Under the Streetlamp
Under the Streetlamp
Under the Streetlamp is a concert celebration of classic hits of the American radio songbook from the 1950s-1970s featuring tight harmonies and slick dance moves that take audiences back to an era of sharkskin suits, flashy cars and martini shakers.
With irresistible rapport, Under the Streetlamp offers audiences the opportunity to get to know the former lead cast members of Jersey Boys, and critically acclaimed stars of stage and screen, Eric Gutman, Christopher Kale Jones, Brandon Wardell and Shonn Wiley. While each performer gets his moment in the spotlight, it is their synergy and charisma as a group that has drawn an extremely devoted nationwide following.
CHRISTOPHER KALE JONES has been singing since he was a kid in church. Before his voice changed, he sang soprano in the prestigious Iolani boys choir in his home island of Hawaii. In high school he sang in select choirs including the selective All-State Honor Choir. In college, at Northwestern University, Chris began acting professionally, including work with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Steppenwolf Theatre. Chris’s big break came in 2006, when he was cast in Jersey Boys as Frankie Valli for the first national tour. Other career highlights include Mercury in “Olympus On My Mind” (Bristol Riverside Theatre), for which he received a Barrymore Award Nomination, and Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors” (Ford’s Theatre, D.C.), opposite his wife, Jenna Coker-Jones. In 2013, Chris and Jenna were blessed to add their little girl, Presley Rose Jones, to their family. When not performing with Under The Streetlamp, he spends as much time as he can with them and their awesome dogs, Fender and Rocket. He is thankful to God for all the blessings in his life. www.christopherkalejones.com.
Musical Influences: I grew up in a relatively conservative family so there was a lot of Christian music and talk radio. But there was a lot of Broadway, and Disney musicals, too � Annie, Camelot, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast … . My mom, though, also liked Motown … Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, etc. The song I remember the most, the one she’d clean the house to, was the Kiki Dee Band’s, “I’ve Got the Music in Me.” Little did I know my mom would be foreshadowing what I do now!
Favorite Streetlamp Experience: There have been a bunch! As a group, my favorite experience was when we did a New Year’s Eve show at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois. It was fun to be the emcee to usher in the New Year for a couple thousand people. We did the whole count down and then saw everyone kiss. Afterwards, we had a party with the fans. It capped off our tour so it was a lot of fun knowing we got to then go home and celebrate with our own families. I have a personal favorite, too. I’m a huge fan of stand-up comedy. It is pretty much all I listen to in my car. We do a lot of bantering in the show. Once a person came up to me after the show and said, “Your comedic timing is incredible.” I personally feel that music and comedy go hand in hand, equally providing escape and catharsis for our audience. It is something we really work at. So to have such an unexpected and endearing comment meant a lot to me.
Favorite Song to Perform: For the new tour, we’ve just incorporated a medley of songs by Sam Cooke and The Drifters that I think is just beautiful. It’s the perfect soundtrack to put on while sitting on your porch on a rainy night, sipping an iced tea, and letting all your trouble slide away. I love it. Brandon Wardell – A native of the Carolinas, Brandon grew up as his “Daddy’s roadie” and helped set up hundreds of club shows before he was old enough to get into the venues. His professional career began as a teenager and has included theater, film, concerts and television. Across those mediums, he has found success as a performer, producer, technician and engineer. Brandon made his Broadway debut in James Joyce’s The Dead beside Christopher Walken and Marni Nixon (the singing voice behind the biggest stars of film’s Golden era including: Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Woods and Deborah Kerr) who later became his go-to voice teacher. He appeared in the Tony Award winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie opposite Sutton Foster (Younger). He continued his Broadway performing career in the Tony Award Winning production of Assassins with Denis O’Hare and Neil Patrick Harris, Good Vibrations the Beach Boys Musical, and Catch Me If You Can. He played Scott in the hit Off-Broadway show Evil Dead the Musical where he set a new record for onstage deaths by a performer in a week (48 deaths). Brandon was featured in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl which also starred Wayne Brady, Nichole Scherzinger, Vanessa Hudgens, Aaron Tveit and Rachel Harris. Wardell performed live for an audience of more than a million people, with a television audience of millions more at the Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration. Outside of the amazing places he plays with Streetlamp, some of his favorite performances have been on the stages of Radio City Music Hall (Tony Awards), Avery Fisher Hall (on PBS’ Great Performances) and MerleFest, where he shared the bill with Allison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. He specializes in creating shows specific for any event or venue. Brandon is a proud member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices Choir and The Recording Academy. Also a prolific producer, Brandon’s work for the stage has been honored with five Tony Award nominations, with one win for Porgy and Bess. In the recording studio, his work has garnered four Grammy Award nominations including Gypsy starring Patti Lupone, Ain’t Misbehavin’ starring Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis, and Fela! which features the world famous afro-funk phenomenon Antibalas. Brandon’s musical compositions and voice can be heard on the upcoming film release Gala and Godfrey, appearing now in festivals worldwide, having already won multiple awards. Brandon is one of the producers behind the hit show Delusion, which is a live, interactive horror show currently being developed in a virtual reality setting by Skybound Entertainment (The Walking Dead).
