After growing up in a household filled with music, Travis Nesbitt (He/Him/His) (The Boy Band Project, Altar Boyz) attended Boston Conservatory for college and started working shortly after that with Tour of the The Producers. He had the opportunity to play Mark, the sensitive one, and close out the last year-and-a-half of the long-running satirical Off-Broadway musical, Altar Boyz, which tells the story of a fictitious Christian boy band from Ohio.
This boy band musical experience helped give Travis the idea to start The Boy Band Project. In 2014, Travis realized he “liked putting pieces together and really liked the producer role, but wanted to do it in a creative sense.” It was then Travis decided to get an MA in Creative Producing from one of the only schools in the world that has such a program, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
Travis explained that the program was about creative producing at its core and using the “entrepreneurial spirit and elements you have in your circle to create something and make it a business. I always knew I wanted to be a creator and come up with the idea and then put it into fruition. That’s what I learned.” As part of his thesis, the London version of The Boy Band Project was born.
But what is The Boy Band Project? “It’s the ultimate contemporary boy band experience. Magic Mike meets Y2K boy band, but we keep our clothes on,” explained Travis. “It’s a hyper energy trip back in time to a 1990s NSYNC concert, but with Broadway talent.” The journey to become what it is now took several years. “Performing at community centers is what we started with. We then dipped our toes in the New York cabaret scene. NY1 and Good Morning America did a spot on us.” Soon after Travis started doing a weekly Boy Band Brunch performance at the Green Room 42 in Manhattan. And right before the pandemic, The Boy Band Project was doing the best they’ve done. “We opened for Todrick Hall on his east coast tour. We were about to go on a tour in China and then the pandemic happened and shut down everything.”
But the pandemic didn’t bring The Boy Band Project to a complete halt. “We brought Boy Band Brunch virtually, but it was so hard and we were all scrambling to learn the technology. I did it for 11 weeks and then I was exhausted. But about five months into the pandemic we started doing socially distant performances at outdoor venues. As theatres learned how to adapt, we started getting calls because I was ready to go. I was cautious, but I wanted to keep this momentum going and we pushed through and did do a lot of performing.”
Recently, The Boy Band Project made their Feinstein’s/54 Below debut. “We went in and it was the day the hurricane came to New York. But everybody still showed up and it was packed. And we have already booked our Holiday show [The Boy Band Project: Holiday Edition] for December 6th there.”
What else is coming up for The Boy Band Project? “Just signed a couple contracts with a celebrity cruise line. Been knocking on the cruise ship door a while, and they booked four cruises right off the bat. We might possibly do a Boy Band Brunch in LA, which is really exciting. But I really want to get the international thing going. I’ve also got an original song that’s been written for a year that I have to record, and I’ve got a couple ideas for music videos.”
And amidst all this, Travis emphasized the importance for self-care. “It’s the hardest part of what I’m doing. I’ve found early that I have to take a second for self-care or the show isn’t great because I’m also performing in it. So I really have to balance that. Every once in a while I hit a wall, but I have to take care of myself. I’m driving the machine, so if I fail, The Boy Band Project stops.”
What else has been on Travis’ mind the past several months? “Everybody hold onto your butts! We just have to get through this. We always have hard things that come to us, but we’ve got to keep it together. Nothing is forever. Nothing is permanent. I’ve said that to so many people. Hold on. Wait it out. We’re going to be okay.” And he gave this parting advice for any up-and–coming producer or artist: “the difference between a producer and an artistic person is just having the courage to put it out there. My first Boy Band Project show, I was terrified. I thought I can’t do this. But I just put myself out there. Creativity does not want to leave your body, so you have to put it out there yourself.”
Stay connected @bocotrav2006 and @boybandproject on Instagram and check out The Boy Band Project: Holiday Edition at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City on Dec. 6th at 9:45pm: https://54below.com/events/the-boy-band-project-holiday-edition/