18-19 season

Review: Bettman and Halpin – Christmas is a Funny Thing

headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin have a well-earned reputation for delivering a quality show.  During the Bettman and Halpin Christmas is a Funny Thing holiday concert, the duo kept the audience riveted with songs, storytelling and fantastic fiddle playing.  The duo appeared to be having a great time performing and this enthusiasm affected the audience.   They both have an easy, mellow way about them.  They created a relaxed, homey feeling in the audience.

Christmas is a Funny Thing was a combination of well known, traditional Christmas tunes performed by Bettman and Halpin and original music written by Bettman and Halpin.  Some of the traditional songs performed included Drummer Boy,” “Blue Christmas,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”  Some of the original songs written by Bettman and Halpin included “Fruitcake for All Seasons” and “We’ll Miss You Mama.”  Ms. Bettman told the story of how she was inspired for each song she wrote.

The duo also performed some songs from their soon to be released CD.  Ms. Bettman wrote and sang a song titled “White Rose.”  The inspiration of this song is based on the Cherokee Nation’s Trail of Tears.  I believe most of the audience felt the sorrow in this song.  As I said before, Ms. Bettman tells great stories through her songs.  I can’t wait for the CD to come out!

Stephanie Bettman is an all-around entertainer.  Not only can she sing with a clear, smooth voice but she writes her own songs and plays the fiddle like no one I have ever heard.  She comes across as a regular person with the keen ability of telling stories through songs.

Luke Halpin is the jokester of the group.  He wore reindeer antlers when the show opened then changed into a “naughty” Santa hat later.  He made funny faces, comments, and gestures.  He is a gifted mandolin player.  During this performance he played several different instruments, including the mandolin, and played each instrument expertly.  The audience kept their eyes on this funny man, not knowing what was coming next.

The stage was decorated in festive Christmas decorations.  The atmosphere was relaxed, fun and a great way to prepare for the holiday season.   Bettman and Halpin included the audience in many of their Christmas songs.  These sing a-longs created a warmer holiday feeling in the audience.

The rest of the quartet for this program were local performers.  Bettman and Halpin, the bass player, and drummer only met for the first time the day before the program.  No one would have known this group had not been playing together for years.

The bass player Alex Goldberg is a graduate from University of Colorado Denver with a B.S. in Bass Performance.  He has several years of experience performing in many different venues.  He is currently performing with the local band Chris Daniels and the Kings.

Ryan Elwood is also a local performer.  He has performed with several different bands, including Adrienne O and the Austin Young Band.  He has played at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Gothic Theater.  He also teaches private lessons.

Bettman and Halpin: Christmas is a Funny Thing was a very entertaining show.  I recommend that you try to see this group the next time they come to town.  At the very least pick up their CD.  You won’t be disappointed.

Preview: Home for the Holidays

HFTH fb

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

By Theresa Allen, guest blogger

For many people in the Greater Denver area, the Christmas season doesn’t begin until the Lone Tree Art’s Center’s annual Home for the Holidays, with performances beginning Wednesday, December 19 and continuing until Sunday, December 23, 2018. Tickets are on sale now for both matinee and evening performances.

Home for the Holidays is an original production in collaboration with Chris Starkey of Imprint Group that brings together local performers for a spectacular show featuring traditional and modern holiday songs, stunning dance numbers, comedy skits, and good old-fashioned, family-friendly fun. Nearly 50 beautifully costumed performers will create a visually impressive extravaganza of holiday cheer for audiences of all ages.

Whether you are a long-time attendee or creating a new tradition with your family, Home for the Holidays is sure to delight and surprise you with a fresh new show this year. You may even catch a glimpse of the jolly old man himself! It’s the perfect time to remind yourself that there truly is no place like home.

Tickets for Home for the Holidays are on sale now from $36 to $63 and can be purchased online, in person, or over the phone at 720-509-1000. The Lone Tree Arts Center is located at 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. Free on-site parking is available.

