Whether you need a coaster cool-off, a relaxing spot to enjoy your food or just want to sit back and listen to music, you can find it all at Center Stage with Danny and Colin O’Neill, The UpRights! The delightful dueling piano duo made their way to Dorney Park this season, entertaining guests all day long with music nearly every music genre. Who better to join the Dorney family than a band of brothers!
Before making their way to Center Stage, Danny and Colin O’Neill spent the majority of their lives working to make their dreams become a reality.
The brothers were introduced to music during their toddler years. Raised by two music teachers, the pair believe that they were “bred to be musicians”. Though they were taught to play piano by their mother, they were also encouraged by their father to challenge themselves and add more instruments to their repertoires. In addition to singing and playing the piano, both brothers play wind and string instruments.
Their musical abilities continued to flourish as they found their way to the stage at an early age. Throughout their younger years, the O’Neill brothers enjoyed showcasing their talents to large audiences. As children, they sang in their church choir, later moving on to performances in ensembles, school plays and musicals; an interest that stood out to Colin in particular. His love for musical theater heavily influenced his decision to purse a musical career.
Though Danny studied both education and performance in voice during his time at Westchester University, it was not until he performed in his first cruise ship show that he was certain he would pursue his passion for performing professionally.
Danny spent four years travelling all around the world. From the islands of the Caribbean to the wonders of the Baltic, Danny has entertained in nearly every corner of the earth! After finishing his time at Temple University where he studied musical theatre performance, Colin reunited with his brother and together they sailed from country to country to bring music to people from all over the world.
Though the idea of working with a sibling may sound unattractive to some, the O’Neill brothers enjoy each other’s company. “It’s easier because we know each other and we know how we work. Plus our voices sound really good together!” Colin explains. Danny adds that “In any partnership you’ll butt heads, but we know how to work it out and talk to each other. And it’s a jam to play Lizzo with him”.
Years of travelling and performing together gave the brilliant brothers the opportunity to witness talents within each other that stand out to them. Danny expresses that “from an older brother’s perspective, it’s really cool to see Colin’s growth. His voice is really awesome”. Colin admires that “Danny is an amazing pianist and he is an all-around hard worker. Plus he’s a pretty good cook!”
The chemistry between the brothers is evident in each of their shows at the park. The banter between them makes the audience feel included in their daily performances. The two express that they never get nervous performing at Dorney because “it feels like we’re playing in our living room”; a testament to the family atmosphere of the park.
Unlike the cruise ships where the two played requests by guests, Dorney Park has given The UpRights the opportunity to create a show of their own that allows them to connect with their audience. Throughout the show, the brothers banter not only with each other but with the crowd as well. They often give the audience song choices to include them in the performance and make them feel at home. The music ranges from songs by Taylor Swift to classics by Elton John.
There’s absolutely something for everyone, giving the show a personality of its own. “It makes my day to be able to sing songs that people can connect with,” Danny explains, “to let them know I’m here for them, and to make their day a little more special. Colin adds that he “really likes to make a safe space for audience members to jam out and just have fun watching the show”.
Years of playing with other artists and learning about the music industry have taught Danny and Colin about what it means to be a performer and how to navigate that life successfully. Now veterans of the industry, they know enough to offer advice to upcoming singers, musicians and performance.
Danny says that it’s important to “Never say that you can’t do something. You never know what you can do until you try. When you’re on stage, show what you’ve got and own it”.
Colin’s advises young performers to “Take everything one step at a time. Be here in the moment and don’t worry about how people will perceive you. Just do it and show off what you’ve got”.
When it’s time for a break from rides and games, guests can find a different kind of thrill at Center Stage with The UpRights. Their bubbly and interactive shows offer comedic relief and fun for every member of the family. The talented twosome play songs by recent pop artists, classic hits from the 70s, 80s, and everything in between. Every hour comes with a new genre and a chance to sing along to upbeat music that makes everyone in the crowd smile. The brothers’ clever banter keeps the audience engaged, including them in their performances by offering choices between a song or two with each show. It’s a great way to shake up the usual Dorney Park routine. Together, The UpRights fill the park with music and laughter, tying together the perfect Dorney Park experience.
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