Jon Peter Lewis
NO FLUKE Midas Whale Seeking SCERA Splas With Two Shows – Daily Herald
November 05, 2015 2:00 pm • Casey Adams Daily Herald
A local music project got rolling on national television but was first cultivated rolling around in the back of a food truck.
Western folk music duo Midas Whale will perform two shows at the SCERA Center for the Arts on Saturday. But before appearing on NBC's "The Voice" in 2013 and later touring the country, Jon Peter Lewis and Ryan Hayes were working to help Hayes' sister get her local food truck off the ground.
Hayes began singing a tune called "Howling at the Moon" driving home after a workday and Lewis chimed in riding passenger with an impromptu harmony. The chemistry of the two friends then led Lewis to cajole Hayes to join him to audition for NBC's televised talent program to which Hayes replied, "Might as well," and Midas Whale was born.
"A lot of people think we're a comedy act just because a lot of interesting and funny scenarios end up happening, inevitably -- that's just a result of our chemistry," Hayes said. "Jon and I love music so much and we take the opportunity to jab at each other any chance we can get."
Standing in front of large audiences seems to draw the natural spontaneity out even more.
"There was one time when I challenged Jon to a leg wrestle on stage," Hayes said, and then paused. "because I knew that I would win. I knew it was the one thing I could beat him at."
In another stage show, Hayes challenged an audience member to come up on stage for a leg wrestling match.
"We have very few boundaries, but there's also this very real element of 'the show must go on,' " Hayes said.
The SCERA show will certainly be laced with the folk duo's charming banter, but also features guest musicians Dylan Schorer on pedal steel and electric guitars with Fictionist's Aaron Anderson on percussion and drums.
Fictionist frontman Stuart Maxfield produced Midas Whale's debut album, "Sugar House" (2014), that includes the "Howling at the Moon" record, but sources an eclectic sound dialed in to preserve the tradition of a fading true genre.
"We're enamored with old country music, you know, when country used to be country and Western. Where, nowadays it seems like there's all country and no Western," Lewis said. "A lot of our music reflects that sort of energy that we have, that love to Western music. But our tastes go beyond that."
Lewis appeared on Season 3 of "American Idol" back in 2004 and cut a couple solo albums before engaging with his latest music project with Hayes.
The "American Idol" alum knew what to expect doing the cattle-call auditions for "The Voice" and the duo, who originally formed just for the audition, received an unexpected response after making it to the blind auditions with the celebrity coaches.
Silence. Not one chair turned around.
By some mistake, Lewis' mic was not turned on so the audience and judges only heard Hayes' backup harmony and their two instruments. They left the stage, but moments later the show producer brought them back out for another shot, this time with everything functioning properly.
Lewis and Hayes performed Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and soon won the attention of all four coaches.
"We are probably the only people in the entire 'Voice' history to have ever turned both, four chairs and no chairs," Hayes said with a laugh. "The only people to get a second chance at least."
The national exposure helped Midas Whale fund its "Sugar House" album on Kickstarter, a popular online crowdfunding platform. Using the tune they first sang together in the back of a food truck as a sample, fans and supporters kicked in $35,000 to record the album.
The title nods to what Lewis described "an enchanting time" he and Hayes experienced in the Salt Lake City-area where the album was recorded.
The first Saturday show at 7 p.m. is already soldout and a second show at 9 p.m. was added to meet the demand. A live performance by Midas Whale will invariably be different every time. At times the folk musicians will adapt their own performances based on audience reaction.
"We learn more about ourselves and about our songs every time we play for an audience that is very interactive," Hayes said.
Casey Adams is the Fine Arts and Entertainment reporter for the Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 344-2544 or on Twitter @casey907.
'American Idol' Alum Jon Peter Lewis Takes Rock Opera to New York City – Billboard - by Fred Bronson
American Idol season-three alum Jon Peter Lewis will be spending the summer in Manhattan, as his musical, Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera, has been chosen from hundreds of candidates to be one of 10 shows produced for the New York Musical Theatre Festival's "Next Link Project" in July.
Lewis wrote the book for Deep Love with Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood, and has directed multiple productions. Lewis and Hayes, who competed on season four of The Voice in 2013 as the duo Midas Whale, star in the show, with another competitor from The Voice, Amy Whitcomb.
The festival has been an incubator for hit shows, with three productions graduating to Broadway: Next to Normal, [title of show] and Chaplin. Some 24 festival finalists have been produced off-Broadway, including Altar Boyz, The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Fat Camp.
"For the last five years, we've been workshopping the show," Lewis tells Billboard. "It evolves every year. We take the lessons learned from each production, and apply them to the following run." The Idol finalist, who says he is passionate about music as well as storytelling, explains that the festival production will add "some dynamic choreography and dancing."
Hoping that this new production "will put us on the radar with some of the more influential people in the commercial theater community," Lewis tells Billboard what lies ahead: "We have to put on a show in New York from top to bottom. We have to handle all of the logistics, including casting and all aspects of production."