Musical Influence: “My father is my number one influence when it comes to music. I grew up in a house where our third bedroom was a band practice room for my dad filled with equipment. He gave me every opportunity to be a part of his world. I had my first gig playing drums with his band when I was twelve. When they announced my name, my Dad says I walked on stage twirling sticks in both hands and I never looked back. Although a stroke a few years ago has been a setback, he never has given up on learning how to grow as a musician.”
Fondest Memory: “My fondest memory in Streetlamp happened during the taping of our 3rd PBS special. I was shooting my closeups for the song ‘Daddy’s Home’ and my daughter Wendy was able to come to the taping. As the camera was right in my face, she was running back and forth between rows right in front of me playing, laughing and clapping along. I wanted to watch her and join in the fun, but we were in crunch-time and I had to pretend like it wasn’t even happening. Once the cameras stopped, she was allowed to run up to me to jump in my arms and we captured one of my favorite pictures of us together.”
Favorite Song to Perform: “I really enjoy getting to perform ‘Danke Schoen’ during the show. It’s a loose, jazzy song that can be a bit different every time. The audience’s reactions really feed my energy on that one. It goes from small and intimate to over the top in just a few minutes and I always enjoy the journey I take with the audience. I even got to write a new verse for it, so it’s extra special to be able to sing my own words within this iconic tune.” For more information, visit: www.brandonwardell.com
SHONN WILEY “Not only is Shonn Wiley one of the small handful of true triple threat performers in New York City, but he is one of an even smaller group that can hold an audience in the palm of his hand…” Originally from Adrian, MI, Shonn started performing at six, when his father put him in dance classes. Immediately Shonn was hooked. It was at the Historic Croswell Opera House that his passion for performing was born. Upon graduation from high school, Shonn was already a seasoned entertainer, having been in over 50 musicals. He made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning revival of 42ND STREET where he performed at the famed Radio City Music Hall. Shonn later returned to the Broadway stage in DRACULA, The Musical. Other NYC credits include; Junior Dolan in ON YOUR TOES, John Trainor in NO NO, NANETTE, Jack Donahue in MY VAUDEVILLE MAN, Richard Loeb in THRILL ME, understudying and performing title character in CANDIDE at New York City Opera, STAIRWAY TO PARADISE costarring Kristin Chenoweth at City Center Encores!, THE VIEW FROM HERE, and movies TINY DANCER and CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC. Shonn was featured in the Chicago cast of “Jersey Boys” as Bob Gaudio where and performed on the final season of the Oprah Show. As a choreographer, Shonn received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination, as well as a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Choreography for MY VAUDEVILLE MAN. Other choreography projects: Come Dance With Me, Sweeney Todd and Pool Boy at Barrington Stage, The View From Here, Music Man and Forever Plaid. Shonn serves as the choreographer for Streetlamp. He holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University. www.shonnwiley.com.