 

Click here to watch a preview video of the show!

Preview: Bettman & Halpin: Christmas is a Funny Thing

header

By Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin are singers, song writers and all around entertainers. They are known for their original Folk/Americana performances. Their concerts consist of high- energy, up beat bluegrass/roots songs and beautiful ballads most of which they have written themselves. They have become known for their story telling through music and playful banter. They describe their music as “rootsy” springing from the traditions of American blues, jazz and folk music. Bettman and Halpin started touring in 2008 and incorporated a trio and quartet in 2013.

Stephanie Bettman is an accomplished song writer, singer and also an outstanding fiddle player. She has been compared to Joan Baez and Emmylou Harris. Her fiddle playing has been inspired by Stephane Grappelli, Byron Berline and Johnny Gimble. Ms. Bettman is a former actress and trapeze artist. She is classically trained in opera, violin, and voice. She studied at the Oberlin Conservatory.

Luke Halpin is a multi-talented performer with the ability to play several instruments. These instruments include guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and almost any other instrument he decides to play. He is also a vocalist and is able to blend perfect harmonies with Ms. Bettman. Luke has a long history is show business. He once shared the stage with Merle Haggard, Lone Star, and The Steve Miller Band. His quirky sense of humor rounds out his talents as an entertainer. Halpin grew up in South Pasadena, and is self-taught.

Bettman and Halpin have earned several awards and competitions including: Grand Prize Winners in the So Cal Live Acoustic Music Competition and the winners in Southern California’s Topanga Banjo/Fiddle Contest. They have twice been a featured act at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS along with Byron Berline, Michael Martin Murphy, Pat Flynn, and Tommy Emmanuel.

Phil Norman is another member of the group. Phil is cello player described as “playing the cello with a modern flare” (Marquee Magazine, January 2013). He is classically trained with a degree from the University of Colorado. He has created his own sound with alternative styles of playing the cello. Phil has been playing with Bettman and Halpin since 2013. He has performed concerts in the United States, Italy, and Australia, and has appeared on stage with composer and pianist Carter Pann, guitarist Grant Gordy, and Bonnie Carol, and was a featured artist for TEDxBoulder.

Carl Sorensen is one of Denver’s own. He joined Bettman and Halpin in 2013. He has played all over the country including Red Rocks Amphitheater. He has been compared to Ringo Starr and Levon Helm. Carl has played in more than 65 bands at the same time! He is very energetic and will bring this energy to the show.

Bettman & Halpin will perform a holiday show for the entire family titled “Christmas is a Funny Thing.” The duo will sing traditional holiday classics, several of their own originals, and share stories and songs about the ups and downs and sideways events of this holiday season.

Save the date: December 9, 2018 at the Lone Tree Arts Center at 7:00 pm

Tickets Available Here

Review: The Doo Wop Project Christmas

header

By Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

If you did not attend The Doo Wop Project Christmas at the Lone Tree Arts Center, you missed an outstanding performance by a very talented group. The Doo Wop Project Christmas consists of five Broadway Stars that love Doo Wop and want to share the sounds of yesterday with the new sounds of today. They reimagined traditional Christmas songs with the sounds of Doo Wop as well as performing “oldies but goodies” that we all recognize still today.

The show opened with some of the members of The Doo Wop Project coming out from the back of the audience to approach the stage. Other members of the group came from behind the stage and the side doors. The group appeared in classy red satin jackets. The audience, young and old, instantly responded to the group. These five talented stars connected with the audience from their first musical notes and kept the audience engaged until the final curtain.

The opening number was a lively, fast, paced Christmas song with Dominic Scaglione taking the lead. Dominic is well known for his role as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. Several “older” women in the audience were whistling and hollering like school girls at a concert when he sang. They obviously loved what they were hearing.

The show also included Doo Wop-inspired songs such as Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” Many traditional Christmas songs were included. Songs like “White Christmas,” “This Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and even “Dominic the Donkey.” The group performed a very special song called “Doo Wop Christmas” which was originally performed by Kenny Vance and the Planotones.

