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Blending opera and rock, Jersey Tenors head to New Hope


They are high-toned hometown Jersey boys, hitting the high notes in all the key places.

And one of those sites will be in New Hope, where the Jersey Tenors will bring the trill of it all to the Bucks County Playhouse, making the trek for a quartet of concerts March 15 to 17.

They are not Luciano, Placido and Jose, but Brian (Noonan), Vaden (Thurgood), Brandon (Lambert) and Michael (Pilato) have made a name for themselves making music their metier.

The Jersey Tenors have a big tent to offer, rotating rounds of rock and opera with a special focus on Jersey residents/natives who have made it big, such as Sinatra, Bon Jovi and Springsteen.

And lending his voice to this tuneful musical tapestry — the tenors, all with New Jersey roots, have toured the world in concert — is Noonan, talented not only on pitch-perfect vocals but in pitching business: He is creative director of the group, and has worked his pitch developing such arts organizations as The Unexpected Boys and the Off-Broadway Group as well as producing regional theater events.

He represents, in a way, both faces of theater — on- and offstage — a natural bonafide bifurcated producer/performer. He has played both the Phantom and Raoul on Broadway and nationally in “Phantom of the Opera.” He has also done double duty as the two-faced “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

“There is a kind of Jersey pride that follows entertainers around,” Noonan says of the large assortment of musical Jersey giants in the business.

The entertainer/entrepreneur has discovered over a three-decade career that there is a certain higher octane appeal in high-octave performers; his successful Jersey Tenors rotate among nine members in the group.

Indeed, in raising their voices and raising the roofs at concerts, the Jersey Tenors quartet — no strangers to Bucks, where they have made a number of appearances over the years although this gig marks their BCP debut — treats audiences as extended family at a rather large Thanksgiving gathering...without the arguments.

“We create conversations with our audiences; by the fourth or fifth song, we start to talk to them — and, although our show is scripted — they start to talk back to us.”

More than good vibrations — among his credits, Noonan has staged Beach Boys tribute acts — “it all turns into a rock concert.”

Even one featuring the ultimate glam rocker...Figaro? It all works, says Noonan of the rock/opera crossover.

And once he and the group cross the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge into Bucks, Noonan knows what to expect.

“The energy in New Hope is incredible; we get each other,” he said.

He also gets invitations to perform before presidents and at special events. At 57, Noonan says he sees no slowdown in a career devoted to upbeat planning.

Indeed, this tenured Jersey Tenor and titan of tribute bands, gives props to a title that espouses eternal hope. Such inspiration comes from the name of the “Phantom of the Opera” sequel: “Love Never Dies.”

No, when it comes to his personal life, soaring business career, friendships in the business, taking the act on the road...that title says it all, says Noonan: Love never dies when you enjoy what you’re doing, says this tenor of the times that he’ll never take for granted.

Michael Elkin is a playwright, theater critic and novelist who lives in Abington. He writes columns about theater and the arts.

Info If You Go

The Jersey Tenors, featuring Brian Noonan, Vaden Thurgood, Brandon Lambert and Michael Pilato, will take to the stage of the Bucks County Playhouse for four performances March 15 to 17.

The quartet, all with Jersey roots, offers a mashup of rock and opera, from Springsteen to Bon Jovi to Figaro. For tickets and information, call 215-862-2121.

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