“Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” – Plato
FST is thrilled to kick off its Winter Cabaret Season with The Wanderers, a musical celebration of the great male harmony groups of the 1950s along with the artists they helped inspire in the 1960s. Featuring such timeless hits as “At the Hop,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” and many more you know and love, this Cabaret is a warm welcome back to the theatre filled with some of the most-loved music ever written.
Audiences have been raving about the show since it began playing in late September.
“There have been many wonderful Cabarets at FST, but this is by far the best,” shared audience member Edwin F.
Attendee Faith Kibler called it “superb” and “top notch,” and Amy C. called it “fabulously entertaining.”
“The Wanderers is a great show to kick off the season because it features great music that is especially anchored in the memory of our audience,” said Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins and Lead Developer on the show. “It harkens back to the ‘50s when quartets sang beneath city streetlamps. And these groups, from neighborhoods all across America, defined the tempo of our time. They contributed to the poetry of our age. And they reminded us that love is all-important.”
The Wanderers doesn’t just welcome audiences back to the theatre, it also welcomes four artists who are each making their Florida Studio Theatre debut.
“They each bring their own quirky personalities to the stage along with a blend of absolutely extraordinary voices and musicality,” said Richard Hopkins of The Wanderers cast. “They have an exceptional sound together and a combination of personalities that reveal a great sense of humor.”
Bringing the all-important bass sound to back this doo-wop-inspired show, Jason Pintar has been a lover of vocal harmony for as far back as he can remember. “It doesn’t matter the musical genre. My ears perk up, and I get a smile on my face,” said Pintar. “Smiles on faces, even if they’re behind masks, is what I very much hope this catalog of music will inspire from our audiences. It’s been a challenging time for us all, and some feel-good music is definitely in order!”
For lead tenor Travis Keith Battle, this music strikes a meaningful chord. “I love that doo-wop found its musical roots among African American youth in the ‘40s, and when I consider the social and political climate of the time, its reach is even more impactful. It seems clear that this music made people stop, smile, dance, and feel in a way that has remained electric for decades.”
While the show features an all-new cast, The Wanderers is not entirely an all-new show to FST, though it may feel that way.
“We realized it had been about 12 years since the original production and thought that, before we do another sequel, we should reintroduce the audience to The Wanderers—the character of the group itself along with the doo-wop sound,” said Rebecca Hopkins, Co-Developer on the show. “These guys sound different in the way they approach their songs and they have different personalities that give this version of the show its own unique flavor.”
“It is always interesting to revive a show,” said Lead Developer Richard Hopkins. “Because the show doesn’t change. But the audience does! And as a result, the show appears to be completely different. The words and music remain exactly the same. But because times have changed, life itself has changed. The tempo of life has changed, so the rhythm of the music needs to be altered to meet the memory of what it was rather than what it really was.”
With simple and buttery lyrics, and stripped down instrumentals, this music distills harmony to its essence. Cherished by people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life, doo-wop and the music it later inspired transports listeners back to youthful memories, simpler times, and strikes harmony in our hearts.
We invite you to join us on this musical journey and to “Remember Then” together, one song at a time.
The Wanderers is now playing in FST’s Court Cabaret. For tickets and more information, click here.