The Fresh Beat Band

The story of the Fresh Beat Band can be summed up in a conversation between executive producer Jonathan Shank and Mario Tirado, known as one of the industry’s least obnoxious agents. Shank wanted Tirado to buy into the project, and ran off all kinds of impressive statistics. Tirado was still skeptical, but went home and asked the people who really knew what was going on – his kids.

The next day, Tirado called back.

“I’m in.”

Photo: Charley Gallay

That was how the Hannah Montana tour caught the adults by surprise. The Fresh Beat Band has been featured in USA Today and the New York Times. Backstage requests have come from Jon Bon Jovi and Jann Wenner. Of 95 shows put on sale, nearly all were sold out immediately. It’s the next Miley Cyrus, but with one big difference.

The artists are great. They play their instruments. And by that we mean there’s more to the cutie-pie that plays the role of Kiki, the guitar player. The 25-year-old Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, for instance, is a trained opera singer who has studied violin since the age of 3. The role of Shout is played by a Yale Drama School undergraduate. Twist, played by 27-year-old Jon Beavers, is also a stage actor and DJ. In other words, the adults have a decent time when they go to the show.

But, like Tirado, many people questioned the viability of this Nick Jr. act.

“We spent a lot of time educating people about the production and the show when we first decided we were going to tour,” Shank told Pollstar. “I think there were certain buyers who had children that were totally in the know, and then there were just as many folks who had never heard of this thing and were thinking that, even going into 2,000-seaters, we were being overly ambitious.”

But Shank is clear as to why this is on our cover: There will be more than 95 shows, and it’s time to get on board.

“We’re looking to pick up again in August and go through Thanksgiving. We’re going to just take the right steps to build this into one of the biggest family entertainment properties in North America and hopefully take it beyond that.”