You Can Still Catch FST's New York State of Mind--All the Hits of Billy Joel with the Uptown Boys

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Michael Fasano and Sergi Robles performing the hits of Billy Joel. Photo courtesy of FST.

This past Tuesday, August 30th, Florida Studio Theatre announced that they would be extending the run of their Summer Cabaret Series hit production, New York State of Mind - All the Hits of Billy Joel with The Uptown Boys by one week. New York State of Mind, an original revue created by choreographer Alex Aguilar and music supervisor John De Simini, who together have 40 years of cumulative experience working on Broadway, will play through October 9th, 2022.

“We like to say that it’s Jersey Boys meets Billy Joel. It has the swagger of Broadway and has a little bit of the New York, New Jersey vibe, but instead of the Frankie Valli catalog, we’ve kind of substituted that format with a Billy Joel catalog for a fresh take, says Aguilar. “ As great as the Frankie Vallie shows are, it’s kind of a saturated market. Billy Joel wrote so many different styles of music that span across generations which makes for a really entertaining show.

Part of bearing the responsibility of performing the different styles of Billy Joel’s music is knowing when to perform which songs. “A lot of it is about just trying to keep the show moving so there’s not a lot of stalling out so to speak. With Billy Joel’s music that involves separating a lot of his ballads, even though his ballads are some of his most favorite songs,” says Aguilar. “If you did a 90-minute show of just his ballads everyone would be asleep. For us, a lot of it was mixing up the styles of song throughout the show, so the audience feels like they’re going for a ride and by the time it’s done they can’t believe that the time just flew by.”

For De Simini, as the music supervisor, the creative process involves more massaging around the traditional arrangements of Billy Joel’s music, instead of creating an entirely new piece. “Why try to fix what isn’t broken? A lot of the time we try to keep Billy Joel true to his musical arrangements, but even so, my half of the creative process looks something like this: I’ll make an arrangement, mock it up, send it over to Alex who will add the staging and make any tweaks, and then we’ll set it up to be recorded,” says De Simini.

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 North Palm Avenue, Sarasota, Box Office: 941-366-9000.

Pictured: Michael Fasano and Sergi Robles performing the hits of Billy Joel. Photo courtesy of FST.

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