by MK Scott
When I first heard about The Choir of Man, I assumed that this was a boyband/choral group. After some research, I soon realized that this was an actual stage show with nine hunky singers and dancers coming together with UK pubs as the backdrop.
The promotional material for their tour that was scheduled to play the Northwest last year reads: The runaway hit of numerous international music festivals is hitting the road for its first U.S. tour! Known across the globe as “the ultimate-feel good show,” The Choir of Man offers up 90 minutes of indisputable joy! It’s a party. It’s a concert. It’s a pint-filled good time set in a working pub that combines hair-raising harmonies, high-energy dance, and live percussion with foot-stomping choreography. The multi-talented cast of nine handsome blokes sings everything – pub tunes, folk, Broadway, classic rock – all to roof-raising heights. It’s the best singing, dancing, stomping, pub crawl of a concert you’ll ever attend!
One those actors, Denis Grindel, plays the narrator in the show and has credits in the London Theater scene, I chatted with Denis through email this past week [i.e. late January, 2019].
MK Scott: Denis, Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, Your show Choir of Man is playing at 7 venues in 7 days, will this be your first time in our area?
Denis Grindel: It will be my first time yes! Its actually been my first time visiting America doing this tour, so it’s been an absolute joy to travel all over the states these past few months. We traveled the East Coast of America extensively before Christmas so we are all super buzzed to bring the Choir of Man Westside! I grew up watching American TV and fantasizing over visiting the States one day, so to get to perform here with my friends is a dream come true for this Irish guy!
MK: In Choir of Man you play the narrator. Tell us about the show?
Denis: We like to say the show is essentially the best pub gig you’ve ever been to. It is a celebration of music, pub culture, community and the brotherhood that is found in male friendships. We invite the audience into our pub “The Jungle” for the night to meet its local lads, like the “Casanova” played by Matt Beveridge who is unlucky in love and tells his story of love lost while beautifully belting Adele’s “Hello”. In my role as the narrator, I take the audience through the pub and its usual faces, introducing them to the boys and their stories through song and spoken poetry. The audience leaves feeling they’ve gained nine new friends, who just happen to be multi-instrumentalists and sing in six-part harmonies, plus we have free beer!
MK: What has been the most memorable experience so for on the tour?
Denis: We visited so many amazing places on the tour so far, from New Orleans to Niagara Falls to finishing the first leg of our tour at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. It has been a crazy fun experience travelling the length and breath of the States in a tour bus with some of my closest friends, but I think the most poignant moments that I’ll keep with me is when we get to meet the audience after the show each night. We have a section of the show where we toast to our fathers through the song “Dance with my Father” by Luther Vandross, and it really means a lot when the members of the audience feel so moved to share with me afterwards stories of their father’s passing and thanking us for the tribute – these moments are very special.
MK: What would be your dream role?
Denis: I would love to perform the role of Gar in Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! I’ve always felt very connected to the story in this play and Friel is one of my favourite playwrights of all time. If we are talking musical theatre – Emcee in Cabaret, someone cast me in it already, haha! The story, the music I adore and the character is in essence the Narrator of the piece, which seems to be my forte these days. Being a proud member of the LGBTQ I would also love to work on more projects that tell the stories of community.
MK: And finally, who in entertainment inspires you?
Denis: My inspirations are ever changing, but some that spring to mind right now are Rami Malek – I loved what he did with Freddie in Bohemian Rhapsody last year. It was simply beautiful. Ben Platt is, I think, every performer’s talent crush these days, his voice is insane. Also fellow Irish musicians and actors are a huge inspiration to me and I am very proud of the amazing work and talent that emerges from our little green island every year.
“THE CHOIR OF MAN”
ADMIRAL THEATRE (Bremerton)
January 29 @ 7pm
PANTAGES THEATER (Tacoma)
January 30 @ 7:30pm
MOORE THEATRE (Seattle)
January 31 @ 7pm
Be sure to check out The Choir of Man,