Hugh Barrington and Tom Struik are just two members of the immensely talented and ultra-charismatic “Boys in the Band” – a stage show that presents hits from the 1950s through to the 1990s, over 50 years of wonderful music. These boys can sing, and dance, and they’re a phenomenon on stage. You can catch them at the Glasshouse this month …
What can you tell us about the history behind The Boys in the Band stage show?
Tom – The show was created by David Malek and Dale Burridge, owners of SMA Productions. They have over thirty years between them starring as leading men in musical theatre productions across the globe, from Broadway to the West End and back here in Australia. Now as producers of entertainment, they noticed a wave of jukebox musicals like Jersey Boys and We Will Rock You coming out; they loved them so much, but wondered what if there was a show that could take you through the story of all of the greats – over 50 years of music, back to where the “boy band” began with Frankie Valli and right through the Rock ‘n’ Roll era, the Motown era and to the Pop era of today … Boys in the Band was born!
Why do you enjoy being a part of this particular show?
Hugh – Because we get to cover so many iconic decades of music and artists, with so much different repertoire. The medley format means we get to touch on hit after hit, and it’s a really exciting show to be a part of.
Tom – The beauty about the show is I get to be myself on stage, rather than playing a character, show our own personality and sing songs that are just adored not only by us but by audiences everywhere.
How far and wide have you travelled with The Boys in the Band?
Hugh – All throughout Asia and all around Australia and the South Pacific. We’ve performed in concert on theatre tours, many festivals, as well as on some of the most luxurious cruise ships. Everyone just loves the show; we always get people coming up to us with fond memories and stories of what the songs mean to them or where they were when the song was released.
Tom – The show has performed right around the world, Singapore, South Africa, we have just come back from Jakarta – which was so much fun. By the end of the show you can almost guarantee everyone is up on their feet, clapping and singing along, and we just love it.
The band will be singing a huge array of hits from the past 50 years, encompassing the Bee Gees, Queen, Simon & Garfunkel and more. What are some of the songs you most like to perform?
Hugh – Simon & Garfunkel is my favourite medley in the show; I’m such a massive fan, and it’s a beautiful, intimate moment in the show that has the audience mesmerised. Queen is also fun, but with over five decades of music, it is really hard to pick just one favourite!
Tom – The Queen medley is definitely a favourite, as well as the Motown section – they are both brand new for the 2018 tour, and we can’t wait to bust them out live on stage.
I was lucky enough to experience a few of you guys in action at the Glasshouse’s 2018 Season Launch in Feb. You were amazing! I was sitting on the edge of my seat when you sang Unchained Melody, waiting to see how the challenge of “that high note” was treated. Nailed it! Who’s the lead singer for this particular piece – and how much practice went into perfecting this difficult song?
Hugh – That would be me! It’s a notoriously difficult song to sing, and perfecting the transitions and different parts of the voice you need to use in order to perform it – and make it look easy and seamless – takes years of training. It’s a very rewarding part of the show, and to be able to experience that moment of such a loved and iconic tune one on one with the audience is very special and a definite highlight. However, “that high note” is nothing compared to what I have to sing in Queen – so strap yourselves in for that one!
This show is billed as the “Feel Good” performance of 2018. Why’s that?
Hugh – There’s no other show around that covers over 50 years of music, the greatest hits from the greatest bands of all time, and we do it in medley format, which means you get a taste of all the hits – and it’s really fast moving. We are singing, dancing, and telling the story of how the “boy band” phenomena evolved, all the way from artists like Frankie Valli, throughout the Rock ‘n’ Roll era, the Motown era, and into the pop and rock eras, from the 1950s all the way up to ‘90s, the Beatles, the BeeGees, Jackson 5, Queen, Elvis and beyond.
We take the flavour of those eras, incorporating the style of the choreography and vocals and weave it together with the stories of these iconic artists. We’ve worked really hard to make sure you are experiencing a world-class show; there are no tacky tributes, wigs or costumes here – just world-class performers who have all been in touring musical, TV and stage productions, delivering a high energy, top notch performance that you’d expect to see in the world’s entertainment capitals such as New York or the West End.
How many of you will be performing live at Port Macquarie and Forster?
Tom – We are bringing our full 90 minute concert show, with four great guys out front, myself, Hugh, Damon and Tom Sharah. Tom Sharah has just finished starring in the world premiere of musical Muriel’s Wedding, and Hugh has just come out of touring with We Will Rock You. We are backed by our live band, “The Players”, who are super talented musicians that have travelled the globe with various artists such as Jess Mauboy and Boney M.
Thanks guys. Interview by Jo Robinson.
See the Boys in the Band at the Glasshouse on March 17th at 3pm and 8pm.
Tickets adult $59; conc. $54.
Visit glasshouse.org.au for more details.