What hurricane? The show must go on, and it did. While the tempest was downgraded to a tropical storm, The Boy Band Project upgraded the night from rainy to on fire with the group’s debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Nothing could stop the Boys or their devoted fans, who braved the bad weather to be there. And they blew the roof off!
The stellar performance was a seamless synthesis of hilarious parody and authentic homage to the top young vocal guy groups who achieved phenomenal popularity in the ‘90s with their impeccable harmonies, synchronized choreography, distinctive personalities, stunning good looks, and romantic sensibility, all designed to drive adoring teens and pre-teens wild. The BBP not only captures the essence of the genre to perfection, but excels at every aspect, with a super-talented and super-hot rotating roster of stars from on and off Broadway that turns up the heat and drives their young and young-at-heart adult audiences even wilder.
For their premiere date at the iconic nightclub, the cast featured a mix of regulars and a newcomer, each embodying a signature boy-band archetype: Jesse JP Johnson (Wicked; Altar Boyz; SpongeBob SquarePants) as the Sexy One; Kevin John Murray (Newsies) as the Sporty One; Chris Brasfield (Choir Boy; The Book of Mormon second national tour), the latest member of the group, as the Boy Next Door; and The BBP leader, producer, and mastermind Travis Nesbitt (Altar Boyz; The Producers) as the Sensitive One – who noted, tongue-in-cheek, that they “didn’t have to tell everybody,” but because they’re a boy band, they “have all of the feelings,” which they gave full-out to the audience.
They also have all of the killer voices, rich and resonant harmonies, sexy moves, and funny repartee that brought down the house through a set list of twelve fabulous numbers, including seven full-length covers of songs by Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, NSYNC, Jonas Brothers, and One Direction; three medleys of songs by New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, and more, with an opener that mixed in favorites by the seminal all-male bands The Beatles (“Let It Be”) and The Four Seasons (the extremely apropos “Oh, What a Night”); a new boy-band-style arrangement by Jesse Vargas of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic; and The BBP’s own original playful and provocative hit single “Get Behind My Love,” with music and lyrics by Michael Mott.
Each song put a spotlight on different members of the group, and each of them delivered “the right stuff,” from their superb solos to their up-close-and-personal interactions with lucky members of the audience, from their quiet “stool numbers” to their time to “pump it up” with high-energy dancing and tantalizing body rolls, hip grinds, butt slaps, and crotch grabs.
The Boys were joined for two songs by special guest violinist Adrianna Mateo, whose masterful playing underscored their full-bodied vocals and exquisite harmonies, and the classic quality of the melodies. The electrifying performance was also enhanced by vintage videos of the TV shows, movies, and boy bands of the era, and glittering costumes and light-up sneakers that emphasized the group’s well-toned bodies and the sparkling light-hearted mood of their physically demanding, vocally flawless, fun-filled performance.
At the end of the show, no one in the house was ready to say “Bye Bye Bye.” We all wanted more more more of this terrific group and hope to see them again, again, and again at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
Running Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
The Boy Band Project played on Sunday, August 22, at 9:45 pm, at Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 West 54th Street, cellar, NYC. For future performances by the group, visit The BBP website; for the calendar of upcoming shows at the nightclub, go online.