Musical Pioneers Rock the Stage

Legends: A Salute to Musical Pioneers
Conceived, written and directed by Alex Mustakas
Musical Director Bob Foster
Choreographer Gino Berti
Drayton Entertainment Production
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend
August 8 – September 1, 2007

Live! On Stage!
Review by Mary Alderson

The balcony had better be reinforced at Huron Country Playhouse. With the show Legends: A Salute to Musical Pioneers currently on stage there, the audience is dancing and singing along. And that balcony is bouncing in time with the music.
Remember Twist & Shout: The British Invasion of two years ago? Well, this is the sequel. TV host Roy Solomon (The Ed Sullivan-like character) is retiring after having 1,000 shows on the air. So the audience is treated to clips of all the greats (but we get to see live re-creations) who have graced his stage, plus some have returned to honour Roy.
Huron Country Playhouse is set up to resemble a TV studio, with cameramen at both sides of the theatre. On big screens at both sides of the stage we see commercials or clips from the 50’s and 60’s, interspersed with close-ups of what we’re watching on stage.
Well over 100 songs and medleys are presented: memorable favourites such as Jerry Lee Lewis’ Whole Lotta Shakin’ to Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman, along with medleys of the Beatles and Monkees, and even a Motown set. A cast of 12 very talented singer/dancers bring hit after hit. Joining the 12 are Keith Savage as announcer Sheldon Lubliner, and Houston MacPherson, a celebrity impressionist, who brings us the likes of Jack Nicholson or George Burns, as well as all the old crooners.
Everyone will have a favourite that evokes a memory. The showstopper is Danny Williams singing Bridge Over Troubled Waters with musical director Bob Foster. You may remember Williams from Twist & Shout when he brought the house down with Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale. He also recreates the Hollies sound with He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, an emotion-filled favourite where Williams’ amazing voice is probably better than the original version. Another favourite is Ange Pagano portraying Janis Joplin with Me and Bobby McGee. The list of hits goes on.
Keith Savage, always popular with the Huron Country Playhouse audience, provides the comedy. In fact, the audience laughs as soon as they see Savage’s buck-toothed smile. As well as being the amusing announcer, Savage has several other roles – a magician (and some tricks are revealed), Tiny Tim tiptoeing through the tulips, and the lead Crypt-Kicker bringing us The Monster Mash.
Legends is an excellent production of good music and good fun. If you’re thinking about going, order your tickets immediately; it will sell out soon.

Legends continues with eight shows a week until September 1 at Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend. Tickets are available at the Huron Country Playhouse box office at (519) 238-6000 or Drayton Entertainment at 1-888-449-4463.

Mary Alderson offers her view of area theatre in this column on a regular basis. As well as being a fan of live theatre, she is a former journalist who is currently the Community Economic Development Officer with the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation.