Five teenage boys, already card-carrying members of the actor unions, Equity and SAG, have come together as Dream Street, a musical group that plans to break through simultaneously on radio and on Broadway.
Former Wall Street executive Brian Lukow (who focuses on music) and his partner, tap dancer Louis Baldonieri (who provides theatrical savvy) are the executives behind the project. Lukow and Baldonieri's strategy is to cast with triple threats up front, then market the unique entertainment package as an integrated whole, with a Broadway show written around the group's first radio hit.
While ambitious and hard to imagine at first, the team of Lukow and Baldonieri has enlisted top drawer support from Lava/Atlantic Records president Jason Flom, who has signed the hot musical group. Flom is the executive behind the successful music careers of Kid Rock, Sugar Ray and Matchbox 20. Adding to the nascent group's musical cachet is ASCAP's award-winning, British songwriting team, Cosgrove and Clark, who have already written and produced several tracks with the band.
The Cosgrove and Clark songs that have been recorded by Dream Street include the opening number, "Let's Get Funky Tonight," "I Miss You," "Taking Me Over," "Feel the Rain" (with a sample of the Beatles' "Rain"), "This Time," "Gotta Get the Girl," and "Jennifer Goodbye," which was written by Cosgrove and Clark with Brian Lukow. There are two other songs in the can, "Someone to Hold Me Tonight" by Gicho/Soderquist and "Matter of Time" by Reeves Watson and Mr. Mig.
Dream Street's first appearance on Broadway will be at a two-day benefit this month for the organization Variety: The Children's Charity. The first engagement at the Criterion Center (former home of the Roundabout Theatre Company) on Dec. 18 has sold out, but Baldonieri told Playbill On-Line tickets are still available for the Dec. 19 show. Dream Street comprises 14-year-old Matt Ballinger (from Broadway's Sound of Music, and The King and I), 14-year-old Christopher Trousdale (from Broadway's Sound of Music and Les Miserables), 14-year-old Gregory Rapaso (invited by Priscilla Presley to performed at Graceland on the 20th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death), Frank Galasso (starred as Martin Short's son in Disney's feature film, "Jungle to Jungle") and 12-year-old Jesse McCartney (from ABC Television's "All My Children" and the recent Loew's Theatre "Food Voucher" trailer/ad).
The Broadway incarnation of Dream Street would run 12-16 weeks Baldonieri said, and would be based on a fictionalized story involving the band's struggle to get started. So far, with final casting and a few workshops behind them, Dream Street's show has been choreographed by Claudia Swan. Barry Levin provided musical direction.
A theatre for the Dream Street show has not been named but Baldonieri said he and Lukow had been talking "with the Nederlanders and several different people."
Lukow and Baldonieri first formed the five-member Dream Street group after auditioning kids from the Broadway talent pool las year. At first, there was some speculation, both from music and theatre sources over the feasibility of such a group crossing over before the act had broken big on either side of the business. Key support from Flom and Cosgrove and Clark has furthered the project toward a successful launch.
Baldonieri said that the December Dream Street benefit shows would be the final entertainment bookings in the Criterion Center, which could be demolished as soon as the beginning of next year.
"That's what the owner (at Criterion) was telling me," Baldonieri told Playbill On-Line. "He said that the real estate was worth too much to keep it open as a theatre.
For information on the Dream Street benefit show at Criterion Center Dec. 19 at 1 PM, call Leslie Schneider Bailey at (212) 760 2777.Tickets are $25. -- By Murdoch McBride