The Doo Wop Project is supported by a very talented five-piece band. Each band member performed a solo which included a sax player, drums, bass and lead guitars and the piano. This group may be in the background but they made the whole experience very special.

The Doo Wop Project members have some deep roots in Doo Wop. During the program each member was introduced to the audience and they told their stories on how they got to be The Doo Wop Project. Many members of the group have relatives that were involved in the early stages of Doo Wop. The Doo Wop Project brings these experiences and talents as well as knowledge from experiences from their childhood to the stage today to perform Doo Wop inspired songs for audiences everywhere.

The music supervisor is Sonny Paladino (piano player). He has an impressive portfolio of credits. Sonny was the music supervisor for the Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, and he is the music director for the upcoming Broadway show Smokey Joe’s Café. During the show, he interacted with The Doo Wop Project group and everyone could tell he was enjoying what he does.

Dwayne Cooper is said to be the modern day Sammy Davis Jr. His voice is a very unique deep bass which the audience just loved. He brings dancing, singing and pure entertainment to the stage. He is very funny and full of energy. He went out into the crowd and had every one on their feet singing and dancing.

Charl Brown whose credits include portraying Smokey Robinson in Motown: The Musical, captivated the audience with his rich voice and natural charisma. Charl brought us back in time when he sang. He has several credits to his name including a Tony Award for the Best Featured Actor in a Musical on Broadway.

Dominic Nolfi, is also a member of the original cast of Motown: The Musical. Dominic is handsome, charming and has a very rich smooth voice. Dominic is one of the founding members of The Doo Wop Project.

Russell Fischer has a wide range singing voice. He is able to sing from tenor to falsetto. He is best known for his part in Jersey Boys as Joe Pesci. He has been the understudy for the role of Frankie Valli for over 6 years. He is very fun to watch and listen to. Frankie Valli seems to be on stage when Russell is singing.

The Doo Wop Project attempts to bridge the generation gap. Most of us grew up dancing to the radio with our parents and grandparents to Doo Wop. The sounds of Doo Wop will really never grow old. Together these talented people have what it takes to entertain young and old alike. If you get the chance to see and hear The Doo Wop Project, I recommend it. You will be glad you did.

Preview: Doo Wop Project Christmas

By Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

What a great way to bring in the holidays.  The sounds of the 50s and 60s mingled in with the sounds of today.  The Doo Wop Project Christmas is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit.  Be sure to check out the Lone Tree Arts Center on December 2, 2018 at 7:00 pm for a show you will not want to miss this season.

The harmonies of five talented Broadway stars make up the Doo Wop Christmas Project.  Jack Everly, the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, discovered the Doo Wop Project while they were performing in a supper club in New York City.  He knows talent when he sees it.  He asked the group to perform at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the SuperPops lineup.  The group has been performing across the US ever since.

The Doo Wop Project connects the dots from ordinary guys singing on the street corner to the top hit radio sounds of today.  The group came out of Broadway where they have blended their love of Doo Wop and Motown.  Their music is influenced by sounds of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and The Four Seasons and modern musicians such as Michael Jackson, Maroon 5 and Amy Winehouse.

Group members of the Doo Wop Project include Dominic Scaglione Jr. who was most recently seen in the role of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys.  He performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was personally asked by Frankie Valli to sing at his New Jersey Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  Early in his career Dominic toured with Christina Aguilera, Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, Robin Thick and Boyz 2 Men.  He is one of the original creators of the Doo Wop Project.

Charl Brown was in the role of Smokey Robinson in Motown: The Musical where he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical on Broadway.  Charl played the role of Adam/Noah in Children of Eden at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.  Other credits include Jersey Boys on Broadway and Las Vegas, Sister Act on Broadway, Hair in Europe, Ever After, Johnny Baseball, Dream Girls, Six Degrees of Separation, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line, and Stars Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and several television appearances.