While heavily involved in Deep Love, Lewis is not ignoring his recording career. Two weeks ago, he released a new EP, roughcuts. The six-song set includes some material he has been "sitting on for years," along with new songs. "They are in their roughest and rawest forms, like first drafts out of my brain. It's likely that some will be recorded again in different versions and some may end up as Midas Whale songs. Others will remain in their rough and raw state." roughcuts is a digital-only release, available on iTunes.
Rock Opera 'Deep Love' Takes the Long Road to NYC – The New York Times
NEW YORK — There's not much to do in eastern Idaho in the winter. It's freezing, windy and depressing. Why not create a musical?
Stay-inside weather — plus a healthy dose of heartache — helped spark the creation in 2009 of "Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera." Six years later it arrives in steamy on 42nd Street in New York City, a snowball's throw from Broadway.
The show is the creation of Garrett Sherwood, Ryan J. Hayes and Jon Peter Lewis, three artistic guys with little musical theater experience who shaped and grew it into one of the highlights of the New York Musical Theatre Festival.
The show's first real production was in Lewis' living room in 2010 for a handful of friends. He used Christmas lights to mark off the stage and filled bowls with dry ice to make fog.
"I remember the dry ice was hissing and popping during the performance," he said. "It's been a kind of learn-as-you-go type of thing."
The show will be among 52 live events at the festival, including 22 full musicals. It runs from Tuesday to July 27 at six venues in the city and all tickets are below $30.
Since launching in 2004, the festival has premiered more than 300 new musicals, some of which have gone on to a further life on or off Broadway, such as "Altar Boyz," ''title of show" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Next to Normal."
The festival — known by its initials NYMF — provides shows with theater space, lights, sound equipment, front-of-house staffing and marketing — all key to emerging artists trying to mount resource-heavy musicals in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
The offerings this year are typically eclectic. There's one about a pope, a second that deals with illegal immigration and one about the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan ice skating fiasco.
Dan Markey, executive director of NYMF, said the number of submissions has gone up every year and this year attracted some 245 hopefuls from composers as far away as Utah and Atlanta.
"The net is wider the pipeline is expanding," he said. "More and more people want to do it either at the beginning of their career or at the end of their career."
The festival is the perfect place for the four-person cast of "Deep Love" to find some love, said Lewis, a finalist on "American Idol" who also got to the knockout round on "The Voice" with Hayes as the folk duo Midas Whale.
He hopes some of his TV fans will check out his new project: "I stayed long enough on both shows for people to kind of know me — to remain a Z-list celebrity," he said, laughing.
The show, featuring some crispy rock and soulful folk, is about love and loss set in a 1880s graveyard. The audience is encouraged to attend in funeral attire. It stars Amy Whitcomb who was on "The Voice," too.
Hayes and Sherwood, who both endured difficult breakups in the winter of 2009, wrote the songs. "Rather than going out and getting wasted, they wrote a rock opera about it," said Lewis.
Lewis helped write the story, co-directs and stars in the show. He even worked as a lighting technician for four months just to learn all the names of the theater lights.
The creative team has spent years working on the show, helping it grow from that first living room performance to one in a sold-out 1,100-seat abandoned church, to a multi-city tour.
Five dancers have been added to help tell the story, while the band has been reduced from 30 to seven. Getting it shown in New York took a lot of work but now it can shine.
"We wanted to get on the radar of people who are in the business," Lewis said. "We have something that's working elsewhere but no one really knows about us outside our little region."
American Idol & The Voice's Jon Peter Lewis Joins Jewish Songwriters 54 Below Tribute – Broadway World
AMERICAN IDOL & THE VOICE's Jon Peter Lewis Joins Jewish Songwriters 54 Below Tribute, 8/5A standout from AMERICAN IDOL and THE VOICE joins 54 Below's Jewish songwriters tribute!
Reality TV competition series standout and recording artist Jon Peter Lewis, will be joining the cast of the ANOTHER HUNDRED YEARS concert at 54 BELOW, on Wednesday, August 5th at 9:30pm.
Of note, Lewis, who appeared as a finalist on the third season of FOX's AMERICAN IDOL and later on the fourth season of NBC's THE VOICE and just released his new EP ROUGHCUTS, rounds out the Broadway cast of 19 celebrating the impact that Jewish songwriters have had on Broadway over the last century.
The official description of ANOTHER HUNDRED YEARS at 54 Below is as follows: "Accompanied by multimedia, ANOTHER HUNDRED YEARS, features popular show tunes spanning from Tin Pan Alley to today. A collaboration between 54 Below, Broadway's Supper Club, and KulturfestNYC, the citywide week-long summer mega-festival that brought in over 50,000 attendees, the concert sparks a new era for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene- the country's longest consecutively producing arts organization, now in its 101st year.
The evening will also feature a special tribute to Theodore Bikel (z"l), actor, singer-songwriter, legend, and friend of the NYTF. Bikel, a frequent collaborator with NYTF performed in the company's 2009 Off Broadway production of Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears and was most-recently presented with a lifetime achievement award at KulturfestNYC's closing ceremony on June 21, 2015. Among his Broadway credits, Bikel originated the part of Captain Von Trapp in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
An eclectic Jewish-inspired menu has been created for you to nosh on challah rolls, matzo ball soup, latkes, bagels and lox, plus many more delectable Jewish-style items while singing along to your favorite show-tunes.
