REVIEW: LeGacy’s wonderful musical makes you want to sing
Submitted to Prospector
There is a lot of musical talent in Nevada County! Evidence of this talent is present in LeGacy Productions’ current show, its first purely musical undertaking, appropriately titled “I Can Hear Music.”
I attended the world premier of this extremely enjoyable endeavor, written by locals Sue LeGate and Dave Halford. Although it hasn’t a traditional storyline — no beginning, middle or end — it does illuminate some of the history of the Brill Building in New York City between 1958 and ’64 when the building housed a number of up-and-coming songwriters. During those six productive years, more than 150 top hits were created by the likes of Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector and more.
“I Can Hear Music” showcases the memorable music originated in that building by those soon-to-be-famous songwriters. To tie the songs together, the cast members take turns telling historical tidbits about certain writers or tunes and then, either as a group or in a solo, duet or trio, sing the songs that produced gold for the denizens of the Brill Building. I can’t speak for others in the audience, but I knew almost every song in the show since they were the top hits of the late ’50s to early ’60s and have often been rerecorded and replayed zillions of times. In fact, I had to turn and glare at the man behind me who heartily joined in singing many of the tunes. But since the performers were doing such an excellent job, I didn’t appreciate the stereophonic effect his vocals created. However, to give him his due, he did know all the words.
The musicianship is top rate, led by the powerful and playful vocals of Sue LeGate in her first appearance in a LeGacy production. She is joined by the very talented Kris Stepanian’s amazing voice and Kristine Alcamo’s fine solos and harmonies. I chuckled at the “girl group” choreography, created by Dinah Smith, with the female singers swaying their body parts in the familiar 1960s movements.
The cast is rounded out by Dave Halford on guitar/vocals, Darryl Stines on bass/vocals, Gary Epps on keyboards/vocals and John Basa on drums. The band members are all superb musicians — Epps particularly can work the keyboards — and quite good singers and with the aid of Franklin Williams’ exceptional sound design and engineering, the music crisply and sonorously fills the small theater. Many attendees were tapping their toes or clapping their hands with the music within minutes after the show began. And after each number, there was loud applause and big smiles.
This production doesn’t require deep reflection, but it does kindle a knowing nostalgia and great joy, both for those who were living during the period these songs were written and the youngsters whose parents turned them onto these forever-memorable tunes. So for a very enjoyable, lively and melodic evening, do yourself a favor and go see “I Can Hear Music,” playing at the Off Center Stage, behind The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, through June 23. And remember, don’t sing along!
Hindi Greenberg had to bite her tongue to keep from singing along, especially after she glared at the man singing behind her. But songs aren’t written anymore like these oldies but goodies! Think “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Love Potion No. 9” and “Sweet Caroline.” For more about the show, go to http://legacypresents.com.
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