Talented Dominic Nolfi has been on Broadway in Chazz Palminten’s A Bronx Tale-The Musical.  He was an original cast member of A Bronx Tale, Motown: The Musical and Jersey Boys and he can be heard on all three cast recordings.  Dominic performed in the World Premiere of A Bronx Tale and Jersey Boys at the Paper Mill Playhouse and the La Jolla Playhouse.

Russel Fischer is known for his tenor voice and falsetto range.  Fischer played the role of Joe Pesci in Jersey Boys.  He has been the understudy for Frankie Valli as well.  He has starred as Billy Kopecki in Big: The Musical.  His credits include Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Tommy Djilas in The Music Man at Chautauqua Opera, the American premiere of Children of Eden at Paper Mill Playhouse and several he has appeared television including TV Land’s 60 Second Sitcoms.

Dwayne Cooper began his career signing with Christian a cappella group called “The Cunningham Singers.”  He has appeared on Broadway in Motown: The Musical, Hairspray, Smokey Joe’s Café and Showboat.  His talents include song writing and he has charted on Billboard’s Top Ten Dance chart.   He has appeared on Law and Order, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Difficult People and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Another all-around multi-talented group member is Sonny Paladino.  Sonny has been the Music Supervisor for the Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, and the Music Director for the Smokey Joe’s Café.  He was also the Associate Conductor for The Last Ship.  Other Broadway credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Billy Elliot, Grease, Priscilla- Queen of the Desert, Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia and several other productions.  Sonny’s work has been featured on The X-Factor Australia and The Next Big Thing.

Doo Wop Project Christmas is sure to touch every member of the audience with sound from yesteryear to contemporary music of today.  Gather your friends and relatives and come to Lone Tree Arts Center on December 2, 2018 at 7:00pm to start the season with music that is sure to get you into the Holiday spirit.

Single seats remaining: http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/doowopprojectchristmas

Review: Classic Albums Live: Hotel California

header

By Janice Hubbell, guest blogger

As the Toronto-based Classic Albums Live band came on stage and the lights dimmed, I closed my eyes and was immediately transported back in time to 1976 while listening to the Eagles Hotel California vinyl record on my turntable. Beginning with the title track, every note and rhythm of each song was replicated perfectly. The lead vocals, haunting melodies and beautiful harmonies were eerily accurate. The band did not wear cheesy costumes or speak as the music faded away into the next song. The audience, during the album’s genuine and authentic performance, was quiet and appreciative, no doubt on the same nostalgic journey I was.

It is not surprising this album was chosen for recreation; it is one of the bestselling albums of all times and is considered to be a rock masterpiece. Drummer and co-lead vocalist Don Henley reminisced in an interview with Rolling Stone that the word “’California,’ carries with it all kinds of connotations, powerful imagery, mystique, etc., that fires the imaginations of people in all corners of the globe. There’s a built-in mythology that comes with that word, an American cultural mythology that has been created by both the film and the music industry.”

The band and audience came alive in the second half as they performed other Eagles greatest hits such as “Take It To The Limit,” “One of These Nights,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” and “Witchy Woman.” One enthusiastic listener shouted “Turn it up!” and the sound engineer complied, which brought the audience out of their seats. Towards the end of the show, the band slowed it down for my favorite, “Desperado,” with simple keyboard chords and vocal backup harmony. Don’t hesitate to catch the next Classic Albums Live performance at the Arts Center–just grab your ticket and GO!

Upcoming Classic Albums Live performances

Classic Albums Live: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Saturday, January 19 at 8pm, Tickets Here

Classic Albums Live: Chronicle, Vol. 1
Saturday, May 11 at 8pm, Tickets Here

Preview: Classic Albums Live

headerBy Janice Hubbell, guest blogger

Based out of Toronto, Classic Albums Live is performing the Eagles’ Hotel California album in its entirety this Saturday evening at the Lone Tree Art Center! The intent of the artists of this legendary and bestselling concept album was to make a bicentennial statement in 1976 discussing themes of “loss of innocence, cost of naivete, perils of fame & excess, exploration of the dark underbelly of the American dream, illusion versus reality and corruption in politics,” which still speak to us today.