The Broadway cast is comprised of Loni Ackerman (EVITA, CATS), Lawrence Craig (Baz Luhrmann'S LA BOHEME), Russell Fischer (JERSEY BOYS), Andrew Keltz (THE GOLDEN LAND), Garth Kravits (THE DROWSY CHAPERONE), Elyssa Brette Mactas (MEAN: THE P!NK MUSICAL), Sean McDermott (GREASE, FALSETTOS, MISS SAIGON), Ashley Moniz (SISTER ACT, 9 TO 5), Jessica Mortellaro (TO KILL A MOCKINGBORD, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK), Abigail Shapiro (Dr. Seuss' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS), Maddy Trumble (NEWSIES, WICKED), Alan Wiggins (BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, THE LION KING), Amos Wolff (GIGI, FOLLIES).
"We're passing along the torch," says NYTF Executive Director Bryna Wasserman. "The concert is an homage to that which was and some insight to what's around the corner. Theo [Bikel] shaped the world through his songs. It's our honor to pay tribute to his legacy as an artist and activist."
ANOTHER HUNDRED YEARS is conceived and produced by Chris Massimine, KulturfestNYC's Executive Producer and NYTF's COO; Jamibeth Margolis; and Megan Minutillo. Minutillo will also direct. Ben Krauss will provide Music Direction.
ANOTHER HUNDRED YEARS plays 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on August 5th at 9:30pm. Tickets starts at $25 and there is a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.54Below.com and www.nytf.org. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00pm are only available by calling (646) 476-3551."
Thursday August 4, 2015
By Giacinta Pace
Jon Peter Lewis is a singer-songwriter who was first introduced to the public as a finalist on season three of American Idol. Following his run on Idol, Lewis released three solo albums and then appeared on The Voice with pal Ryan Hayes as the folk duo Midas Whale. The duo released it's debut album, Sugar House, in 2014.
In 2015, Lewis' rock opera, Deep Love, was selected as a next link project as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Lewis assisted in writing the book for Deep Love, has directed multiple productions and has also starred in the show.
Performed by a Broadway cast and accompanied by multimedia, “Another Hundred Years”, part of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's [NYTF] KulturfestNYC’s Encore Series, features popular show tunes spanning from Tin Pan Alley to today, from operettas to contemporary musical theatre-- celebrating the influence Jewish culture has had and continues to have on shaping The Great White Way. From Irving Berlin to Rodgers and Hammerstein to Bock and Harnick to Stephen Sondheim to Jason Robert Brown the Jewish influence on Broadway’s music and lyrics has carried from one century onto the next.
The evening will also feature a special tribute to Theodore Bikel (z”l), actor, singer-songwriter, legend, and friend of the NYTF. Bikel, a frequent collaborator with NYTF performed in the company’s 2009 Off Broadway production of Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears and was most-recently presented with a lifetime achievement award at KulturfestNYC’s closing ceremony on June 21, 2015. Among his Broadway credits, Bikel originated the part of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
Interview Conducted Via Email By: Giacinta Pace
Q: Why is it important for celebs to connect with good causes?
Jon: EVERYONE needs to be concerned about good causes. There seem to be very few things that separate us from the animals and [the] giving of our time, talents and resources to good causes ranks among them. The visibility of celebrities puts them in a unique position to raise awareness for something in a meaningful way.
"Another Hundred Years" [and NYTF] is an incredible cause and concept. There's a lot history behind these songwriters and the Jewish culture that [has] influenced so much of the entertainment world. I've been performing many of these songs celebrated on this occasion all of my life. They've brought me comfort, understanding and inspiration for my own creative expression and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. The song I'll be singing is particularly meaningful as it was the song I performed during a pivotal point in my life that sparked my love of the arts and set me on my current career path.
It's going to be amazing to see the concept play out on the stage in such a modern multimedia performance outlet. It's also pretty amazing that the presenting organization National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene [NYTF] is entering into its 101st season. That alone is worth celebrating. The creators of "Another Hundred Years" [Chris Massimine and Jamibeth Margolis with director Megan Minutillo] are doing a fantastic job.
Q: What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?
Jon: I was recently the recipient of an extreme kindness. My act of kindness in return will be to keep it to myself :)
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Jon: Only that I'm honored and grateful to be included in this celebration. Thank you!
Changing the World for a 'World of Children' 9 comments
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Deep Love Rock Opera Review Quotes - Jon Peter Lewis staring in and co-directed. – Various
Deep Love reviews and quotes July 2015 (page 1 of 2)
1. New York Times
“… polished show with pop ambitions.”
“… very well sung…
“…elegantly simple set…”
2. Theater Mania
“The entire affair is sung-through by a very talented cast.”
‘The irrepressibly fierce Whitcomb sings like the genetic offspring of Pat Benatar and a valkyrie.
