Audiences are given the pitch from the start of the show: “No one knows this, but the Art House is really located on an ancient drag queen burial ground,” and with that, Well-Strung is off and running… to the movies, this time. And there’s no one else who would dare open a show with a mashup of the Ronettes’ Be My Baby and Puccini’s O mio babbino caro. Well-Strung does it. With panache.
This summer’s show is the kind of fun that will leave you humming. For days. Whether it’s a montage of John Williams scores from movies we all grew up on—Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones—or Edmund Bagnell singing Moon River in his achingly beautiful voice, or a combination of J.S. Bach and Ed Sheeran, the show is full of nostalgia, old favorites, and more than a few surprises.
Wait—who is Well-Strung? Okay, let’s see. They’re a string quartet. They’re singers with tightly crafted harmonies. They’re classical musicians. They’re pop stars. They’re all of the above.
Back in Provincetown for their sixth summer, first violinist Bagnell, second violinist Christopher Marchant, violist Trevor Wadleigh, and cellist Daniel Shevlin continue to offer the best music—and the best show—in town. And in a way, Ptown is their hometown, too: it was here that Mark Cortale first spotted Marchant playing violin in the street and organized the group around him. “Mark approached me in 2010 while I was playing violin,” Marchant recalls. “He proposed the idea of doing a one-man show the following summer. I was interested but didn’t feel I had much to say on my own, so I began working on a string-quartet show.”
Marchant teamed up with cellist Shevlin—possibly the most “classical” guy in the outfit—and together they auditioned for a first violin and viola to complete the ensemble. Last year Marchant teamed up in a different way with Wadleigh as the two men took on The Amazing Race on television (“it’s ironic that we got dropped in Prague,” says Marchant, “since it’s the birthplace of both classical music and gay porn!”).
All caught up? Good. Because this is a show you don’t want to miss. The guys’ chat in between songs is as entertaining as the songs themselves, as they mourn their lost childhood summers (not everyone gets Dirty Dancing’s hot dance instructor; as Wadleigh points out, they’re musicians, they went to band camp), criticize Disney characters (thank God someone’s doing it) and agree that some really mediocre movies have fabulous scores (no, I’m not giving anything away here).
It seems that no Well-Strung show is complete without some version of their signature Devil Went Down to Georgia, and this time we get it—in movie format! Like the group itself, Well-Strung’s rendition of the song just keeps getting better and better every year. Watch for their new album, Under the Covers, which will be available in September… unless you go to their Ptown show, when you can buy it here and now. Do it.
Well-Strung performs at the Art House Sundays through Tuesdays at 7:30 pm and Wednesdays at 9 pm through September 5th. Ptownarthouse.com