The Ten Tenors Renew Their Vows With Flagler in Two Broadway-Themed Shows at the Auditorium Saturday
FlaglerLive | April 3, 2014
With their ever increasing international popularity, there’s plenty of wonder following The Ten Tenors from their native Australia across the continents, especially considering their humble origin: a handful of Aussie blokes at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, throwing their otherworldly talents together to earn a round of beers some 15 years ago. And now this. Ten guys, each capable of reaching the rarest and most awkward of octaves—the tenor is the highest singing male voice—all hailing from the same far-off continent and all actively engaged in what’s among the most exciting and loneliest of lifestyles: hotel-hopping and performing around the world.
Equally surprising is the bond the group has formed with the Flagler community through the Flagler Auditorium, where they return for what’s become an annual pilgrimage, this time for their “Ten Tenors On Broadway” back-to-back shows on April 5. It’s a completely new performance that for the first time brings in six string players (all woman). They’ll be performing Broadway’s biggest hits, songs from such musicals as Spamalot, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jersey Boys, Oklahoma and Newsies.
Dave Newington, who’s on his first official tour with the group as their pianist, says they added the string players because “Broadway music warrants that special extra live performance-theatrical element.”
The Ten’s last few tours “really focused on The Ten Tenors’ reputation for being rock stars of the opera,” he says, “taking what it means to be a tenor and turning that on its head. This time around, we’re presenting a more suave, charming show that evokes all the feeling of old-school Broadway glamour whilst retaining the thing that audiences love best about The Ten Tenors—warm Aussie humor and a cracking night out.”
Their shows are famous for being “crackling” fun, so try picturing them off stage, Newington says. “It’s more fun than anyone could imagine or prepare for.”
A highlight of this tour, Newington says, was their appearance in March on the Today Show with Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda in front of millions of viewers. “If you can imagine 10 dapper blokes and two gorgeous hosts, arm in arm, doing the trusty old cheerleading maneuver to the Frank Sinatra classic New York, New York…’These, little, town…… blues! (kick!)…. (kick!)…. are longing (kick!) to stay (kick!)…. (kick!)’….Smooth, lads.”
He remembers the first time he was really taken with the group, specifically Verdi’s “The Anvil Chorus,” well before he joined. “I had to pull over to rock out in my car in Melbourne and was instantly taken by the artistic merit of the group.”
The Ten first came to the United States about 12 years ago, and they’ve had a relationship with the auditorium since then, says Lisa McDevitt, Flagler Auditorium director. The group has come so often, she can’t remember how many times—11 or 12, she estimates. Because of their popularity, theirs is one of the only double performances the auditorium does. The theater holds 1,000-1,100 seats. The shows usually sell out.
Two years ago, when a great flood–by North Florida standards–swamped the auditorium, and the Ten had to reschedule their first show of the Flagler season, out of sheer Aussie good-naturedness, they prolonged their stay so they could do the second show. McDevitt and the rest of the auditorium family had the task of entertaining the boys, so they had a family night campfire and taught the guys how to make s’mores, which was something the Australians had never heard of.
All auditorium performers get the same treatment, McDevitt notes. Why? “You know life on the road is not always glamorous.”
Newington says the group is not pioneering the classical cross-over genre—some of those names include Leonard Bernstein and Rogers and Hammerstein—but that doesn’t take away from the “sheer power” of their music. “It’s cinematic, epic, theatrical,” he says. “It can have edge but also polish. It can really evoke emotion and communicate the message of a song really efficiently, even if the message is simply to enjoy life and ‘Don’t Stop Believing!’—music theatre at its optimum.”
Perhaps the binding glue between a group like The Ten and the auditorium and its audience is the humility. “They’re humble and we’re humble,” McDevitt says. “They’re just very humble young men, you know?” she says. Sadly, there’ll be no extra hanging around this year. Perhaps not all is lost. “I bet they’ll arrive early to get their fill of s’mores.”
As an added bonus, the chorus students at Flagler Palm Coast High School, which also uses the auditorium, can get in for free, McDevitt says.
The Ten Tenors on Broadway at the Flagler Auditorium for two back-to-back performances, Saturday April 5, at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $42 for adults and $32 for students. For more information, visit the auditorium’s website or call 386/437.7547.