With the current shutdown of all performance venues in New York, The Boy Band Project has found the perfect solution to keep its popular Sunday afternoon concert, the Boy Band Brunch, scheduled weekly at The Green Room 42, available to audiences everywhere. On March 15, the last Sunday before the mandated closure, the show not only went on, with the observed directives of strictly limited ticketing and spaced seating, but it was also livestreamed on Facebook and Instagram, much to the delight of the group’s superfans, who just can’t get enough of this superhot act.
The high-energy revue of songs, choreography, video projections, and audience interaction – featuring a rotating roster of musical theater stars from the NYC stage covering the biggest hits of the most popular boy bands of the ‘90s and beyond – was streamed again this past Sunday (March 22). And there’s more good news. According to The BBP’s creator, producer, and performer Travis Nesbitt, you can catch another digital installment of a different Boy Band Brunch performance on social media this coming weekend, and on upcoming Sundays, at the regularly scheduled time.
Travis spoke with me – remotely, of course – about how he and the group are dealing with the coronavirus crisis and the resultant hiatus of live shows and large gatherings.
How did you reach the decision to go ahead with the Boy Band Brunch and to livestream the performance?
Travis: It was a really hard decision for me, because my husband and I had relocated to the Poconos – we have a little cabin out there – to get away from the coronavirus situation in the city. Then I got a call from Daniel Dunlow (Program Director of The Green Room 42) saying it’s up to you, but a lot of tickets have been sold and a lot of people are going to be unemployed with the closure, so we went ahead with the show. We already had the holiday show and others on tape, so we taped this one, too, and livestreamed it. There was definitely the feeling of a different atmosphere, but that was the best option, and all of the Boys were completely on board. And we’re all glad that we got to do one more live performance, before everything shut down. Now we want to stream a different one every Sunday; the Boys who are in it will be watching it on social media, responding to comments, and drinking brunch cocktails with our online audience!
What has been the impact of the worldwide cancellations and closures on the upcoming shows and tours you had previously scheduled?
Believe it or not, we were supposed to be doing a tour of The Boy Band Project in China for the entire month of April, including Wuhan, where the pandemic started. Obviously, that’s not going to happen for now. Of course our live Boy Band Brunch shows at The Green Room 42 are on hold till the restrictions are lifted in NYC. We have a few Pride Fests scheduled this summer – one in May, and then NY in June – that are still on the calendar, so we’re waiting to hear if they’ll go ahead as planned. If not, we’re hoping to have the NY festival streamed online, with everyone participating and coming together digitally.
How are you keeping busy and staying fit, since you and many of the other members of The Boy Band Project also provide professional fitness training when you’re not on stage?
I bought some bands and dumbbells online and I’ve been exercising on our deck. I feel very fortunate that I can do that. I’m also taking this opportunity to be productive, teaching myself QuickBooks and looking at the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database to streamline our bookings. And I’m working on a self-quarantine music video with the Boys, with each of us in our own separate spaces. We’ll tape individually, then put together a montage of all of us. We’re hoping to get that done soon.
I know you just lost a friend, NYC legend, and BBP supporter Nashom Wooden (aka drag icon Mona Foot) yesterday to COVID-19. What’s the best thing about continuing with the Boy Band Brunch during this trying period and indefinite pause in live public performances?
The reaction of the fans has been amazing. We got a message from a group of “NJ Brit girls” last Sunday thanking us for bringing a “piece of joy during this difficult and uncertain time.” The message read: “Last year we spent many a happy Sunday watching you in NYC and to be able to reenact that in our homes, with a glass of bubbles and some sing along tunes, was so much fun! Thank you for lifting our spirits, bringing us together, and most of all for sharing The BBP love.” The thing is, it makes us just as happy as the audience, so it’s cathartic. That’s the best thing – to be able to reach out to other people to spread a little fun and happiness while doing what makes us happy. It’s all icing on the cake!
Is there anything you’re enjoying about sheltering in place? What do you most look forward to when the quarantine is lifted?
I’m enjoying spending time with my husband and cooking for him. He’s a senior partner in a law firm, so he works a lot of hours and I don’t always get to see a lot of him. But I miss the gym, and the Boys, and I love my NY life, so I want to go back to that.
Thanks, Travis, to you and the entire team, for giving us something to look forward to on Sundays!
So get ready to mix your favorite champagne cocktails and join in on the remote fun of the Boy Band Brunch again this Sunday. What could be better than having these fabulous multi-talented Boys right there with you at home? It’s virtually unbeatable.