“Sherwood possesses a macho rocker growl, Lewis a terrifying wail.”
“…hot band of rockers in skeleton masks … saxophonist Candido Abeyta gives a particularly impressive performance.”
“ … lyrical choreography”
3. Broadway World
“Lewis squeezes intimidating tension out of his tenor and Stone slowly takes Constance on a descent into madness.”
“Choreographer Ray Mercer’s ghostly ensemble of ballet dancers greatly embellish the erotic-gothic tone…”
“The on-stage rock band sounds great under music director Ben Mathews.”
4. Talking Broadway
“Old Bones is a compelling character…”
“Lewis wields his voice as a violent caress…”
“Amy Whitcomb wailing to the rafters…”
“Whitcomb gives you something you can’t get at The Phantom of The Opera or anywhere else…”
5. Theater Scene
“The music is a credible sounding rock amalgam of the likes of Queen, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, with Roxy Music flourishes. The lyrics are skillfully complementary.”
“…excellent musicians led by music director and arranger Ben Mathews.”
“The ever-present backdrop is a fantastic Tim Burton-style miniature collage…”
“…dazzling scenic elements…”
“Mr. Lewis appears as Old Bones exhibiting great presence and has a commanding voice.”
“ ..a raspy voice and a rock star charisma in the vein of Steven Tyler, Mr. Sherwood is very fitting as Friedrich.”
“Melanie Stone is wonderfully sweet and stalwart as Constance.”
“Emitting old-time villainous Hollywood glamor Amy Whitcomb robustly scores as the meddlesome Florence.”
6. Time Square Chronicles
“Amy Whitcomb knocks the score out of the park”
“The seven piece band rocks the house off.”
“Miss Whitcomb has one of the best rock voices I have heard in a long time”
7. (Not sure title of this source)
“Garrett Sherwood and Ryan Hayes have created passionate and haunting music and emotional lyrics that produce some of the most heartfelt love songs ever.
“Music styles from impressive band in skeletal masks, vary from Gregorian Chant/Pop Rock to hot and steamy jazz, and there are some very interesting guitar arrangements.”
“The raspy (and oh so sexy) voices of Lewis and Sherwood and the multi-octave sopranos of Whitcomb and Stone give these songs a spine-tingling effect.”
“… ballet/modern choreography sublimely executed…”
“There’s a ton of talent on the stage – from conception to collaboration to performance.”
“It’s all working in DEEP LOVE making this one of the best offerings of the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival.”
2 of 2
The New York Musical Theatre Festival Runs Thru July 27
By PK Greenfield
The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) is off and running this month thru July 27; there are many stage productions in the making that have the potential of becoming blockbusters, SROs and sold-out tickets on the Great White Way as well as national and international tours.
This festival has an incomparable history for many shows that have garnered Tony Awards, Pulitzers and other accolades for performance, production and writing such as: title of show, Next to Normal, Alter Boys, Chaplin, Bedbugs and Clinton The Musical, just to name a few. It’s the Ziegfeld of possibilities.
There are over twenty musicals in the series this year and they take place around the theatre district at venues like PTC Performance Space, The Griffin Theatre, The Laurie Beechman Theatre and Theatre 3.
Our recommendations this year are two original productions: Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera and Manuel Versus The Statue of Liberty.
Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera has a cult following in the Midwest and now haunts and rocks the stage at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street.
The story is set outside a cemetery in anywhere, rural countryside U.S.A. and brings to life a rock opera much like a New Orleans’ funeral march meets “Rock of Ages”. It’s about love, loss and betrayal between four characters: Florence, Friedrich, Constance and Old Bones — some living, one not so much.
This is the morbid creation of songwriters Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood. The book is by Jon Peter Lewis (American Idol and The Voice).
“I met Garret and Ryan at an open mic night in college and they were writing songs in Idaho and we became friends, the story was influenced by a few un-named ex-girlfriends,” said Jon Peter Lewis. It started in my living room with a string of Christmas lights. It’s been a work in progress for over five years and has grown into a full production and this festival is helping us make it better,” said Mr. Lewis.
In October there will be a string of performances in the Pacific North West.
The cast includes: Amy Whitcomb (The Voice), Melanie Stone and dancers, Nicole Adjeleian, Adam Di Loreto, Pia Hamilton, Matthew Ortner and Sarah Roberts. This staging includes a frighteningly fabulous band.
Special Preview of the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival
Included in the lineup at the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival is headliner Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera, written by and featuring Jon Peter Lewis, who competed on both "American Idol" and "The Voice" TV shows. The festival kicks off July 7 in various locations throughout the city, running through July 27. Here's a look at the special preview that was held on July 1.
- See more at: http://www.playbill.com/multimedia/gallery/special-preview-of-the-2015-new-york-musical-theatre-festival-352580#21
Midas Whale sweetens the deal with debut album 'Sugar House' – AXS - by Dan MacIntosh
You might say Midas Whale, whether collectively or individually, has made the rounds of the singing competition circuit. Jon Peter Lewis, who is one half of Midas Whale, was a finalist on the third season of "American Idol." He was also humorously (and also scientifically) referred to by Ryan Seacrest as ‘JPL’ on that show. Not one to give up easily, though, Lewis tried again in the form of Midas Whale along with Ryan Haye on the fourth season of "The Voice."
