Up on the Roof at Florida Studio Theatre

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Brandon Wardell, Jannie Jones, Joey Panek, and Jaquelyne Paige are featured in Up On The Roof at FST. Photo courtesy of courtesy of FST.

In today’s world, chart-topping singles can come from truly anywhere: the laptop of a college student, the social media page of an up and coming songwriter or the childhood bedroom of an unknown creative spirit. The digital age has truly expanded the music industry in a way that has never been seen before–with the stroke of a few keys on a laptop the basis of a hit track can be born.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the period between Elvis Presley’s Army enlistment in 1958 and the British Invasion in 1964, a unique subgenre of pop music dominated the charts: the Brill Building sound. The subgenre, named after Manhattan’s Brill Building, was born out of the culmination of prominent singers and songwriters that all worked and recorded in the Brill Building at the same time and is the focus of Florida Studio Theatre’s cabaret, Up On The Roof by Rebecca and Richard Hopkins. “Rebecca, who has been the lead developer of this project, based it off of people who came through the Brill Building, such as Carole King, Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin and more of the greats of that era,” says Richard Hopkins. “It is a show that’s filled with one hit after another, with songs like “A Teenager in Love”, “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “River Deep Mountain High”. It’s amazing to think that these people were all working together in the same building and influencing each other.”

Outside of the recognizability factor of these classic hits, Hopkins was also drawn to the material because of how it reflected the lives of the songwriters. As they grew older and experienced more and more of the world, their bubblegum pop gradually took a tonal shift. “The interesting thing about this era is that the artists mature. When they were first writing, they were writing songs about adolescent love, however, as they grew up they began to write other material, like Carole King’s “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, which is sort of a cynical take on her experience of moving out of the city and into the suburbs,” says Hopkins. “It’s an amazing progression from these teen pop songs to songs like “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Walk On By”, which is a more mature breakup song that reflects the songwriters going through heartbreak and divorce. Rebecca has done such a good job of using the show to track the maturation of many of the key songwriters of the era and how that affected their music.”

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

Pictured: Brandon Wardell, Jannie Jones, Joey Panek, and Jaquelyne Paige are featured in Up On The Roof at FST. Photo courtesy of courtesy of FST.

To learn more, visit.

« View The Friday Oct 13, 2023 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Jimmy Failla Brings New Comedy Show to the Van Wezel

Jimmy Failla Brings New Comedy Show to the Van Wezel

Feb 23, 2024

Circus of the Voices Showcases Dynamic Arts Collaboration

Circus of the Voices Showcases Dynamic Arts Collaboration

Feb 23, 2024

Sarasota Ballet Alum Shines in Jagged Little Pill

Sarasota Ballet Alum Shines in Jagged Little Pill

Dylan Campbell | Feb 23, 2024

Sarasota Concert Association Presents International Chopin Piano Competition Winner Bruce Liu on March 29

Sarasota Concert Association Presents International Chopin Piano Competition Winner Bruce Liu on March 29

Feb 16, 2024