The Jersey Boys jumped effortlessly from their signature tight harmonies into the world of the legendary Hall & Oates as cast members from the Broadway hit rocked a standing-room-only benefit August 21, 2011, for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.Backed by an impressive five-piece band, the talented singers spent their night off rolling through 11 Hall & Oates hits as an enthralled audience hummed, clapped and danced along to songs like “Kiss on My List,” “Rich Girl” and “Private Eyes.”
Dominic Nolfi, who plays bad boy Tommy DeVito in the show, set the mood for the evening with the opening number, delivering a grooving rendition of “Maneater,” the biggest hit of Hall & Oates’ illustrious career of seven platinum and six gold albums.
Hall & Oates scored their first Billboard hit in the mid 1970s and eventually topped the charts with six No. 1 singles.
Proving the “rock and soul” duo’s multi-generational appeal, Jarrod Spector, Broadway’s current Frankie Valli, pointed out that his song choice for the evening, “Kiss on My List,” topped the Billboard charts the year he was born.
Before launching into a memorable version of “Say It Isn’t So,” longtime cast member Peter Gregus tossed souvenirs into the audience: fake mustaches that poked fun at John Oates’ infamous bushy crumb catcher.
Facial hair aside, the duo knew how to write hits. Billboard ranked them No. 15 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the No. 1 duo. Their music has been sampled by artists from Nelly Furtado to Kanye West, and they enjoyed a resurgence in films like Runaway Bride and The Wedding Singer and on TV’s Will & Grace.
The tribute evening was expertly hosted and organized by Jersey Boys swing Taylor Sternberg, who also closed out the show with the 1981 hit “You Make My Dreams Come True.”
Miles Aubrey, who plays Norm Waxman eight times a week, served as music director and played a mean Taylor guitar.
Other Jersey Boys cast members who brought the Hall & Oates songbook to life included Brad Bass, Erik Bates, John Edwards, Peter Gregus, Dominic Scaglione and Sara Schmidt.
“Hall and Oates wrote some of the most memorable, sing-along hits of all time,” Sternberg said. “They are both big fans of our show and they’re over the moon about this concert. For the cast, it’s a tremendous opportunity to have fun singing songs of a different era while raising money for an organization that we all care so much about.”
In addition to donations taken at the door, the cast auctioned off a one-of-a-kind poster from the event, signed by all the evening’s performers and musicians, to benefit Broadway Cares.