Full harmonic: Retro band will croon hits of the 1950s and ’60s

Full harmonic: Retro band will croon hits of the 1950s and ’60s
Eric Morgensen

Oh, what a night!

The retro rock ’n’ roll group Under the Streetlamp will bring its throwback tunes and shiny suits to Manhattan Beach next weekend for an evening of doo-wop, soul, and golden oldies. The brightly dressed four-piece, performing at On Stage at Kingsborough on Nov. 9, will perform a set jammed with hits from the middle of the 20th century, in hopes of taking audience members back to the carefree days of their youth, said one of the band’s founding members.

“It’s an opportunity for the audience to forget their troubles and remember where they were when they first heard it,” said Shonn Wiley.

The band’s four vocalists, including Wiley and his bandmates Eric Gutman, David Larsen, and Brandon Wardell, say that they aim to please baby boomer music lovers by focusing on chart toppers from their youth, including Elvis, Beach Boys, Tom Jones, the Beatles and Roy Orbison. Fans of those artists have few options in live entertainment, said Wiley.

“If you look at the modern entertainment industry, they’re really underserved,” said Wiley.

Each of the singers has appeared in various musicals, both on and off Broadway, but the first time their paths crossed was in 2011, when they were each cast in a Chicago production of “Jersey Boys,” the musical dramatization of the rise to fame of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The performers worked together so well that they decided to break off and form their own show. They decided on throwback tunes because they all shared the same nostalgia for the music of their parents’ generation, said Wiley.

“That music was the soundtrack to every car trip,” he said.

The band is named for the Brooklyn phenomenon of 1950s doo-wop groups harmonizing under streetlamps, but they also draw on the music of later decades. A different member takes the lead for each song, playing to their strengths for the corresponding genres. Larson, a tenor, covers most of the rock songs, while Wardell, who Wiley describes as having “incredible range,” handles the older crooner tunes.

Between the four leads, and backed up by a full band, the show covers a wide range of popular music, pulling from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, said Wiley.

“We have a pretty eclectic evening of music planned,” he said.

Under the Streetlamp at On Stage at Kingsborough [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Oxford Street in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368–5596, www.onstageatkingsborough.org]. Nov. 9 at 8 pm. $34–$39.

Reach reporter Ben Verde at (718) 260–2525 or by e-mail at bverde@schnepsmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @verde_nyc.