Musical Influences: As a young person growing up in the midwest, my love for music started with the record player. My father had a collection of old 78’s from his childhood and we would listen to the likes of the Andrew Sisters, Frank Sinatra, Gene Autry, Glenn Miller, and Ben E. King. I would spend hours going from record to record. When I was 6-years-old my parents put me into tap dance lessons and then introduced me to movie musicals. I was immediately mesmerized. My dad is a “song and dance man” and when I was young, while most of the kids in my neighborhood were out playing sports, we would sit in the living room and watch all of the classic MGM movies. We would breakdown the dance routines, trying to decipher what steps Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were doing. So many hours were spent in the basement or the driveway perfecting our routines. It was special to have passion for the same things. After my father served in Vietnam for three tours, he came back to the states and decided to put that dream of entertaining on the shelf. He started a family and quickly noticed my passion for performing. The first musical he performed in was the first show I was ever in. It had been almost 20 years since he had been in a show.
Probably the performer that I wanted to be most like was Sammy Davis, Jr. He was a true triple threat, and had an incredible command of the stage. I admire his ability to cross over between being contemporary and performing the standards embraced by older audience. The sense of playful ribbing and the jokes and party atmosphere that the Rat Pack captured in their shows in Vegas in the 60’s, is something that we hoped to create in our live Streetlamp show. The notion that while we take the music seriously and handle it with care, we don’t take ourselves seriously one bit!
Favorite Streetlamp Moment: I’d have to say that it’s meeting our fans at the end of each show. Music is inside us all. That’s why our hearts have beats. Over the years, It defines so many important moments. I like hearing about those memories of our fans. We are definitely in the business of nostalgia and our audiences never shy away from telling us how much fun they’ve had. I love that the men who served our country come up and talk to me about my father. He served three tours in Vietnam, and I talk about my childhood growing up. They really appreciate the shout out and I think it’s wonderful when the audience shows their love for those who served.
Favorite Song to Perform: There are so many great songs in our show I can’t pick just one. I love singing the song Cry. It was made famous by Johnnie Ray, who at the height of his career, was as big a star as Elvis became. He was known for his dramatic and “over-the-top” performances, falling to his knees and making the ladies go wild.I am a bit of a cut up, and don’t mind going the extra distance when paying tribute. The Beach Boys Medley is the moment I’m most proud of. We weave the songs together in an unconventional way, and the vocal harmonies are so much fun to sing. Lastly, I love to put on my tap shoes and do my signature song and dance to Jump Jive and Wail. The performances of my friends gives me great joy.Seeing them succeed is something that makes me proud.
ERIC GUTMAN cultivated his love of performing through his grandparents when, at the age of nine, bought him his first guitar. Within weeks, he started cultivating his musician “chops” that would help lead him down an amazing career path for years to come. Eric currently lives in Huntington Woods, Michigan with his wife and two daughters. Before his move back home, his claim to fame was performing for three years in the Tony and Grammy Award-winning sensation, Jersey Boys. In his run with this extraordinary show, Eric performed close to 1,200 shows in six different roles (including three of the Four Seasons) as well as one of the few actors to play live instruments on stage. Eric has also been a company member for over fifteen years with the Off-Broadway and touring companies of Forbidden Broadway and Forbidden Hollywood where he has played in over 100 different theatres across the Country as well as a featured performer with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. When not with Streetlamp, Eric has been touring his one-man show, “From Broadway to Obscurity” to cities across the US and Canada gaining major recognition at festivals like the Winnipeg and Orlando Fringe festivals, to name a few. Eric holds a BFA in Music Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association since 1999 and The American Federation of Musicians.
Musical Influences: My biggest musical influence on my life was by far my father. Although not a musician, he schooled me my entire young life on the importance of bands like The Beatles and entirety of the Motown era. Him playing “Johnny B. Goode” for me when I was nine years old is still one of the main reasons I decided I wanted to learn how to play guitar.
Favorite Song to Perform: For me, it’s not about the songs that we are currently performing, it’s about working together as a group – the four of us and the musicians – with the new music we will get to debut down the road. Hearing everyone contribute and the excitement from those sessions is infectious. I absolutely love the era of music we perform and I’m just anxious to get more tunes in front of the amazing fans! For more information, visit www.ericgutman.com
Admission fee: 19.95-59.95
Shipshewana Event Center
760 S Van Buren St, Shipshewana