The Doo Wop Project • Set to Melt the Walls with Sweet Harmony

Innovative Stylizations of World Class Vocal Group Set to Perform At Midland Center for the Arts February 19th

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, National Music, Artist Feature, Theatre,   By: Robert E Martin

01st February, 2022     0

What would Maroon 5 sound like if they had lived in the Doo Wop era? The answer to that question can be found when discovering the exquisite vocal stylizations of The Doo Wop Project, who will be appearing live in the auditorium at Midland Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 19th at 7:30 PM.

The Doo Wop Project brings unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate—and in some cases entirely reimagine—the greatest music in American pop and rock history. Featuring Broadway stars from the original productions of Jersey Boys, A Bronx Tale, and Motown: the Musical!, The Doo Wop Project (DWP) traces the evolution of Doo Wop from the classic sound of five guys singing tight harmonies on a street corner to the biggest hits on the radio today, taking you on a journey from foundational tunes of groups like The Crests, The Belmonts and The Flamingos through the sounds of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and The Four Seasons all the way to “DooWopified” versions of modern musicians like Michael Jackson, Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars.

The brainchild of actor Dominic Nolfi, who most recently performed on Broadway in Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale - The Musical, directed by Robert DeNiro and Jerry Zaks, Dominic was also an original cast member of Jersey Boys (Grammy Award for Best Cast Album), and can be heard on all three Broadway soundtracks.  

Born and raised in San Francisco where he studied youth acting at the acclaimed American Conservatory Theatre, Dominic also studied Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory and attended the Boston Conservatory on scholarship where he graduated with a BFA in Theater. Upon graduation Dominic joined the European production of Grease and it was there that he met his future wife Sonia Iannetti.

When asked to explain the illustrious origins of The Doo Wop Project, Dominic explains how it essentially evolved out of a desire to harvest the full potential from the inspiring musical associations that were forged between various cast members during their days spent perfecting their musical delivery rendering performances for these early Broadway hits.   “Basically, the group formed on 52nd Street when a couple of us were in the cast of the original Broadway company of Jersey Boys,he explains.

“We spent a lot of time in that show and became very close and saw our journey with the show coming to an end, so started thinking how can we keep it going? We loved singing together and knew from the success of that production that there was an audience for both that era and style of music, so that’s how it all began.”

“I’m a theatre guy and look Italian-American, so was always getting cast in productions like Grease and Jersey Boys. I always enjoyed singing that particular style of music, but really learned about Doo Wop through film,” he continues. “Some of my favorite films are Goodfellas and A Bronx Tale, and both of those films have wonderful soundtracks.  I’d never heard the song Speedo by The Cadillacs until I saw Goodfellas, and I’ve always liked listening to Oldies music on the radio.”

In order to expand the parameters of the Doo Wop idiom, Dominic and his fellow vocalists decided to also start taking contemporary hit songs from modern artists and transform them. “While we definitely take pride in brushing off Doo Wop classics from the 1950s and presenting them, which is what the audience enjoys; we also take contemporary songs and turn them into Doo Wop songs. Our bass vocalist, Wayne Cooper, came up with the term of ‘DooWop-ified’, which is when you take a current song by someone like Bruno Mars and turn it into a Doo Wop song. You DooWopify it."

With 9 to 10 people in the group, The Doo Wop Project usually tours with 5 singers and 4 or 5-piece backing band. “We’re actually somewhat of a collective, so the line-up changes,” he explains. “We all live in New York City and are auditioning actors, so if someone gets a TV show commitment and can’t make one of our performances, we’ll bring in his understudy, as the entire collective is made of Broadway veterans.”

“In normal times we do 80 to 100 shows a year,” notes Dominic. “Some of them are symphonic shows that are charted to be backed by a 55-piece orchestra, As a matter of fact, in June of this year we’ll be performing in Michigan with The Detroit Symphony.  We played in China in 2019 and sold out three nights a row in Beijing, and I thought we’d be going back to Asia, but then the Pandemic hit.  Mostly we perform in the United States & Canada.”

When asked about the most challenging component involved with The Doo Wop Group, Dominic references adjusting to the different sounds and acoustics of each theatre they perform at. “Each theatre has different acoustics,” he reflects. “Some are old movie theaters and not meant for live performance, so soundcheck is very important for us. Usually we sound check with one of our acapella songs to get a feel about the space we’re walking into and make sure we can all hear each other, because we need to blend and can’t have one voice louder than another. Once the sound we need is achieved the rest of the evening is pretty much gravy.”

“What we all love about Doo Wop is that its uniquely American music,” concludes Dominic. “Many people have advised us to go to Western Europe and pitch them on staging some of our shows, so when we did they said while they loved the sound of our music, they were rebuilding in the 1950s so unless American radio was available, nobody in Western Europe heard enough of this music to be familiar enough with it to support a commercial concert.  Although, they did love Grease  in Germany.”

Before concluding our conversation, and realizing that Dominic was fortunate enough to actually work in a play directed by Robert DeNiro, I cannot resist asking him what that experience was like. “It was really fun,” he replies. “He is a very generous person. He doesn’t say a lot so when he does offer his opinion you listen.  I was lucky enough to share a few moments with him that I’ll always treasure. He definitely inspired me to become an actor, so being in the same room with him those months were special. He got involved with the choreography of teaching us how to stomp the correct way. And Chazz Palminteri was amazing to work with as well, seeing as what was difficult about A Bronx Tale was bridging that gap between the movie and the musical.  Both of those guys were generous craftsman who know how to tell stories. I soaked up everything I could with them.”

The Doo Wop Project brings unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate—and in some cases entirely reimagine—some of the greatest music in American pop and rock.  It’s sure to be a fascinating, fun-filled trip you won’t want to miss. 

Tickets begin as low as $26.50 and are now available by visiting




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