JC and the Tropics: More than Jersey Boys

JC and the Tropics IMAGE Elleigh Weston

In a case of life imitating art, the stars of NQOMT’s 2021 production of Jersey Boys have formed a band, devised a show and are hitting the stage to share stories of their time in the spotlight.

Jonathon Coco, Sam Stewart, Luke Reynolds and Mark Whittaker are revisiting the hits of their combined musical experience as velour-clad, singing sensations, JC and The Tropics.

Getting the Band Back Together

Jonathon says the foursome grew together during their time in Jersey Boys.

“We knew each other pretty well and during the show could see that there was something to our sound and how well we work together,” says Jonathon.

“We thought we may as well give it a whirl and see how things go outside of musical theatre.”

JC and The Tropics began performing a Four Seasons’ song or two at charity events and variety shows.

Luke says they were quick to wonder what more they could do.

“As soon as the show ended, we had a conversation – maybe even at the after party – about ‘do we want to do something with this?’,” says Luke. 

“We realised that the four of us together could do more than what we’ve just done. We started to spit-ball ideas and NAFA  presented the perfect opportunity for us to try compiling a full show.”

JC and The Tropics (left to right): Sam Stewart, Jonathon Coco, Luke Reynolds and Mark Whittaker CREDIT Elleigh Weston.

Putting on a Show

An Evening with JC and The Tropics combines well-loved hits by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, as well as other bands of the era such as The Beatles and Beach Boys.

Mark says the songs are stitched with each group member sharing some insight into their own origins in musical theatre.

“We’re telling the story about how we came together on top of some of the gems from our history of performing,” says Mark.

“We’ve thrown in some inside jokes that family and friends, especially those from musical theatre, would understand.”

While Jonathon, Sam, Luke and Mark are all seasoned performers, this latest passion project has forced them to step away from the known safety of musical theatre and the big production teams that come with it.

Instead, they have had to self-steer both the creative and logistical elements. Sam said they have naturally fallen into roles based on their individual experience.

“I have a musical background so I often help a little bit in terms of vocal directing; Luke and I can assist with choreography because Luke’s a dance teacher and I’ve been dancing for a while. Mark and Coco are really good with finding dialogue and narrative,” says Sam.

“And then there’s all the logistics as well – through our own backgrounds, we just all found a way to kind of gel together.”

Despite it being early days, JC and The Tropics promise to combine well-loved global hits with well-loved local talent.

“We’re trying to find a flow where we don’t just do too much Jersey Boys,” says Luke. “We’re not denouncing the Jersey Boys – the Jersey Boys are why we’re here! – but we’re JC and The Tropics now.”

Don’t miss An Evening with JC and The Tropics at the North Australian Festival of the Arts on 7-10 July 2022.

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