Legends deserve R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Huron Country Playhouse
Until September 1

By Casey Lessard

It’s not too often you get to see 1960s music “legend” Tiny Tim on stage at the Huron Country Playhouse, and quite frankly, I’m not too sure how many people would pay to see him. This is one time you should consider doing so.
“I remember watching (Tiny Tim) on the Johnny Carson Show,” says Keith Savage, who pays tribute to the super-strange ukulele-playing singer of “Tip-Toe Through the Tulips” in Legends, running until September 1. “I am old enough to love all this music. I went on YouTube and you see him. He was not extremely pretty. (Laughs) It’s fun to be him. I wanted the bigger nose.”
Savage and his co-stars do such a good job of portraying rock’s icons, it’s easy to suggest you may have a hard time getting a ticket for Legends, on now until September 1.
“It’s a sequel to Twist and Shout, the British Invasion,” says creator and director Alex Mustakas. “That idea I got when I was in New York City once. I got tickets to see the David Letterman Show, which happens in the old Ed Sullivan theatre. I got the idea to create something that’s like a live television taping. We needed to find the right theme. I had an idea for the British Invasion for a long, long time. That was such a hit I thought, ‘How can we follow this up?’”
The answer was a retirement show for Roy Solomon, the television-host character based on Ed Sullivan. All of the legends of rock ‘n’ roll are invited to celebrate Roy’s 20 years in the television business.
“It’s a thin story line,” Mustakas admits, although it’s doubtful anyone in the audience will care. “It’s obviously about the music. That’s what it is. We actually touch on 105 songs. It’s music that I grew up with and love. There isn’t a song in the show that everybody doesn’t know.”
“It’s great music,” says Adele MacKenzie, one of the many cast members born after most of the show’s music was produced. “Anyone growing up through the ages listens to this stuff so I know it all already. Dance is my first love but I get a chance to do some lead vocals as well. Everyone gets featured which is why I really like this show.”
Paying tribute to memorable musicians and their work is very hot in this area, as evidenced by the touring song-and-dance troupe, the Lambton Main Street Players, and Parkhill’s Star Dust dinner theatre, which exclusively features tribute acts.
“It’s a very nostalgic time,” says celebrity impressionist Houston MacPherson, who introduces the legends’ different songs and does some of his own. “I did a lot of work in Vegas for a year-and-a-half, and everything there is nostalgic. All the shows are legend-based. People want to hear those good times. I think that’s primarily their reason. There’s a lot of trouble in the world. Those were happy times.”

See also Mary Alderson’s review of this play.