However, don’t let these performers’ lack of TV show success lead you to believe they’re not yet ready for prime time. After all, the streets are littered with American Idol ‘winners’ that have not exactly succeeded outside the bright lights of TV land.
The first name that comes to mind – and it’s a huge name at that – is the Everly Brothers when listening to the Lewis/Haye duo of Midas Whale. And it goes far deeper than the obvious fact that it’s two guys harmonizing together. If you want proof that not all two-guy teams are Everly Brothers knock-offs, look no further than the country music superstar duo Brooks & Dunn. Those guys, during their successful run, gathered up more music business awards than the backroom of a trophy shop, yet you would never say they sang particularly well together. The star of that show was Ronnie Dunn’s beautiful singing voice. Kix Brooks was just there to help write the songs, sing a few himself and generally hang onto Dunn’s coattails for the prosperous ride.
In addition to creating lovely harmonies, Midas Whale also gives us meaty lyrical pieces to dig into. Just get a load of the whole familial drama detailed during “My Father’s Son” on their debut album Sugar House.
Then again, there is some pretty ear candy stocking the shelves of this sugar shack. “Bright and Early” is harmony singing at its very best. It has one of those lovely melodies that made the Everly Brothers a true American musical treasure. It’s built upon a sparse arrangement, which is mainly just rhythmic electric guitar that allows beatific singing to come front and center.
There are too many aural delights to count, though. “A Little More,” for instance, combines Americana styling with the sweet parlor music of vintage Kinks and Queen’s more tender side.
Just in case this point hasn’t been implied strongly enough, Midas Whale differs from ‘singing’ shows because these are songwriters, not just vocalists. Maybe some of their competition could have performed some of these songs better – at least by the evaluations of judges and audiences – but it’s arguable that not a single one of them could have written even one of them. Midas Whale both writes and sings wonderfully, which makes Sugar House one tasty home sweet home.
Composers Offer Reasons to Take a New York Musical Theatre Staycation
By Andrew Gans
03 Jul 2015
Playbill.com asked several composers whose work is featured in the annual New York Musical Theatre Festival the number one reason to take a Staycation and see their NYMF production. For more information about the Festival, which runs through the end of the month at various venues around the city, click here.
All week we are rolling out content that will help New Yorkers, visitors and theatre fans make the most out of their NYC experience with our theatregoer's ultimate staycation guides. Check out our theatrical day trip getaways and more!
Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet – Claudio Quest
The number one reason to take a Staycation and see Claudio Quest: Awesome live-action video game sequences. Amazing performers. Very low chance of bumping into Antonin Scalia.
Jon Peter Lewis — Deep Love: A Rock Opera
You should stay in NY this summer and come to NYMF and see Deep Love because, let's face it, you're far more likely to die from malaria abroad than from laughter in a theater.
Jon Peter Lewis
Andrew Sabiston and Tim Williams – Napoleon
You could go to Paris for love and passion. Or the Potomac for power and politics. Or you can have it all right here on 42nd Street in a powerful, passionate and politically charged two hours at Napoleon playing at NYMF July 15-22. If you’ve been hankering for a sleepy cruise, well then, book that vacation and go. But if it’s a thrilling journey you’re after, then make it a staycation and come see master politician Talleyrand, who thinks he can manage the man he’s grooming for greatness. There’s just one thing he can’t control - Napoleon’s obsession with Josephine. In the battle to come, two of the three will be known forever. One will emerge as the devil incarnate... Now, doesn’t that sound better than shuffleboard?
Deborah Haber — Moses Man
Why go anywhere else this summer when seeing Moses Man will take you around the world (all for a 27.50 ticket)! You'll visit Vienna, Milan, Cyprus, Palestine/Israel and Africa. A fabulous summer staycation all in two captivating hours!
Michael Teoli/Elizabeth Searle — Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera
One goes on vacation to get away. Sure, a trip to Cancun or Costa Rica can be a lot of fun… but think of all that goes with it: The packing. Finding someone to babysit/pet-sit. Getting to and from the airport. The expense!!! Not to mention having to convert your money. Worry not as we have the perfect get away all within the confines of New York City! Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera will transport you back to a simpler time in our nation’s history to witness a larger-than-life tale so off-the-wall, that it could only be a true story! The sounds of a virtuosic five-piece rock band and 10 killer singers are your guide through this roller-coaster ride of fear, jealously and murder (okay… maybe not murder…) that pits two young figure skaters toe to toe. Can’t decide between getting tickets to see Phish, Steve Vai, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Depeche Mode, Queen, David Bowie or a Wagner opera? Why not throw it all into a blender and hit frappe as progressive rock, classic rock, funk, opera, jazz, blues, metal and more give you the rush of being at a rock concert, while being told the meaty story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan that you almost forgot? We have sites and sounds to thrill you and chill you (it is the winter Olympics after all), and we promise (at least while the show is running) to give you a true get away to a time and place that will have you yearning for a return.
