On Sunday night, August 22, The Boy Band Project – the award-winning group of rotating musical-theater stars from on and off Broadway, recreating, reimagining, and revitalizing the sound, moves, and heat of the boy-band phenomenon of the 1990s and beyond – will make its debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Created, produced, and led by Travis Nesbitt (Altar Boyz; The Producers), the act combines The BBP’s covers of the greatest hits of the genre (including favorites by NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Jonas Brothers, Boyz II Men, Hanson, One Direction, 98 Degrees, O-Town, and more) with their own original songs, videos, parodic humor, steaming good looks, and Broadway quality vocals and choreography that are sure to “rock your body right.”
The Boys have been seen all over the world, opening for Todrick Hall on his 2019 Haus Party Tour, appearing on Good Morning America, headlining at NYC’s The Green Room 42, the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and The O2 Academy in London, at annual Pride festivals in Provincetown and DC, on Atlantis Cruises, in Puerto Vallarta, and at other top destinations and nightspots. And later this month, Feinstein’s/54 Below – “Broadway’s living room” – will be added to that impressive list.
I had the chance to chat with Travis about the upcoming show, boy bands, and the latest news from The BBP.
What are you most excited about in your premiere at Feinstein’s/54 Below?
Travis: This is a chance for us to introduce The Boy Band Project to a new audience. The club is directly under a Broadway theater, and we’re all Broadway guys, so it’s the next step in elevating the brand. We’re going to glam it up with more upscale costumes, and we’ve even added an electronic violinist who will be performing with us.
Which of the Boys are scheduled to appear in the show?
Along with me will be BBP regulars Jesse JP Johnson (Wicked; Altar Boyz; SpongeBob SquarePants), Kevin John Murray (Newsies), and Chris Brasfield (seen off-Broadway in Choir Boy and throughout the country in the second national tour of The Book of Mormon from 2017-20).
Will the set list be strictly Boy Band favorites, or will there be other songs included?
We had “My Heart Will Go On” – the Celine Dion hit from Titanic – arranged in boy band Boyz II Men style by Jesse Vargas, who was Clay Aiken’s musical director and also served as music supervisor for the Broadway musical Glory Days, in addition to his many other credits. And as I already mentioned, I’m going to restyle the show with new costumes and a kick-ass violinist, Adrianna Mateo.
You’ve been very active throughout the pandemic, with concerts, streams, and new song and video releases. What’s been your favorite experience of the past 16 months?
I have to admit that we have adapted our shows fairly well during the pandemic, taking them on the road and even to Mexico, following the local protocols of social distancing, wearing masks, and being vaccinated, so it’s been great to be able to lean into the brotherhood of the group. They’ve been my bubble and support network, and performing is what makes us happy. We haven’t been getting rich during the pandemic, but it’s what we love to do, so we’ve been doing it!
What do you love most about the boy bands and their music?
There is something so universal about them, and about our show, that transcends sexual identity and gender, race and ethnicity. It’s about having fun – something that we all need right now.
Do you have an all-time favorite band, song, or move?
My gut says the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” From the first three chords, the audience recognizes the melody and is hooked – it’s electric. As far as my favorite move, the choreography of New Kids On The Block’s “The Right Stuff” [rocking side to side with legs wide apart and knees locked] is so boy band!
Will the show at 54 Below return to being interactive with the audience, or is the COVID-19 protocol that’s currently in place continue to keep people at a distance for now?
I haven’t heard, but I think as of right now it’s still strict protocol. If something changes, we’ll be back interacting with the audience. We’ll do whatever keeps people safe and makes them feel comfortable with us – though of course we always enjoy getting up close and personal with our fans.
What’s up next on The Boy Band Project’s schedule?
Before the show at Feinstein’s/54 Below, we’ll be doing Carnival Week in Provincetown, from August 15-21. After NYC, we’ll be back at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach on Monday, August 30. And we just got a booking with Celebrity Cruises for November, with stops at Cozumel and Key West, so we’re keeping the boy band love coming!
The Boy Band Project plays on Sunday, August 22, at 9:45 pm (doors open at 9 pm), at Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 West 54th Street, cellar, NYC. For tickets, call (646) 476-3551, or go online. Please note that there is a $25 per person food and drink minimum in addition to the ticket price, and everyone is required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the door.