It makes sense that four actor-singers who met while performing the smash hit musical “Jersey Boys” would form an attachment to the music of that era.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The Four Tops. Roy Orbison. Elvis Presley. The Beatles. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Etta James.
“We all grew up listening to that music, because our parents were listening to that music. When you’re 10 years old and in the car, you don’t get to control the radio,” said Michael Ingersoll, who was Nick Massi in “Jersey Boys. “The other thing about being able to sing the entire catalog of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – for me it was three years – the thing that really stuck with me was the incredible response that show got every night. It didn’t matter what day of the week, whether it was a matinee or evening, what city we were in. People just lost their minds; they just loved hearing that music live and performed at a high level again.
“Seeing how happy this music made those folks made me want to continue to serve that audience.”
So in 2010, Ingersoll and his co-stars from the Chicago production of “Jersey Boys” – Michael Cunio (Tommy DeVito), Christopher Kale Jones (Frankie Valli) and Shonn Wiley (Bob Gaudio) – formed Under the Streetlamp, a band dedicated to performing retro pop music. Since then, they’ve put out a couple of CDs and have been featured on two PBS specials. They also tour the country and will be in Wichita on Friday in a one-night-only show.
Going in, fans should know one thing: This is a concert, not a play. There’s no story. It’s like a Vegas-style show.
Ingersoll, however, points out that “we’re not a ‘stand and sing’ kind of group. These songs are all really energetically choreographed, so there’s a couple pounds of sweat left out there at the end of the show.”
Fans have nicknamed the troupe the “new Rat Pack,” he added, “because we tell stories and we tell jokes and we make fun of each other mercilessly, and we like to think what we’re really doing is hosting a party with music.”
It’s also one of the rare bands to feature four lead singers. Ingersoll, for instance, takes lead on tunes such as “Burning Love” and “Pretty Woman.”
“Chris Jones does a pretty freaking amazing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,’ and I always like to be part of that tune,” he said. “Cunio does ‘Oh! Darling’ from the Beatles, Shonn does ‘Dream Lover’ by Bobby Darin. ... We all have a different type of singing voice and musical sensibility, so when we’re looking at new music for a PBS concert and such, it’s always obvious who should take the lead on a particular type of song.”
By the way, audience members should know another thing: This show is family-friendly.
“We don’t drop the F-bomb something like 36 times or whatever,” Ingersoll said with a laugh. “Our fans really are from age 8 to 80, which is really cool.”
If You Go
Under the Streetlamp
Special guest: Gentleman’s Rule
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway
Tickets: $30, $35, $40; www.selectaseat.com; 855-755-7328