Broadway Will Remain Closed Through the Rest of the Year

Broadway will remain closed for at least the rest of this year, and many shows are signaling that they do not expect a return to the stage until late winter or early spring.

The Broadway League said Monday that theater owners and producers will refund or exchange tickets previously purchased for shows through Jan. 3. Given the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic that has prompted the shuttering of Broadway, the League said it was not yet ready to specify exactly when shows will reopen.

“Returning productions are currently projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates in early 2021,” the League said in a statement. Among the logistical issues industry leaders are discussing with government and medical officials: “screening and testing, cleaning and sanitizing, wayfinding inside theaters, backstage protocols and much more.”

“I’m cautiously optimistic, with the latest information that we’re getting from scientists and medical professionals, that we’re getting close to some protocols that would work in New York and on the road,” Charlotte St. Martin, the League’s president, said in an interview. “As long as they hold up, I do think that after the first of the year, a rolling rollout of shows reopening is possible.”

St. Martin said that the rising levels of coronavirus cases in some parts of the country reinforced the industry’s cautious approach. “Frustration goes by the wayside when you’re talking about risking people’s life or health,” she said.

Broadway shows went dark on March 12, and already this has been the longest shutdown in history. At the time, there were 31 shows running, including eight still in previews; another eight were in rehearsals before beginning previews.

Thus far three shows, the Disney musical “Frozen,” which had opened in 2018, a new Martin McDonagh play called “Hangmen,” and a revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” both of which were in previews, have announced that they will not resume performances when Broadway reopens.

Several producers have indicated that they are looking several months into the new year for a resumption of Broadway shows. The earliest date chosen thus far is for “The Minutes,” a new play by Tracy Letts, which hopes to open March 15. A revival of “American Buffalo,” a play by David Mamet, is aiming for April 14; “MJ the Musical,” a new show about Michael Jackson, says it will open April 15, and “The Music Man,” a revival starring Hugh Jackman, plans to open May 20.

Several other shows have said they plan to open next spring, but have not announced exactly when, including a revival of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as Lincoln Center Theater’s new musical, “Flying Over Sunset,” and Roundabout Theater Company’s revivals of the musicals “1776” and “Caroline, or Change.”

Original Article – New York Times


May 7, 2020 – Lake Placid, FL: The dynamic voice first heard on Ted Nugent’s “Penetrator” album, that led to Brian becoming the powerhouse vocalist and writer for the band Bad Company, before leaving to shape his solo career, died Wednesday. He was 66. 

Howe’s passing was confirmed by his longtime friend and manager, Paul Easton.  

“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the untimely passing of a loving father, friend and musical icon, Brian Howe.” stated Easton. 

Howe was found in his home Tuesday morning, suffering from cardiac arrest. Though EMT’s were able to have a short conversation with him, he slipped away, and they were unable to revive him. 

“Finding the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts over losing my brother has been difficult.” stated his sister Sandie “Our family would like to thank you for your compassion and the outpouring of love we are receiving.” 

Born in Portsmouth, England, Howe’s early career in the USA began with Ted Nugent. Atlantic Records was working on Nugent’s new album and heard Brian’s voice coming out of an associate’s office. They loved his style and sound and signed him to become the lead singer for Nugent’s “Penetrator” album. “Penetrator” was Nugent’s eighth studio album and reached #56 on Billboards top 200, with “Tied Up In Love”.  Brian played with Ted Nugent for a couple of years before he was being considered for yet another iconic band at Atlantic Records.  

A re-teaming was taking place with a familiar band at Atlantic and Howe quickly found himself as the lead singer for the legendary band, Bad Company. With Paul Rodgers gone, Brian’s vocal style and song writing talent brought the resurgence Atlantic was looking for. 

Reflecting the musical style of the mid-80s, the first album found moderate commercial success. But things were about to change. As the band came together, they came alive in 1988 with the next Howe-era album, “Dangerous Age”, spawning several MTV videos and the AOR hits “No Smoke Without A Fire” (#4), “One Night” (#9) and “Shake It Up” (#9, also No. 89 on the Singles charts). The album went Gold and hit the Top 60. An accomplishment for Howe that carried his talent to the next level with the release of the band’s next album, “Holy Water”, released in 1990. The album was enormously successful both critically and commercially, attaining Top 40 and Platinum status by selling more than one million copies. 

