Jenn Cristy wanted something different, a concept that would appeal to all audiences.
She and her business partner – who produce shows with their company One Pulse Entertainment – especially wanted a show that would do well on tour in the Southwest.
They thought of The 4th Dimension – four performers, four genres, four different decades, all on stage at once. The show will cover 40 years of music between 1955 and 1995.
It debuts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
“Being our hometown, we don’t do a lot of shows here,” Cristy said. “We wanted to knock it out here and give everyone a chance to come out and see the show before it goes on the road.”
The 4th Dimension consists of pop, rock, country and R&B. While the artists will rotate when they travel out west, during the Midwest portion of the tour Cristy will perform pop, with Eric Brown on rock, Heather Chapman singing country and Troy Thomas Jr. an R&B artist. Pam Thrash, of Bloomington's B97 radio station, is a special guest.
Top-40 hits will consume most of the show, with a surprise that won’t be revealed until the end, Cristy said.
“It’s going to be something that everyone walks away at the end of the night talking about because no one’s ever done it before,” she said. “I can’t imagine anyone doing this live.”
Cristy, who has now been in the music business for about 15 years, didn’t originally imagine this career for herself.
She played classic piano all throughout her childhood and was accepted into the classical piano performance program at IU. But she couldn’t turn down a full-ride scholarship to join the swim team, so Cristy had to give up music.
Her swimming career took her to Nationals and the Olympic Trials.
She aspired to be a teacher or swim coach or possibly a professional swimmer, though she admits that would only take her so far.
During her senior year, Cristy was asked to sing the national anthem at an IU basketball game. John Mellencamp, an Indiana native, was attending the game and was impressed by Cristy’s performance -- so he asked her to go on tour with him.
“I didn’t plan on touring or doing this as a career, and then he yanked me out of it,” Cristy said.
It led to Cristy forming her own band and starting One Pulse Production, for which she is a part of many shows. She said The 4th Dimension is her favorite because of its versatility and appeal to everyone.
Cristy compared it to a big sing along.
“It’s a show for everybody,” she said. “There’s not anybody who’s going to leave there and say, ‘I didn’t hear a song I like.’”
The hardest part of writing this show, she said, was maintaining a cohesiveness with such a range of sounds.
“There’s no way these songs have been played back to back before – or in the same show even,” Cristy said. “That’s what kind of makes this show really unique.”
But the collaboration among the artists – they all sing on each other’s songs – helps bring the show together.
“It’s a group effort to really make this show pop,” she said.