Beginnings on Broadway in June Interview: Mason Swearingen

Broadway has created a new kind of musical … well not so new anymore … the JukeBox Musical. A stroll down musical memory lane of a performer or group that has made an impact on the entertainment industry. Jersey Boys probably was the most visible example, but there have been Broadway bows of shows featuring autobiographical or imaginary tales peppered with the music of Billie Holliday, The Beatles, Fat’s Waller, The Beatles, Kurt Weill, The Beatles, Carole King, The Beatles, ABBA, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Peter Allen, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffet, The Beatles, Donna Summer, The Beatles, The Shirelles, The Beatles, The Gogos, The Beatles, Green Day, The Beatles, Tupac Shakur … and did we mention The Beatles?

Now, Town Hall will contribute to the Broadway skyline by hosting a special one-night-only concert featuring the phenomenal band, Beginnings, and their tribute to the legendary 70/80s band, Chicago; and That Motown Band – celebrating the 60s record label that fostered powerful, definite and historic music.

Preemo Productions in association with Town Hall hosts a concert honoring the American rock band, Chicago, and the timeless music of Motown

We caught up with BEGINNINGS’ manager, Mason Swearingen

In 2002, a group of celebrated professional musicians, all veterans of the New York music scene, came together to form Beginnings. But a funny thing happened on the way to Broadway, a collaboration blossomed into a non-stop musical odyssey. Their journey has taken them across the entire country with celebrated stops at Epcot Center, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and now the Broadway area. Beginnings are individually talented musicians who together comprise an ever-evolving universe multi-instrumentalists and multiple lead vocalists. Their performances bring to life the music of Chicago, recreating every decade of the band’s hits. Beginnings is family friendly and a treat for music lovers of all ages.

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Tell us about yourself as an artist.

My name is Mason Swearingen. I’m a singer/songwriter/musician. I am the lead singer and bass guitarist in Beginnings: A Celebration of the Music of Chicago, and I’ve been in the band for 15 years. Beginnings is one of my proudest musical endeavors. Our members have worked with some of the biggest artist in the music industry including: Aretha Franklin, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Temptations, the Broadway hit musical Rock of Ages and as an original artist I’ve had the privilege of touring in support of Peter Frampton, Blues Traveler, Dave Mason, John Entwistle, Joe Walsh, and many more. Performing the music of Chicago is so very inspiring. There are so many great songs that are so well-crafted and beautifully arranged. The privilege of playing these songs has made me, and my band-mates, better musicians and singers. Traveling the world performing music was always my dream growing up, and I’m lucky enough to be living that dream with some very talented and creative people.

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Give us the history of Beginnings and That Motown Band

The music of Chicago is so fun and energetic and it recalls wonderful memories for fans like proms, first dances, summer time loves, family events; it’s powerful music that elicits all kinds of emotions. And there is something for everyone in Chicago’s music: horn solos, beautiful melodies, searing guitar solos, ballads, rockers… it’s music for music lovers. We in Beginnings all know Johnny & Lon and all the gang from That Motown Band, and we knew they elicited a similar response with all the wonderful hits of Motown. So through our mutual friend and producer Ed Levine, we decided, “why not put the two together in one fun-filled music-for-all-ages event?” And that’s exactly what we got. This truly is a show for music lovers!

This looks incredible. What made you decide to do this show at Town Hall?
Well, what a response we’ve gotten. Multiple Sold Out shows of over 1100 fans at long Island’s Patchogue Theatre; continued Sold Out shows for both Beginnings and That Motown Band around the country. The outpouring has just been tremendous! When you see that kind of response and that sort of emotion, it’s really a no-brainer to bring it to The Big Apple. And what better venue than the historic Town Hall! It’s such a beautiful theater with a rich history for presenting the finest musical talent in the world. It’s quite an honor.

hqdefaultWith Jersey Boys, Summer, and other Tribute Shows on Broadway, how do you think you contribute to the skyline of Broadway?

The music of Chicago and Motown was a soundtrack to peoples lives from the 60s through the 80s. Their music was a staple of all our lives throughout that time period, and it continues through to today. This show is a celebration of that music and those memories, and I think it’s that kind of magic that gives this show it’s place among the other phenomenal tribute shows on Broadway. And presenting all these songs in a live concert experience makes it even more powerful.

Where do you go from here?
With a little luck this is Only The Beginning! 🙂 This would be a great show to return for multiple engagements in New York City, and to perform in other cities and similar venues. Chicago, Detroit… it’s a show that’s certainly made for those cities and more!

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Look for articles on Beginnings members:

Mason Swearingen

Adam Seely

Dan Hendrix 

Chris Milillo

… and producer, Ed Levine

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