Noemi de la Puente/David Davila — Manuel Versus The Statue Of Liberty
Ok. The real reason to have a staycation and see this show is how often do you see the Statue of Liberty boxing? Or rapping? If you go to Aruba and you are not around between July 21-27, you will totally miss the patriotic irreverence of this musical comedy about illegal immigration. And, don't go to Arizona because they seriously will never ever ever do this show!
Noemi de la Puente
Yianni Papadimos — The Cobalteans
Vacations allow us to decompress. They let us relax and give us a little more insight into ourselves. That’s why the boys in The Cobalteans return to this particular lake house. It was their vacation spot. They went to unwind. But things haven’t been the same since Gabriel died. On the night of our show, they meet for the first time since their best friend’s death. The four college kids finally face the damning decisions that took their best friend’s life. It might not be the Bahamas, but it’s definitely something New Yorkers won’t want to miss.
Ethan Anderson — HeadVoice
What does HeadVoice have that your vacation to Aruba doesn't? Easy. Don't get us wrong; we love an Aruban steel drum, but HeadVoice's musical score has everything you want to hear in a new musical: jazzy group numbers, hilarious patter songs, beautiful duets, tight harmonies. It tells the story of how one young writer uses the voices in his head to move on in his life. And come on, who doesn't have voices in your head? (Admit it!) So, come see HeadVoice to watch those voices come alive, to see a piano seduce its player, and to embrace everyone's process of moving on. Oh, and don't forget — we have AC.
Oliver Houser, Held Momentarily
Let’s be real, that Puerto Rican resort is overpriced, and too much sun exposure will give you wrinkles. You should instead spend 75 minutes with us on our zany, joyous subway car laughing your a$$ off while also shedding a few tears. And to see the incomparable India Carney (of NBC’s "The Voice") live onstage!
By Olivia Clement
19 Jun 2015
Included in the lineup at the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival is headliner Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera, written by and featuring Jon Peter Lewis, who competed on both "American Idol" and "The Voice" TV shows. The festival kicks off July 7 in various locations throughout the city, running through July 27; other highlights are detailed below.
Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera is a story of love and heartbreak, told entirely through haunting rock music. The New York premiere features music and lyrics by Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood, and a book by Lewis, Hayes and Sherwood. Performances will run July 17-24 at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Signature Center.
Also scheduled at the Alice Griffin theatre is the New York premiere of Moses Man, a project supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. The musical, which chronicles the survival of a Holocaust survivor, features a book and lyrics by Deborah Haber and is based on the true experiences of Haber's parents. Performances will run July 8-13.
Following on from Moses Man will be Napoleon, a re-imagined musical production of Andrew Sabiston and Timothy William’s 1994 Canadian musical of the same name, now told through the eyes of Talleyrand, the political mastermind who helped shape Napoleon’s career. Performances will run July 15-22.
Another highlight includes Single Wide, helmed by director/choreographer Jeff Whiting who worked on Bullets Over Broadway. The show follows the uplifting story of one woman's determination to escape her trailer park life. The production, with book and lyrics by George D. Nelson, and music and lyrics by Jordan Kamalu will play July 17-25 at PTC Performance Space.
The festival will also present Manuel versus The Statue of Liberty, a musical comedy about illegal immigration that was the winner of the 2014 NYMF developmental reading series. The show, inspired by the true story of a Princeton undergrad who was an undocumented child immigrant from the Dominican Republic, features a book by Noemi de la Puente, music by David Davila and Howard Post and lyrics by de la Puente and Davila. Performances will run July 21-27.
For the full NYMF line up and for more information click here.
Midas Whale Rise Again With “Howling at the Moon” – Rolling Stone
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The day that folk-rockers Midas Whale were knocked out of this season's "Voice" Knockout Rounds was The Day The Music Died.
But thankfully, that actually wasn't the death of Midas Whale. Jon Peter Lewis (an "American Idol" top 10 finalist from Season 3) and his musical partner Ryan Hayes have since launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their post-"Voice" debut album, and now they've released their lovely first official music video, for the original song "Howling at the Moon."
Recorded live at Randall Lake's Guthrie Artist Coop in Salt Lake City, the homespun, folksy video is a taste of what might come if Midas Whale reach their $30,000 Kickstarter goal in the next six days. As of this writing, they're less than $5,000 away from hitting that goal, so if you're a fan of what you see and hear below, click HERE to donate. You might as well!
'American Idol,' 'Voice' Alum Jon Peter Lewis Releases New Video With Folk Duo Midas Whale – Hollywood Reporter
Midas Whale may have been eliminated from The Voice way before their time in the "knockout rounds," but the folk duo isn’t going down without a fight.
This week, the Utah-based musicians have released a new video for their song, “Howling at the Moon,” giving fans a taste of what their forthcoming CD will sound like.
