In Part 1 of a series of interviews with the soloists of this Saturday’s The S* Show: Sinatra, Sondheim, and Streisand? performed by The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC Meet JJ Vera.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell us how long have you been in the Gay Men’s Chorus. What are some of your fondest memories of GMCW shows you have been in? How has being in the Chorus made you a better singer and person?
JJ: Hello! My name is JJ and I have been singing with GMCW for about a year now. I have so many cherished memories in my short time with the chorus, but my fondest memory has to be singing my first solo in a quintet arrangement of ‘Not My Father’s Son’ from Kinky Boots for our Summer Show Born This Way. It may be the fondest memory of my entire life. I’m a better vocalist because of the experience GMCW has granted me, but more importantly, it has humbled me a a person. I never forget that I get to do what I love because GMCW has given me a platform to grow and express myself the way I know best.
In 5 words or less how would you describe each one:
Sinatra – Old Blue Eyes was legendary and effortless.
Sondheim – Pinnacle of Broadway and musical theatre. A visionary.
Streisand – A revelation of stage and screen. The truest personification of Diva.
Tell us about your solos and why you love the songs and what the songs means to you.
I’ll be singing two songs.”Someone To Watch Over Me,” which is traditionally sung by women, has also been sung by Sinatra and his version alone has changed the entire context of the song for me. It’s a reminder that even those that use male pronouns can still be fragile; submissive beings that sometimes need to be saved, too. My other song is “I’ve Got a Crush On You” – a Sinatra/Streisand duet with the incomparable Justin Ritchie. Nothing makes the bees buzz more than that new-crush feeling.
Why do you think Sondheim, Sinatra, and Streisand are so popular within the Gay community?
I like to think the Gay community just loves to be dazzled. These three legends embody the showmanship, star-quality and emotional bravery that we fawn over. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that these singers/ performers/ composers exhibit a kind of strength, passion, and rawness that I can relate to.
What is your favorite Sinatra, Sondheim and Streisand song that you are not singing and why?
Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’ is fantastic because of the vivacity Paul Negron brings to an already energetic song.
Sondheim and Streisand’s ‘Not While I’m Around’ is an all around amazing rendition simply because Rob Finn makes you hear the song through his truths and it blows me away every time.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing The S Show: Sinatra, Sondheim, and Streisand?
I don’t want our audience to feel like they simply witnessed covers of these famous songs, I want them to feel the narrative attached to each rendition. Each soloist sings with heart that re-interprets each and every piece to a whole new level.
The S* Show: Sinatra, Sondheim, and Streisand? will be performed at 5 PM and 8 PM (This performance is SOLD OUT) by The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, (GMCW) on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Sprenger Theatre – 1333 H Street NE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call the Box Office at (202) 399-7993, or purchase them online.
Meet Soloist JJ Vera of The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s ‘The ‘S Show’ Playing This Saturday at 5 & 8 PM at Atlas.
Meet Soloist Paul Negron of The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s ‘The S Show’ Playing This Saturday at 5 & 8 PM at Atlas