June 22, 2010

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Kristofer McNeeley & a Preview to His “Holding the Space” Concert at the Liberace Museum!

June 22nd, 2010


On Sunday afternoons this summer at the Liberace Museum’s Cabaret Showroom, JERSEY BOYS Las Vegas cast member Kristofer McNeeley will be performing his solo show, “Holding the Space”! We had a marvelous time catching up with Kristofer this week about his upcoming summer concert series, along with some very exciting updates about his newborn daughter!

JBB: First of all, Kristofer, we’d like to congratulate you and Ali on the birth of your baby girl last month and Happy Father’s Day? How’s it feel to be a new dad?

KM: Thank you so much, Susie. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I’m a father. But we are overjoyed, to say the least. Overjoyed and exhausted – and feeling tremendously blessed. She came to us healthy and strong and really, really cute. What more is there? Oh, and as a little insider scoop, we have not announced her name yet, but I’ll let you and your readers in… Emerson Lila McNeeley…both names after our grandmothers.

JBB: Wow! I love your daughter’s name!

We’re also so excited to hear about your Sunday solo shows at the Liberace Museum, “Holding the Space”! I’m intrigued by the title—what’s behind the title?

KM: I had spoken to the museum in the past about putting together a show, but time just didn’t seem to allow for it. However, when we learned Ali was pregnant we decided it was a good time for me to get it together and take over for her (she has her own show at the museum called “Here I Am”) during her pregnancy leave. And so, in thinking of a name and the kind of music I wanted to share in my show, “Holding The Space” seemed perfect. In essence, I am holding the space for my wife as she brings our child into the world and the songs I am drawn to are very mellow, almost meditative melodies which (hopefully) create a space for the audience to just chill out and be still for a bit.

JBB: Who and what are your inspirations for creating “Holding the Space”? Considering you are playing a variety of singers and musicians in Jersey Boys, did you draw upon your JB experiences when you set out to create your solo show?

KM: I draw from absolutely everything I do. In a literal sense, one of the pieces in the show is the song I used in my auditions for JB – a Burt Bacharach tune called “Any Day Now. ” So that’s definitely inspiration. However, that’s where any similarity ends. There are no JB songs in the set and nothing similar to that style of music. As much as I love performing those hits every night, I chose music for my show which reflects who I am as an artist at a really fundamental level. Knowing I could do whatever I wanted, it was interesting to see where that led me. I played solo shows in Los Angeles for years prior to JB, and was also with a band for some time. But, even then, I don’t know that I created a setlist that was truly authentic. I think I was always listening to those who would tell me I needed to choose music I thought the audience would like or feeling pressure to perform other band members’ compositions – even if it meant singing or playing something I did not fully connect to. That’s not the case with “Holding The Space.” This show is all me, 100%. And probably will continue to evolve the more I do it.

JBB: Your show sounds like an amazing opportunity for you to really express yourself. Why is this a right time for a concert?

KM: Why not? I have felt the pull to go back to that format for a bit now. I think it was just a matter of getting an outside influence (i.e. Ali leaving to be with the baby) that pushed me. Sometimes I need that extra push – and once I started rehearsing it was clear that I was on the right path. The songs seemed to find me and being up on the stage again in front of an audience at the previews has been a very natural experience. Whether there’s a right or wrong time, it definitely feels right when I am in the song and the audience is right there with me. I told my wife after our first preview that it was a reminder of how spiritual it is to do what you love – what is at your core. Telling a story with a song hits that place for me.

JBB: Could you give us a little preview of what’s in store for us at “Holding the Space”?

KM: Sure! Here’s a short clip of me rehearsing one of my original compositions. It’s a lullaby called “Baby Mine,” which I wrote for my wife and daughter before she was born.

JBB: So exciting to find out that you’ll be performing some original compositions. Have you been writing for a while? Who are some of your favorite composers?

KM: When I was about 24, I picked up the guitar to see what would happen, and it just sort of fit. I think I wrote my first song in the first day or so…very simple, and not something I really revisit, but that was the beginning. I’ve only chosen a couple of originals to include in my set – songs mostly because my own shows are usually comprised of entirely original material and I loved the challenge of reimagining and interpreting other music that inspired me. Those couple of original tunes really reflect who I am as a composer and I surrounded those songs with those by the singer/songwriters who have influenced me the most: Billy Joel, John Denver, Elton John, and Bob Dylan. Just really fantastic, authentic artists. We’ll see if some more originals don’t work their way in the future…it all depends on what the audience wants to hear.

JBB: Could this turn into more than a summer solo show at the Cabaret Showroom?

KM: Absolutely, if that’s where this journey takes me. My wife and I definitely have some plans in the works to merge our shows in the future and see what that brings us. Who knows what’s next, really? Ali and I try to live as close to the current moment as possible, and just make certain we are prepared when an opportunity presents itself. So, whatever happens, you can bet we’ll be ready – no doubt. And we have this precious baby girl to focus on outside of our work, and that makes it a lot easier to keep that focus on the here and now.

Kristofer will be presenting “Holding the Space” every Sunday this summer at the Cabaret Showroom at The Liberace Museum beginning with a preview on June 20 at 2:30 pm. The official opening will be the following Sunday, June 27 at 2:30pm. For tickets, call 702-798-5595.


  1. Congratulations to Kristofer & Ali on their new baby girl. Wow, what a talented girl she’ll be! I’m really looking forward to seeing one of Kristofer’s shows! I saw Ali at Erich’s show last year and she not only has a fantastic voice, but also is super hilarious! It would be great for the two of them to do a show together!

    Comment by Krystal — June 23, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  2. Really nice interview. I’m really excited to catch Kristofer in his show in a few weeks. Thanks

    Comment by Maria — July 1, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

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