The video, which is prominently displayed on the band’s Kickstarter campaign page, features vocalists Jon Peter Lewis, a former top 10 finalist on American Idol, and his bandmate Ryan Hayes, in an old-timey setting recorded live at Randall Lake's Guthrie Artist Coop in Salt Lake City.
“We wanted the video to have a very "timeless" feel to it, and Randall Lake's Guthrie Artist Coop in Salt Lake City has this very old world atmosphere, so luckily he let us in to use the space,” Lewis tells The Hollywood Reporter of the song, which includes both vocalists doing their best wolfman howling. “If you look close you can see that he makes a cameo in the video."
With seven days left until the end of Midas Whale's Kickstarter campaign, Lewis said the group felt the time was right to put out new material.
“When we began our Kickstarter campaign, Ryan and I both became keenly aware of our lack of original content available to people. And, although we'd been writing constantly before and after our journey on The Voice, we needed something to show for our efforts,” he said. “So, we sat down with Skylar Nielsen from Vita Brevis Films and came up with the idea of shooting a live performance of one of our originals.”
If the group meets its goal of $30,000 on Kickstarter, the duo will be able to see a full CD of material come to fruition.
“Hopefully people will get sense from the video of the type of songs they'll hear on the upcoming album,” he said.
Video Clip: http://www.msn.com/en-us/video/watch/jon-peter-lewis-branches-out-to-broadway/vi-AAcXMFu
‘Voice’ Duo Midas Whale Bring Their Golden Touch to Yahoo! – Rolling Stone
Midas Whale, aka former "American Idol" finalist Jon Peter Lewis and his songwriting partner, geologist Ryan Hayes, were one of the most interesting and unique contenders on "The Voice" Season 4. Sadly, Team Adam's awesome twosome did not go as far on the show as I would have liked…but happily, Midas fans like myself didn't have to wait long to hear new music from these guys.
Almost immediately after Jon and Ryan were tragically knocked out in "The Voice's" Knockout Rounds, they hit the Interweb, launching a successful Kickstarter campaign (which met, then surpassed, its $30,000 goal way ahead of schedule) and releasing a charmingly homespun music video for "Howling at the Moon."
When Midas Whale visited Yahoo! Music recently to play a couple other new tunes and give a hilarious interview (covering such hot topics as rock operas, puppet shows, death, the Swon Brothers, geology, and Pinocchio), Jon got serious and revealed: "['The Voice' powers-that-be] haven't gotten in our way. They've allowed us to grow as artists more than I think any other show [including 'Idol'] ever would have."
Midas Whale's entire delightful interview is well worth watching, but be sure to play part 2 for exclusive, exciting news about a new project they're working on with some fellow "Voice" alums. If you have "Deep Love" for Midas Whale and "The Voice," you're going to be very pleased.
'American Idol' Alum Jon Peter Lewis Advances on 'The Voice'; Hails Show's 'Nurturing' Nature – The Hollywood Reporter
Competing as part of the duo Midas Whale, the season-three grad makes history as the first "Idol" top-10 finalist to advance on the NBC series.
While viewers of The Voice were busy clapping along to the folk duo Midas Whale during season four's blind auditions, astute fans of American Idol may have recognized a familiar face in the group: season-three alum Jon Peter Lewis.
The 33-year old eighth-place finisher is making history of sorts as the first former Idol contestant from the top 10 to compete on both shows. Former Idol semifinalists Frenchie Davis and Jamar Rogers also appeared on the The Voice.
Lewis said he is happy to be on the NBC show and noted there are specific differences in the program’s overall vibe and mission from the iconic FOX show.
"What I love about The Voice is it’s a great place for artists. I was very impressed with how much time they spent with us before the audition and keep getting us ready. I also love that you don’t have to worry about being in front of somebody and having somebody ridicule you in front of the entire country," he said. "There is nothing about The Voice that is insulting to the people on stage. It’s a nurturing environment for talent. And I think that’s nice. Nobody is going to be mean, and there is a nice repertoire among the coaches on stage. They are having a good time with each other."
The Lincoln, Nebraska native formed Midas Whale with friend and collaborator Ryan Hayes, who penned the folk-opera “Deep Love,” and another pal, Garrett Sherwood. Both men plan to showcase in Los Angeles later this year. He met Hayes in Rexburg, Idaho at a time in his life when he considered leaving the music business altogether.
The singer had previously released two independent albums, Stories from Hollywood and Break the Silence, through Cockaroo Entertainment in conjunction with Adrenaline Music Group. He also hosted an internet show, American Nobody, and guest-blogged several Idol-related columns. But Lewis returned to Idaho with the idea of finishing school -- until he got up at an open mic night and met Hayes, who had personal drama of his own after breaking up with a girlfriend. Hayes poured his misery into his folk opera, impressing the former Idol.
"We met in 2009, and later that year, he had the idea to write a folk-opera. My first impression was, ‘Good luck with that,' because writing a whole piece is a monumental undertaking," he said. Six months later, Hayes showed Lewis a full draft. "I was blown away," said JPL.
While working on the show, the two often wrote together as a duo and were convinced by friends to try out for The Voice. Lewis, who Simon Cowell once famously said “looks like a pen salesman,” said he was at first "skeptical" to return to the reality-show arena, but changed his mind after some reflection.
