..

But the continuing success of The Doo Wop Project and the response of audiences to their performances continues to inspire the members of the group to bring their unique sounds to cities and venues throughout North America.

"We've gotten to tour the whole country and Canada and at the end of every show, everyone is on their feet," Brown says. "We know we're bringing a lot of memories of good times for our audiences."

Scaglione backs him up, saying, "There's a draw for this style of music" - such a draw, in fact, that while members of The Doo Wop Project were initially surprised by the overwhelming response to their performances, they quickly realized how much the music meant to their legions of fans. "It's a very different style of music that we try to do," he says.

THE DOO WOP PROJECT Brings Their Music to Music City for Shows at City Winery 4/5

Charl Brown

The evolution from castmates in a Broadway musical ("one of the things about being in a Broadway musical is that it has to be your first love," Brown suggests) to co-creators in a live, touring production involving multiple artists, each of whom have distinct personalities and talents to offer, is challenging and inspiring.

"We trade in live music on Broadway," Brown contends. "Our goal was to bring the music we love to performing arts centers all over the country."

Choosing a repertoire - collecting the songs to be included in their live performances - gives each member of The Doo Wop Project an opportunity to do what he does best. "We all grew up with certain types of music," Brown explains. "When we choose our repertoire, we try to look beyond expected, run of the mill songs."

Yet, by applying the magic of do-wop to the unexpected tunes, they are able to "evoke the nostalgia" in such a way that audiences respond vociferously: "People will often say, 'I can't believe I'm hearing this song live.' Nostalgia is one thing that is universal and you can't buy the overwhelming feeling that music can give you."

"We come about choosing the material as a group," Brown says. "We all have different interests, but similar tastes."

It's not unusual, therefore, to have listening parties "during our drives from one show to the next," Scaglione and Brown suggest. "Then we look at the next step - how to 'doo wopify' it."

"Creatively, we do it all ourselves - coming up with harmonies and orchestrations," Brown says. "We'll make adjustments to one another, put our little touches to the music."

THE DOO WOP PROJECT Brings Their Music to Music City for Shows at City Winery 4/5The collaborative process may, in fact, be what keeps the members of The Doo Wop Project always moving forward, looking for new ways, new songs, new cities and venues in which to express themselves.

The Doo Woop Project features Tony-nominated stars of Broadway musicals such as Jersey Boys, Motown: The Musical, A Bronx Tale, Smokey Joe's Cafe and others. Sonny Paladino, whose credits include The Last Ship, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, Billy Elliot, Grease, Mama Mia, Promises, Addams Family and many more, is their musical director.

The show is a "voyage" through the history of Doo Wop and its influence on modern music, from early groups like the Crests and the Belmonts, through R&B, to 'DooWopified' versions of hits by modern artists such as Amy Winehouse and Sam Smith. The show is peppered with stories about each singer's journey through Broadway and beyond, and how they came to love Doo Wop.

"We know each other so well and what we want, there's no lead singer of the group and we know each other's strengths," Scaglione says. "It's sort of amazing - how well we're able to work together - five very strong personalities; we have a shorthand with each other."

"The prerequisite is to not have egos get in the way," he maintains. "The Doo Wop Project is the star of the show."

Nashville's status as Music City has every member of The Do Wop Project looking forward to their two shows at City Winery: "Nashville is a music town and we are straight-up musicians from Broadway," Brown says. "To be among so many musicians is going to feel great!"

What can Nashville audiences expect? "People should be excited for the old-school sounds brought to a new generation and, because of our musicianship, the tone and flavor of our show and our music is modernized, as well," according to Brown.

"Each guy gets a chance to shine creatively," interjects Scaglione. "We each get to talk abut how we've been influenced by our families and our experiences. It's a very personal show. It's also very cool and our audience relates to that."

For tickets to The Doo Wop Project at City Winery Nashville, go to Doors open at 5 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. show (which should run about 90 minutes), with doors open at 8:30 p.m. for the 9:30 p.m. show.

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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis

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