Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press
Under the Streetlamp is bringing doo-wop tunes to Meadow Brook Theatre for two benefit shows July 20.
At this show, a traveling group of young singers will perform a variety of classic doo-wop, Motown and old rock ’n’ roll hits to entertain while bringing in funds for the theater.
Meadow Brook Theatre, founded in 1967, is Michigan’s largest nonprofit producing professional theater. While the theater fundraisers throughout the year, this benefit is something different, says Cheryl Marshall, Meadow Brook Theatre’s managing director.
Marshall said fundraisers like this one are important to maintaining and keeping shows going.
FYI: Under the Streetlamp is playing at 2 and 7:30 p.m. July 20 at Meadow Brook Theatre, 207 Wilson Hall, Rochester, on the campus of Oakland University. Tickets are $98 to $125 can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or at the box office, 248-377-3300. Proceeds from the concert go to Meadow Brook Theatre. www.mbtheater.com.
“Under the Streetlamp usually doesn’t play in smaller venues, but they were willing to help us out — they are fabulous,” Marshall said.
The four young men of Under the Streetlamp, were the original “Jersey Boys” cast. After touring, they formed a vocal group, carrying on the same kind of musical style as in the show.
One of the singers, Shonn Wiley, is a Michigan native who now resides in California. Wiley said he looks forward to returning home for this show.
“I grew up in southeast Michigan and had the opportunity to work with many Michigan actors, and I have friends who are part of the Meadow Brook Theatre,” Wiley said. “Anytime we can help not-for-profits, theaters and arts education raise money to continue, it’s something we take great pride in.”
Unlike “Jersey Boys,” the shows put on by Under the Streetlamp have no script and are more of a concert than a musical.
The group will perform a variety of music from the American radio songbook, including The Beatles and Roy Orbison, Wiley says. The members — Michael Cunio, Michael Ingersoll and Christopher Kale Jones in addition to Wiley — have been on Broadway, and will bring their energy to the Meadow Brook stage, Marshall said.
“Guests can expect to be taken back, through performances of their favorite doo-wop songs,” Marshall says. “It’s two and a half hours of pure fun and delight.”
The group was also featured in a PBS special, and is working on a second one to be filmed in September in Indiana, Wiley says.
“When we were doing Jersey Boys, we loved Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and we loved covering their music and the show,” he says. “But what we found was, there’s all this really wonderful music that was happening at the same time.”
“(Under the Streetlamp) is a chance for us to be ourselves and not only sing music from the Four Seasons catalog, but also tackle music from all throughout that period.”