Entertainment

Modesto’s Jeremy Stolle has starred 10 years on Broadway. See why he’s coming home

Modesto native Jeremy Stolle has played the title role in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway.
Modesto native Jeremy Stolle has played the title role in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. www.jeremystolle.com

Jeremy Stolle reached for the stars when he left Modesto for New York City on a quest to sing on Broadway.

Today, with a booming voice and a successful decade under his belt performing in Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera,” Stolle tackles a new quest with his band The Unreachable Stars.

He’s coming back home with the group for a show at the Gallo Center for the Arts.

The 1994 graduate of Modesto High School and his band perform Made on Broadway, “a collection of showstoppers that the group has picked up over the span of our careers,” Stolle said. Each band member plays at least one instrument and the Sunday, Sept. 10, program at the Gallo Center includes songs from “Hamilton” to “Phantom” and from Verdi to Leonard Cohen.

But don’t expect Italian lyrics and traditional opera – The Unreachable Stars is a crossover group that takes classics and gives them “a pop flair,” Stolle said.

The band formed at the suggestion of a friend, Geoff Sewell, who created the similar opera band Amici Forever. Now, Stolle’s group is touring internationally.

“This show (at the Gallo Center) is the first stop on our season,” he said. “We will hit Florida, Wisconsin, China and Florida again. We have over 30 shows in the next few months and more are coming in every day.”

The show features Stolle and two other singers who also play a variety of instruments, from drums, bass and piano to ukulele. They offer up “big and powerful arraignments like you might see on ‘Glee’,” Stolle said. “Of course, add my dry sense of humor, a few surprises and you never know what we will do next.”

Stolle, 41, said he has family that still lives in Modesto and he returns several times a year from his Times Square home to visit along with his wife Ashlee and their children, Lincoln, 8, and Eloise, 5. Growing up in the Dutch Hollow neighborhood, Stolle got his start in local productions that sparked his fire for the stage.

“When I started performing during summers at Modesto Performing Arts I knew this is what I wanted to do and I worked every day to get it,” he said.

Stolle went to Modesto Junior College and then to UC Irvine and got his first post-college job as Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” at Disney World. He returned to teach for Modesto City Schools for a spell so he could raise money to make his move to New York, he said, which he did in 2002. He was cast in “Phantom” five years later.

The 6-foot-4-inch singer made his Broadway debut in the musical at the Majestic Theatre as a member of the ensemble and as an understudy for both the Phantom and Raoul. Ten years later, Stolle remains part of the cast, performing the three leads, Phantom, Raoul and Piangi.

The longest-running musical in history, “Phantom” and has been playing continuously for 31 years in London and 29 years on Broadway.

Now a Broadway veteran, Stolle also released his first album last year, “In The Moment,” with producer James Morgan. The tracks include “The Music of the Night” from “Phantom” as well as other crossover hits from Broadway and adult contemporary music.

“It was a dream come true,” Stolle said of the album, and he’s now working on a second record featuring songs from the Made on Broadway program that’s coming to the Gallo Center. He’s looking forward to performing the music before the hometown crowd.

“This is a friends and family show full of great Broadway and contemporary tunes that I have had a big part in arranging,” he said. “I am very proud of what happens on that stage and proud to be back where it all started.”

The Unreachable Stars

WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10

WHERE: Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto

TICKETS: $24-$35

ONLINE: www.galloarts.org

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