Toxic Audio
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Toxic Audio


Band Pop Comedy


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The best kept secret in music


"Paul Shaffer"

"Pitch-perfect humor! I'm a Toxic fan!"
- THE LATE SHOW with David Letterman

"William Shatner"

"Tell the cast I loved it" It's so original"
- Emmy Winning Actor

"Liza Minelli"

"You all blew me AWAY !!!" - Award Winning Actress/Entertainer


"They mount musical miracles!
- New York, New York

"Marty Arnold"

Five unique voices comprise Toxic Audio, whose Loudmouth fairly explodes with vocal pyrotechnics, rhythm and comedy

“This is what they call classical music, isn’t it?” Marilyn Monroe once remarked on screen, when Tom Ewell pumped up the Rachmaninoff wooing. “I could tell because there’s no vocal.”

Life, and blondes, were so simple 50 years ago. One can only wonder what MM would have made of the five-headed monster named Toxic Audio that has taken over the John Houseman Theater in a show called Loudmouth. It is all vocal, yet there’s not a spoken word the whole 90 minutes. Human voices stand in for an entire orchestra, doing Golden Oldies with eerie exactness.

A unique theatrical experience, you could call it. Fact is, it has a new Drama Desk Award to that effect, and still you wish the adjective came in gradations. Something is “unique,” or it isn’t – and Toxic Audio is, in spades, unlike anything you’ve ever seen – er, heard.

It’s the musical amalgam of five gifted, single-minded performers, ranging in age from 28 to 38, in states from New York to Texas and in tastes from show tunes to acid rock. Collectively, they form a human juke box that spins out – by hairpin turns – “Stand by Me,” Neal Hefti, seventies’ disco, Carole King, TV-show themes, rap, the Beatles, jazz, and rock. They’ve played planes, ships, fairs, “Italian resorts” a la Orlando, theme parks, subway jam sessions, and now they’ve entered the best of all previous worlds – New York theatre.

Rene’ Ruiz, the Alexander of this band and its mother of invention, hails from Austin, which, he ruefully notes, didn’t become a musical capital till he left town to find a career in music. He found it in Orlando, singing with a cappella groups working the local theme parks. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. From the talented pickings there – as surely as James Stewart did in The Glen Miller Story – he assembled The Sound.

Jeremy James, Paul Sperrazza and Ruiz started harmonizing as three-fourths of a Forever Plaid that Ruiz directed in Orlando. James came with a bride also in the business, Shalisa James, and a second female completed the act six years ago; late last year, as if to demonstrate how infectious intermarriage is in the group, she wed the show’s sound designer/technical director, John A. Valines III, and became Michelle Maihot-Valines. Because of his crucial and creative contribution to the act, he counts as The Sixth Toxin.

“This show is pretty much a product of all of us,” Ruiz declares up front, “but I originally thought of doing a concept show based on the human voice. I was inspired by [shows] like Stomp and what they were doing with percussion. And Tap Dogs. And Blast! All took art forms that had been around for centuries and reinvented them in a theatrical setting.”

Theme-park downtime lent itself naturally to after-hours jamming, and Ruiz had the principals to improvise the sounds he had in mind. “I was interested in just investigating what else the voice can do to create drum sounds, instrument sounds, things like that, so the five of us would sit down and explore different ideas. What would happen if we tried to create a song entirely of coughing and choking noises? Basically, I’d say, ’Here’s an idea. I want to explore this, or I want to take this juncture at this in the show.’ And these people would take it and run with it. It has been a great collaboration -- and exciting, because you never know what five wild, creative individual minds will come up with.”

Every performer has his specialty, and the wealth is evenly distributed. Mailhot-Valines, whose taste in music runs rangily from Prince to The Mills Brothers, brings a jazz edge to the show. Plus, her language skills allow “Autumn Leaves” to fall in eight different languages: English, French, Korean, German, scat, Spanish, Japanese and Tagalog.

“Any idea you see on the stage has had the input of all six of us,” she says, including her hubby in that number. “One person usually sparks the idea, but it’s built on, like clay.”

Case in point: a scene in which four cast members come on with a specific sick sound -- a cough, a hack, a sneeze, a hiccup – and all come to rest in the fifth. “That was actually Jeremy’s idea,” recalls Sperrazza, who wears the maladies hilariously. “We collaborated on it because you can’t cough and hawk at the same time. You have to exhale, sniff sniff twice, which is an inhale, ah-choo, which is an exhale, and hiccup, which is an inhale.”

Musically, Sperrazza specializes in drums, electric guitars and jazz trumpets. “I do a bit of everything when it comes to the vocal drumming,” he admits. “There’s a handful of guys in the U.S. who take it to a real art form. Bobby McFerrin, the ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ guy, brought vocal percussion to the forefront. He does everything vocally, a one-man band.”

- Playbill

"Jeff Kalpak"

TOXIC AUDIO is the perfect corporate act. Unique talent with an electrifying presentation combined with professionalism and flexibility. I look forward to seeing them on site as they ALWAYS deliver a flawless show. They are a Producer’s dream!
- Barkley Kalpak Associates, Inc.

"Dr. Stephen Zegree"

"You'll laugh, you'll cry (tears of PURE joy!!)..., and best of all you will be blown away by Toxic Audio's show.... guaranteed to appeal to all audiences, all ages." - Western Michigan University


Toxic Audio
Captive Audience
Word of Mouth


Feeling a bit camera shy


Toxic Audio formed in 1998 for the Orlando International Fringe Festival and their show caught the attention of Disney executives who hired Toxic Audio to perform at Disney/MGM Studios. Toxic Audio appeared for a year performing six shows a day for crowds of 3000 and more.
In 2004, Toxic Audio took their show to New York City where they made their mark on the Off-Broadway scene as one of the most original and fun productions going. They won the 2004 Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Unique Theatrical Experience” and presented more than 200 performances at the John Houseman Theater. During its New York City run, the show was rated Number One in the WALL STREET JOURNAL/ZAGAT THEATER SURVEY surpassing Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. They have also performed extended runs in Las Vegas.

Toxic Audio is a five-member (Jeremy James, Shalisa James, René Ruiz, Paul Sperrazza and Michelle Mailhot-Valines) theatrical vocal band (acappella) that uses no instruments other than the human voice to electrify audiences with tight harmonies, improv comedy, vocal sound effects, and unique visuals.

Their repertoire is an eclectic mix of musical styles including pop, jazz, hip-hop, and even country. Using only their mouths they can mimic drums, guitars and horns and even turn a cough and a sneeze into an amazing groovy back beat.