I bought this record in 1976, the year I graduated from high school, and wish I had kept it in my collection. I can still sing every word of the title hit when it plays on the radio! I love its haunting melodies, superb vocal harmonies and especially the epic guitar interlude featuring dueling guitars. Fingers crossed that the band’s 2nd set will include Desperado, my next Eagles fave.

A limited number of tickets are available here. Classic Albums Live: Hotel California at the Lone Tree Arts Center on Saturday, November 10 at 8pm.

Theater Review: Low Down Dirty Blues

_DS81531

By Beki Pineda, GetBoulder.com

LOW DOWN DIRTY BLUES – Written by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman; Directed by Randal Myler. Produced by Lone Tree Arts Center (10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree) through October 27. Tickets available at 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org.

If you have been going to theatre in the Denver area very long, you will have heard the name Randal Myler. Randy was a long time director and casting agent for the Denver Center many years before he started writing musicals based on the works of deceased icons (Hank Williams, Janis Joplin, John Denver, Nat King Cole, and others). Many Tony nominations and Broadway runs ago, he started putting together the same sort of a musical homage to a genre instead of a person. He has achieved success with musicals such as IT AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT THE BLUES, FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN (the folk music of the Appalachian coal mining era), and  MUSCLE SHOALS; I’LL TAKE YOU THERE (celebrating the famous music studio from that area). Now he brings the sultry side of the blues to the forefront by getting low down and dirty.

Five musicians have hung around after the crowd left in a Chicago blues bar to reminisce and sing their songs – rather than what the tourists call the blues. They revel in the suggestive lyrics and raunchy rhythms of songs like “Rough and Ready Man,” “My Stove’s in Good Condition,” and “Don’t Jump My Pony” if you don’t know how to ride!! Felicia P. Fields, the Big Mama after whom the bar is named, makes the smallest move of her voluptuous body and you suddenly understand what sexy is. In “If I Can’t Sell It” she tells the story about a man wanting to buy a chair in a furniture store. But she makes herself very clear when she declares, “If I can’t sell it, I’m gonna sit down on it.  I ain’t gonna give it away.”

Chic Street Man sings about a “Crawlin’ King Snake” and invites you to “Come On In My Kitchen” and the women in the audience start leaning in toward the stage. His easy physical style and matter of fact delivery shows that he knows what he’s doing, on stage and off. They are joined in the vocal fun by Shake Anderson whose big voice rocks out on “I Got My Mojo Workin’” and breaks your heart when he sings of a lost love in “Death Letter.” Both men praise the beauty of a “Big Leg Woman” whose booty is so big, her jeans have to have four pockets across the back. They are accompanied and joined on stage by musicians Calvin Jones on bass and Jameal Williams on keyboard.

The first half of the program explores the flirtatious side of the blues full of double entendre and innuendo. Big Mama even went off the stage and got some of the men in the audience to help her get her mojo working. The second half continues but also gets into the more serious sad side with a heartfelt rendition of Billy Holliday’s “Good Morning Heartache” and Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” The ever present gospel quality of the music came to the front with Sam Cooke’s “Change is Gonna Come” and Inez Andrews’ “Lord I Tried.”

The bar setting designed by Christopher Waller is so authentic, you can’t help but think you’ve been to that basement bar. Complete with beer signs and the ever present Christmas lights, it’s a place you would be comfortable stopping by for a drink and a listen to the music.

If you have the blues, if you like the blues, if you want to learn about the blues . . . . this is the show for you.

A WOW factor of 8!

