The Smith Center will again be featured in a national broadcast this December, as the performing arts complex is teaming up with PBS to bring YouTube sensation Postmodern Jukebox’s show to television screens across the country. The musical group takes the spotlight tonight at the center’s Myron’s Cabaret Jazz.
A group of performers who add retro twists onto modern-day songs (from Jazz Age– and early Broadway–inspired numbers to performances with ’50s doo-wop and ’60s surf rock style), the collective returns to the Downtown institution as part of their Postmodern Jukebox: The New Classics tour. Led by arranger Scott Bradlee, the band puts on a show filled with covers from artists such as Beyoncé and Radiohead. Ever wondered what “Creep” would sound like with a jazz spin? It might sound strange, but it’s obviously beloved—the video for that cover racked up an impressive 35 million views.
Postmodern Jukebox describes its sound as “gramophone music in a smartphone world.” With more than 2.9 million subscribers to its YouTube channel, the group has continued to create content that catches eyes and ears since its 2011 inception. Audience members at The Smith Center—and those watching the telecast this winter—can expect to see a few familiar faces onstage. Casey Abrams, Season 10 champion of American Idol, will be featured. Check out his Singin’ in the Rain–inspired rendition of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” for a taste of what’s to come.
“This is a really great contemporary group that deserves national attention,” says Myron Martin, president and CEO of The Smith Center. “We took the idea to PBS and they really liked it. … They are going to be making a really beautiful show.”
This isn’t the first time PBS has brought a Smith Center show to television screens. In 2012, the network broadcast its opening-night event with a special titled From Dust to Dreams: Opening Night at The Smith Center. The star-studded event featured performances from Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, legendary singer-songwriter Carole King and country superstars Willie Nelson and Martina McBride. The show was aired on PBS stations across the country and received high praise from viewers.
While Dust to Dreams was filmed inside Reynolds Hall—the largest showroom at The Smith Center, with a 2,050 seating capacity—Postmodern Jukebox will perform in the small, intimate Cabaret Jazz showroom, which accommodates 244. The twinkling lights of the Las Vegas Strip can be seen shining through its windows, which should make the event even more elegant.
“From our very first drawings on napkins, [Cabaret Jazz] was always meant to be a beautiful place for live music. It has beautiful art deco [features] in the room and large windows that play upon the Vegas theme,” says Martin. “Everyone who has ever come here has said it is the best cabaret jazz club in America.”
Aug. 14, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., $49–$99, Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com