BWW Q&A: The Doo Wop Project of The Doo Wop Project at Toronto Symphony Orchestra

October 3rd and 4th, 2023.

By: Sep. 12, 2023
BWW Q&A: The Doo Wop Project of The Doo Wop Project at Toronto Symphony Orchestra

The Doo Wop Project pays homage to the roots of group singing and celebrates the legacy of African American harmonies that laid the foundation for American pop and rock. Tracing back to the early days of tight harmonies on inner-city street corners, this extraordinary show has been embraced by audiences worldwide for its authenticity and vocal excellence. Featuring stars of Broadway’s smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, The Doo Wop Project recreates—and in some cases entirely reimagines—many of the greatest American songs of all time.

Dominic Nolfi, a San Francisco native, discovered his passion for performing at a young age and honed his craft at the renowned American Conservatory Theater. He later studied voice at the San Francisco Conservatory and attended the Boston Conservatory on scholarship where he graduated with a BFA in theater. His Broadway credits include Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale, Motown: The Musical, and the GRAMMY® Award–winning Jersey Boys. Nicholas Ward is honored to be joining the Doo Wop Family. Recent Broadway credits include The Music Man (2022 Revival) where he played Oliver Hix. Past credits include The Lion King (Mufasa), Frozen, (OBC-King Agnarr), In Transit (OBC-Chris), On The Town (Workman, Miss Turnstile’s Announcer). Nicholas has also had the great pleasure of performing at New York City Center Encores! and at the Lincoln Center.

Jesse Nager starred as Smokey Robinson in the Broadway revival of Motown: The Musical. He was also featured in the original New York productions of Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Scandalous, Good Vibrations, and Fame! He has performed with Mariah Carey and Shania Twain at Madison Square Garden and his vocals have been heard on both seasons of NBC’s Smash as well as the movie Hairspray.

John Michael Dias, originally from Tiverton, RI, earned a BFA in musical theatre from the Boston Conservatory. He made a significant impact as Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons in the smash hit Jersey Boys, both on Broadway and in national tours. Dias’s portrayal of Neil Sedaka in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical garnered him widespread acclaim. His solo album, Write This Way, showcases his intimate takes on Broadway and pop favourites.

Russell Fischer was cast in the company of Jersey Boys on his 22nd birthday, marking his Broadway début. Fischer starred in the second national tour of Big The Musical. Credits include Baby Fat: Act 1—A Rock Opera at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club; Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Music Man at Chautauqua Opera; and the American première of Children of Eden at Paper Mill Playhouse.

The group collectively contributed to the answers below.

What inspired the creation of The Doo Wop Project and how does it reflect the history of African American harmonies?

The DWP was created back stage at the August Wilson Theatre during the Tony winning run of Jersey Boys. The guys and I were inspired by the early group singing pioneered by African Americans and subsequently copied by other inner city ethnic groups. Many of these groups were multicultural such as the Crests and the Del Vikings. We knew there was an audience that wanted to hear these songs live and we felt a desire to carry on the American legacy that is “doo Wop singing”.

Can you talk about the process of recreating and reimagining some of the greatest American songs of all time?

There’s so many wonderful “oldies” to choose from so we chose songs we all connected with. Some of us have strong family connections to certain songs or grew up watching shows and movies that featured these tunes. Recreating those harmonies has brought us a lot of joy and satisfaction. Singing in five part harmony is really a lot of fun.

Can you discuss the significance of The Doo Wop Project making its debut in Toronto?

It was always a group goal to work with The Toronto Symphony. Toronto is obviously a first class city and so is their Symphony. We’re thrilled to be working with Conductor Steven Reineke as well. We’re stoked!

How does performing with an orchestra enhance the experience of The Doo Wop Project's performances and what challenges does it present?

Performing with a Symphony is always a powerful rush. That being said there’s a lot of coordination that goes into pulling off a 90 min symphony show. We actually only get one rehearsal. The orchestra adds so much to these relatively simple songs but bringing everyone in and out of these songs together is a feat. It takes a lot of silent communication between the conductor, our md, the orchestra and ourselves. It’s well worth it though. The finished product always goes over well.

What is everyone's favorite song to perform, and why?

I can tell you what everyone’s least favorite song is….”The Angles Listened In” the back up vocals are tough!

Why should Toronto audiences come and see The Doo Wop Project?

Toronto audiences should come and see The Doo Wop Project because where else can you see five Broadway vets strut their stuff with a major symphony orchestra? Come experience the Bop! We won’t disappoint!


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