"Having been there before, I knew what was in store for me. It was a high-pressure environment, and sometimes it’s easy in this type of environment to distort a musical experience," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "Music is so subjective. So when you are in competition, it’s so easy to say that I can do this many runs, so therefore one plus one plus one equals three, so I’m better than you. It’s not really about that. I was hesitant to walk into another environment that might be that. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what these types of competitions are phenomenal at doing is giving new acts exposure, and this duo that Ryan and I have done is absolutely new, and we are looking for some exposure, and there couldn’t be a better way for us to jumpstart a new project."
It has been 10 years since the Rexburg, Idaho, resident graced the Idol stage, entertaining fans with Elvis Presley’s "A Little Less Conversation" and "Jailhouse Rock" in a season that featured winner Fantasia Barrino and future Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. Hudson even provided back-up vocals for Lewis on that summer’s Idol tour, as the singer rocked the house with a spirited version of Outkast’s "Hey, Ya."
STORY: 'American Idol' Finalists: Where Are They Now?
So how nervous was Lewis when, nearly 30 seconds into the duo’s performance of Johnny Cash’s "Folsom Prison Blues," none of the coaches -- Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine or Blake Shelton -- had turned their chairs around?
"I was having minor panic attacks in the beginning of the song," he confessed. "We made it through the entire first verse without anybody turning around. I started to feel flush in the face and kind of panicky and starting to dread the moment."
But then, an unlikely chair turned: Usher's. "I was preparing for anything, but I knew we had our moment coming, and it came," Hayes said.
So why didn’t they go with Usher, or country guy Shelton, when it came time to choose? Hayes said that, in the end, Levine made more sense.
"Blake didn’t make a case for himself. His first question was, 'What genre are you guys?' and that didn’t make sense. Folk music has been around longer than country," Hayes said. "Adam showed an elevated sense of understanding and awareness, and by listening to him, it seemed he had a plan for what he wanted to do with us. He’s a band guy and he’s a person that loves to do arrangements, he likes to get creative and do things like that. He’s also a charming guy and understanding and I felt like he had a path that we could walk down and take us further into the show."
The choice to join Levine’s team is another historical moment for the show -- up until this season, the Maroon 5 frontman had never had a duo on his team before.
"We’re making history," cracked Hayes. "We’re the first duo Adam ever had, first American Idol finalist and also the first accordion worn on stage."
Another first for Hayes, who said he doesn’t watch reality television and in fact kind of "despises" it: he was pleasantly surprised by the show’s warm vibe. Said Hayes: "The production team made it clear from day one that they weren’t going to tolerate any backbiting or any of that competitive, but negative behavior. From the beginning, there were people who were sent home because they had this terrible nature to quarrel. What you have now is a group of people who are serious about music. They are not exploiting some teenager who doesn’t know who they are yet -- it’s about people engaged in what they know, what they are and already developed and jump into something bigger."
Critic's Choice Review - Billboard – Billboard Magazine
"Silence is likely to make one-time fans take note once again." - Jill Menze
Break The Silence Review – USA Today
"Impressive... JPL seems to have gained a lot of assurance both as a singer and a songwriter." - Ken Barnes
Break The Silence Review – People Magazine
"Lewis' artistry shines ... Break The Silence is arguably on the of the best pop-rock CD's of the year." - Monica Rizzo
"California Christmas" Single Review – Billboard Magazine
"American Idol favorite, Jon Peter Lewis, swipes at the winter chill in
'California Christmas,' an instant classic which conjures Beach Boys meets Phil Spector." -- Chuck Taylor, Billboard Magazine
Stories From Hollywood Review – People Magazine
"Don't take a road trip without this CD. Jon Peter Lewis has many stories to share - all worth listening to." - Monica Rizzo, People magazine
Stories From Hollywood Review – Billboard Magazine
"Very Fine Album." Fred Bronson, Billboard Magazine
Stories From Hollywood Review – Extended Play
"Ranging from alternative rock to pop to soul, "Hollywood" is one of the stronger efforts to emerge from a male AI castoff." - George Paul, Extended Play
Stories From Hollywood Review – MTV
"Stories from Hollywood is a collection of instantly infectious songs with clever, provocative lyrics. In other words, it's the sort of album you wished more former 'Idols' dared to make." - Corey Moss MTV
Stories From Hollywood Review – Musical Ramblings
"...it's one of those rare CDs that I can actually listen to over and over again, continue to enjoy, and still get something new out of it with each rotation. If you're looking for light fluff, then you might want to listen elsewhere. This is one CD purchase you should make...you'll understand why Jon is, indeed, the "Indie Idol." - Veteren DJ JD Matthews
Stories From Hollywood Review – Don Grierson Capitol/Epic Records Former Head of A&R
"Jon Peter Lewis has real charisma as a person, a performer and recording artist. The songs are honest yet accessible and Jon sings them with warmth and conviction." -- Don Grierson, Former Head of A&R at Capitol and Epic Records