 

From GetBoulder.com

Preview: Low Down Dirty Blues

email ad with picBy Michelle Marx, guest blogger

Have you ever wanted to hang out with the band after a concert? Here’s your chance! Beginning this Thursday on the Main Stage, the musical revue Low Down Dirty Blues will transport you to Big Mama’s club.

It’s Saturday night and it’s after the crowd leaves when the actual show begins. The musicians are hanging out, sharing stories, and having an impromptu jam session playing their favorite blues tunes including Muddy Waters, Ma Rainey, Sophie Tucker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Pearl Bailey. The blues inhabit a space encompassing heartbreak, joy, and humor. They reflect the difficulties of life but passionately celebrate it as well.

The talented cast includes Felicia Fields as Big Mama, and Chic Street Man and Shake Anderson playing the musicians. All are highly talented musicians and performers. They’ve each done the show before and all three worked together on a production earlier this year coming to LTAC with a proven rapport.

Director Randal Myler (Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You There and Tony Award-nominated Best Musical It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues) and musical director Dan Wheetman are both making a  return to the LTAC. With Low Down Dirty Blues, Myler didn’t want to just celebrate the music, but also touch upon the history of the blues. In a statement, Myler and Wheetman say: “The Blues has always had an ‘earthy’ quality. It has been the voice of a people caught in economic and social situations that have kept one entire social sector of the country under the thumb of another sector…Out of this environment, their voices found expression in the celebration of life in all its facets.”

Low Down Dirty Blues, plays at the Lone Tree Arts Center beginning Thursday, October 18 through Saturday, October 27. Evening and matinee performances are available.

Tickets and more information are available here:  http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/lowdowndirtyblues

Review: Grease Sing-A-Long Movie Night

By K. Fleming, guest blogger

Despite its age, Grease, one of the most popular movie-musicals of all time, is still beloved by adults and children alike with its timeless charm. On Saturday night, Lone Tree Arts Center paid homage to the 40th anniversary with a sing-a-long version of the hit movie accompanied by a sock hop after the showing.

The auditorium was packed with children, parents, and grandparents in various forms of 50s attire. The audience became T-Birds and Pink Ladies for the night and were inducted into the halls of Rydell High by the MC after a little comedy, singing, and trivia started off the show.

The lights dimmed, the auditorium imitated a regular movie theater setting, and the film rolled. But immediately, lyrics popped up on the screen in colorful bursts, sometimes being a focus in the frame, others with comedic animations, and on the more popular songs, they demurely sat along the bottom of the screen to illicit the most amount of attention to the songs.

The 1950s setting of this movie and the 1978 release date aside, classics like “Greased Lightning” needed some creative adjustments to the lyrics because of language or suggestive themes, often causing the audience to laugh. During Rizzo’s (Stockard Channing) “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” the adjustments told a story alongside her confessions on sexuality and teen pregnancy.

Other than the adjustments, the movie played out as it always did. Bad boy turned smitten teen Danny (John Travolta) and his T-Birds engaged in goofball and questionable behavior while wholesome and hopelessly devoted Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) navigated the established Pink Ladies and a new high school.

After the audience sang their last song with Rydell High, the party was just getting started at Lone Tree Arts Center. Red and white checkered tables lined the halls while hot dogs, hamburgers with all the fixin’s, and fries were available for guests in the lobby.

An event hall beckoned people with the sound of music and a disco ball twinkling in the distance. High top tables, streamers and balloons transformed the event hall into its own version of a Rydell High School gym.

The photo booth was filled with props and prompts to get the most authentic pictures. For a sugar rush, cotton candy and root beer floats lined the back of the hall. On your way for sweetness, carnival games like ring toss and skeeball tested skill while the dance floor, equipped with dance instructors, tested dexterity of the costumed audience members as they learned and competed in dance competitions like hand jive and the twist.

Whereas the Grease sing-a-long was billed as the main attraction, the sock hop continued to engage people of all ages, bringing the older generation back to their high school days and allowing kids (and probably their parents) to get a glimpse of grandma and grandpa in their heyday.