Fall in love with the music of the ‘50s and the ‘60s all over again with this season’s Winter Cabaret opener, The Wanderers! In this charming new music revue, our cast of four accomplished performers will transport you back to simpler times with their tight harmonies, slick choreography, and, of course, matching jackets. Honoring the dynamic harmony groups of the mid-20th century—from The Four Seasons and The Platters to The Beatles and beyond, The Wanderers features such hits as “At the Hop,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” and “With A Little Help From My Friends.”
“Doo-wop combined the simplicity and innocence of the 1950s with complex, four-part harmony to create this timeless, energizing sound,” said Catherine Randazzo, FST Associate Artist and the show’s Director. “From Dion and The Belmonts to The Earls, the artists featured in this show have the remarkable ability to bring joy to music lovers of any age.”
Some of those music lovers were performers who figured out how to harness the power of doo-wop’s tight harmony and incorporate it into Rock & Roll, jazz, and pop music. “Surfer Girl” and “Barbara Ann” by The Beach Boys flawlessly blend smooth harmony with Rock & Roll’s strong rolling beat. Even Billy Joel drew inspiration from doo-wop when he penned his hit song from 1984, “For the Longest Time.” Just like the early doo-wop groups, Joel uses finger snaps and hand claps as percussion.
“Doo-wop’s popularity can partially be attributed to the universality of the lyrics, which were often about themes of love, heartbreak, and second chances,” continued Randazzo. “It also didn’t hurt that the melodies were catchy and easy to sing along to.”
What cast member Kenny Quinney Francoeur loves most about the music highlighted in The Wanderers are the lessons you can learn from the featured artists themselves.
“These amazing artists had such vim and vigor for life,” said Francoeur, who is the high tenor of The Wanderers. “Every day was special. They weren’t all professionally trained singers, but were just groups of guys singing under lampposts trying to change their lots in life.”
And now, decades later, the cast of The Wanderers is thrilled to be bringing the greatest hits of the ‘50s and ‘60s to life on stage.
“The Wanderers will be my first time performing live for an in-person audience in far too long, and I get to sing music from an era that I absolutely adore,” said Jason Pintar, who provides the all-important bass line in the show. “I’m incredibly excited for it.”
Pintar makes his FST debut with The Wanderers. His three castmates—Travis Keith Battle, Kenneth Quinney Francoeur, and Ryan Morales—are also new to FST. But the music covered in this new musical revue is certainly not new to them.
Francoeur was in the national tour of Jersey Boys, which tells the behind-the-scenes story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Battle, who sings lead tenor, was in Walnut Street Theatre’s production of Memphis, the Tony Award-winning musical inspired by the life of Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play “Black music”—like doo-wop—in the 1950s.
Morales, who played Nick Hurley in the national tour of Flashdance: The Musical, sings baritone.
And FST’s Resident Pianist Jim Prosser, who also created the musical arrangements for the show, will be tickling the ivories for this delightful, fast-moving music revue.
“We are thrilled to be opening our Winter Season celebrating an era of music that we all know and love: doo-wop,” said Rebecca Hopkins, FST’s Managing Director and one of the developers on the show. “This music is timeless and never fails to bring smiles to faces of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life.”