Nick Fradiani, The Alternate Routes and Javier Colon take the outdoor Ridgefield Playhouse stage
After having to scramble this spring to cancel and reschedule hundreds of shows due to COVID-19, the Ridgefield Playhouse is back to doing what it does best: hosting live shows. As of right now, that means outdoor shows with socially distanced seating. Music fans starved for live entertainment, as opposed to video streams, will want to note this weekend’s double bill under a tent on the field adjacent to the Playhouse.
The weekend, highlighting Connecticut-based performers who have garnered national attention, kicks off on Friday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. with Guilford’s own Nick Fradiani (and winner of TV’s “American Idol” in 2015) and The Alternate Routes, based in Bridgeport, best known for hit folky-rock songs like “Nothing More,” “Stronger” and their newest, “Safe Haven.”
The concerts continue Saturday night at 7 p.m. with West Hartford’s Javier Colon (winner of TV’s “The Voice” season 1 and Hartt School of Music graduate) with Dante Palminteri as the opening act. Both shows are on rain or shine.
Fradiani caught national attention in 2014 when his band Beach Avenue competed on the ninth season of the reality talent show “America’s Got Talent.” Going solo on season 14 of “American Idol” was his big break however when he won that year. Used to playing bars and restaurants weekly for years before Idol, Fradiani said he went from the busiest he has been this spring to the slowest. Staying focused on his music, however, he has kept busy writing and recording, releasing two singles in the last few months.
His Ridgefield set will be an acoustic show and Fraiani has some surprises planned. Having toured before with The Alternate Routes in 2017-18, he hopes they will all share the stage for a few songs during the show. “We are kind of getting back together to do this show,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun night. It’ll be one of the most exciting shows for us because we haven’t played live music in so long.”
The Alternate Routes, a band formed by Fairfield University alumni, has several albums under its belt. The band’s best known song is “Nothing More,” which was played during the telecast of the 2014 Winter Olympics and several other TV shows. The Alternate Routes are also veterans of the Playhouse, having played before there several times.
Javier Colon describes his musical stylings as “acoustic soul,” and is looking forward to performing his first full-length show there after months of a forced hiatus from performing. While he hosted a weekly quarantine concert series every Saturday night via his computer, the connection to a live audience was irreplaceable. “I am just super excited to get to perform for everyone and it’s hopefully the first of many opportunities. It’ll be nice to be back to work in performing,” he said.
Born in Stratford, he moved to West Hartford to attend Hartt, where he earned his degree in music education, and he was a member of EmcQ and the Derek Trucks Band before winning “The Voice.” His setlist for the Ridgefield show will run the gamut from songs he covered on television to songs from his album as well as some new songs he learned for his recent online concert series.
In his Playhouse debut, Palminteri is touring in support of his 2020 single, “I Don’t Even Know You” and kicking off a family tradition. The arts are strong in the Palminteri family and Dante’s father, noted actor Chazz Palminteri, was scheduled to perform there in April for his one-man show, “A Bronx Tale.” That show will be rescheduled in the near future. In a bit of “six degrees of separation,” Fradiani recently played Lorenzo in the North American tour of “A Bronx Tale,” which ended its run prematurely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For more information or tickets, visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org.