With their snazzy business suits and skinny neckties, they might seem at first glance to be a quartet of ad execs straight out of TV’s Mad Men. Place them onstage in front of mikes and backed by a four-piece rock band and they turn into the hot new singing group The Company Men, now wowing audiences in a limited series of Sunday appearances at the Key Club on world famous Sunset Strip.

 Billed as “America’s First Mashup Group,” The Company Men (Stuart Ambrose, Shawn Perucca, Brian Purcell, and Daniel Tatar) perform what used to be called medleys, “mashups” of song hits spanning the past six decades of American music history.

Take for instance their opening number, which starts off with Purcell and Perucca inviting the audience to “Get Ready” (cause here they come), then segues effortlessly into Ambrose and Tatar lighting their very own “Firework” before Purcell makes magic with “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” The Temptations circa 1966 meet 21st Century Katy Perry meet ‘80s pop stars The Police. How about that for a mashup?

 Part of the fun of a Company Men performance is trying to guess just what song the boys will segue into. Tatar’s dream of winning the heart of an “Uptown Girl” may well prove an impossible one, given that, as Perucca sings it, it’s too late to “Apologize.” Billy Joel meets OneRepublic, the quarter century between the two hits shrunk down to an instant.

Perucca’s “Little Bitty Pretty One” (first introduced by Thurston Harris way back in 1957) meets Tatar soloing Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” (which hit the charts 53 years later), the two songs glued together with a bit of Beyoncé’s 2008 smash “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” the four Company Men exhorting the audience to do just that (with Queen Elizabeth waves of their left hands to show off rings—or the lack of such).

Of course it takes more than just a concept to sell a pop group, boy band, or in the case of The Company Men, a “man band.” It takes a combination of talent, sex appeal, and that indefinable something called “star quality,” all of which Ambrose, Purcell, Perucca, and Tatar possess in spades.

 Individually, each Company Man has already impressed StageSceneLA on more than one occasion. Ambrose, most recently seen in MTG’s A New Brain, won a Scenie for his starring role in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Perucca won his Scenie as a member of the boy band known as the Altar Boyz for 3-D Theatricals in 2010. Purcell produced a pair of Scenie-winning revivals (of Chess and The Who’s Tommy). As for Tatar, the busy stage/TV performer has won a grand total of four individual and ensemble Scenies—for The Last Five Years, Life Could Be A Dream, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Together, these four stage stars seem poised to conquer the club world … and beyond, with slick Motown-inspired dance moves choreographed by Leah Seminario, sensational solos, and some of the tightest harmonies in town.

As for their name, The Company Men define it, thankfully, not as the dictionary does, but as “modern gentlemen,” the kind who’ll stand when a lady enters the room and open the door for her.

 Backing the Company Men at their 28-song,14-mashup, two-act show are Joel Newman on keyboards, Brett Farkas on guitar, Vashon Johnson on bass, and music director Jevin Hunter on drums (arrangements by Justin Avery), vocals and accompaniment  mixed to perfection with Sean St. Germain running sound. Jared A. Sayeg’s Vegas-ready lighting design is, in a word, spectacular, as audiences have come to expect from this lighting design wunderkind.

With just four more Sunday performances remaining in their Key Club engagement, now is definitely the time to catch this up-and-coming pop group while you can still see them up close and personal. It won’t be long before you’ll find yourself paying scalpers’ prices for seats way back in Row ZZ and wishing you’d caught The Company Men at the beginning of their trajectory to the top.

Key Club, 9039 West Sunset Boulevard West Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
September 2, 2012

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