Dangerous Doo-Wop

Cleveland theater
Even Toxic Audio members are confused by their moniker. "Nobody understands the name," says baritone Jeremy James. "I don't understand the name."

The a cappella vocal quintet mixes jazz standards, improv comedy, and street-corner doo wop. "We want to make sure we're breaking out of the stereotypical image," says member Shalisa James. The set list includes everything from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to the Star Trek theme to "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz. The group — composed of Jeremy, wife Shalisa, "scat girl" Michelle Mailhot-Valines, bass Rene Ruiz, and human beatbox Paul Sperrazza — presents tunes from the '40s through the '80s. "They're all performed with a theatrical twist," says Shalisa.

Toxic Audio came together eight years ago at the Orlando International Fringe Festival and draws inspiration from Bobby McFerrin, the Blue Man Group, and even the Muppets. "We can be weird, funny, and emotionally touching all at the same time," says Jeremy. "It's great when a joke that kills in Vegas goes over big in Japan. Music is an international language."
Sun., Oct. 22, 7 p.m.

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