When Drew Pournelle appeared in the first performance of Shades of Bublé: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Bublé in 2015, little did he know that, one day, he would be producing the show and bringing it to venues around the world. This summer, the popular musical tribute to the Canadian crooner, Michael Bublé, has been charming audiences at FST with its tight harmonies and upbeat song list.
Celebrating the swingin’ style and unforgettable hits of Michael Bublé, Shades of Bublé features three solo vocalists who channel Bublé’s sophistication and suave style. Highlighting the Canadian singer’s contemporary pop hits, Sinatra covers, and Rock & Roll favorites, this lively musical revue includes such songs as “Feeling Good,” “Moondance,” and “Home.”
Drew Pournelle has been part of the Shades of Bublé family since the very beginning and became the Producer and Creative Director of the show in 2019. We sat down with Drew to learn more about the show’s premiere, what sets Michael Bublé apart from other contemporary artists, and what it is like to be a producer.
What drew the creators of the show, Ron DeStefano and Melissa Giattino, to develop a show highlighting the spirit and music of Michael Bublé?
Ron and Melissa began creating Shades of Bublé in 2014, after they had been touring all over the world with their own song-and-dance show, Two On Tap. Over the years, they had seen a lot of acts that paid tribute to famous music groups from the 1950s and 1960s. They loved this concept, but they wanted to put a different spin on it by combining the tight harmonies of that time with the catalogue of a more contemporary solo artist. They thought Michael Bublé was the perfect choice, not only because his name is recognizable, but because he performs a wide variety of music.
What can audiences expect when they come to see Shades of Bublé?
Audiences can expect to be entertained by three top-notch vocalists from New York City who perform the many styles of music Michael Bublé has sung, combined with soaring harmonies and smooth choreography. A lot of people tend to think of Michael Bublé as a “Modern Frank Sinatra,” so I think many people will be surprised to hear a Motown, Rock & Roll, as well as some of Bublé’s contemporary pop hits.
What do you think differentiates Michael Bublé from other contemporary artists?
He has the unique ability to reach audiences of all ages. He introduced a new generation to the classic, Big Band sound of artists like Tony Bennett, while simultaneously having his original pop songs playing on the radio. Also, he is just an amazing live performer. His shows have a little something for everyone!
How would you describe Shades of Bublé to someone who is unfamiliar with the show?
If you were to ask three different people what they think of when they hear the name “Michael Bublé,” you would get three different answers. That is why we chose to have three uniquely talented guys pay tribute to him. We don’t imitate Bublé. We celebrate him by combining the multiple styles of music he performs with the tight, three-part harmony sound of the popular, vintage guy groups from the ’50s and ’60s to give our audiences an exciting, brand-new experience!
You were featured in the premiere performances of Shades of Bublé. What was that experience like? How has the show changed since 2015?
The Shades of Bublé premiere was an amazing whirlwind of experiences I will never forget. We workshopped and rehearsed the show for 8 days straight leading up to the first performance, so it was a very busy and challenging week. I remember being exhausted on opening night, but the hard work was worth it.
The audience was incredible and we had a blast! We had no idea what all would happen for the group after that night, but we were excited for all of the possibilities. Six years later, we’ve toured all over the world, visited so many amazing places, and got to meet thousands of enthusiastic audience members.
A lot of the show has remained the same, but we have added a few new songs, updated dialogue, and re-choreographed some numbers over the years. You learn a lot after seeing how audiences react to certain parts of the show.
You are both the producer of and a performer in Shades of Bublé. How do those roles speak to each other?
I’ve been producing Shades of Bublé since the end of 2019, after previously just being on the performer side of things. Life on the road can be challenging, so I’m happy I have my previous experience touring with the show to help me make decisions that make things as comfortable as possible for the performers.