Holy Water spun off the singles: “If You Needed Somebody” (#16), the title track “Holy Water” (#89) and “Walk Through Fire” (#28). “Holy Water” also hit No. 1 for 2 weeks on the AOR charts with “If You Needed Somebody” reaching No. 2. Given the success of “Holy Water” and Howe’s extraordinary vocal ability the band continued with the final studio album of the Howe era, “Here Comes Trouble”, featured the Top 40 hit “How About That” (#38) and “This Could Be The One” (#87). The album went Gold. 

Howe left the band in 1994 and forged his solo career, experiencing a successful musical impact. He released his memorable albums, “Tangled in Blue”, “Emotions”, “Circus Bar”, and his self-titled “Brian Howe The Collection”. In 2018, his single “Hot Tin Roof” received the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards award for Best Rock Song of the Year

Prior to his death, he was on tour with his band Paul Warren, Christopher Turnbow, Miguel Gonzales and Rick Brothers before the industry shut down due to COVID-19. He looked forward to picking up his stage performances as soon as soon as it was feasible. 

“I feel we are all put in this world for a reason” stated his son Michael. “The passion for music was my father’s, and I am so happy that his legacy will live on.”

Over the decades of creating music, Brian’s passion extended to his love for animals. This included his great support of Have A Heart Animal Rescue, to find animals in need, loving homes.

Brian never stopped writing songs and has defined an era of Rock that has become his legacy. He is survived by his sister Sandie and her husband, his son Michael and daughters Victoria & Ella, along with 3 grandchildren Kira, Alexandria, and Aurora. 

Visit to learn more about Brian.

Brian Duprey as Frank Sinatra

Singer Brian Duprey heads up a new Rat Pack!

By David Spatz – January 20th, 2020

The Rat Pack is back.

Truth be told, they never really left.

Okay, the core of stars that formed the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford — are all physically long gone.

But they left behind a treasure trove of memories, music, spontaneous comedy and anything else they could make up on the spot on the stage of the Copa Room, the legendary showroom at the old Sands casino in Las Vegas.

Although its core members were guys, the Rat Pack occasionally added unofficial “mascot members” like Shirley MacLaine, Juliet Prowse, Angie Dickinson and Marilyn Monroe.

Now, three ersatz Rat Packers – Frank, Dean and Sammy – are being joined by mascot Marilyn Monroe in a weekly show titled “The Rat Pack – Back in Town.”

The show is presented 4 p.m. Sundays through April in the 2,200-seat Tropicana Showroom.

“It’s been so many years since a ‘Rat Pack’ show has been done (in Atlantic City),” says Allen Valentine, the magician-turned-producer who’s been crafting casino production shows for three decades.

“I think the last one (in Atlantic City) was at the Sands in the early 1990s, and it just felt right (to do it now),” Valentine says.

Valentine describes the music of Sinatra, Martin and Davis as “iconic” and “timeless.” He says it hits all the right notes for the perfect casino show crafted for an older crowd.

“It’s got powerful songs that speak to you emotionally, it’s really fun and it’s got a little bit of sex appeal with some of our dancers … and of course Marilyn (Monroe, for whom Sinatra carried an unrequited torch),” he explains. “It hits all those marks and it’s just an elegant, feel-good show.”

If there was a top dog among the original Rat Packers, it was obviously Sinatra. In “The Rat Pack – Back in Town,” that role is sung and played by Brian Duprey, who was 13-years-old and going through puberty when his voice began to change.

“My mom had a cassette or something on, and I was singing to (Sinatra) and my mom ran into the room and said, ‘Oh my God, you sound like Frank Sinatra,’” Duprey remembers. “I was baffled, because I wasn’t a singer. I was just singing along and imitating him and it just kind of stuck because I had that baritone voice. It kind of fit me like a glove.”

Still, the fact that he sounded like one of the world’s greatest entertainers wasn’t enough for him to change his career plans. He was always fascinated and drawn to the world of business.

He earned a business degree in college and eventually went to work for a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company.

“That’s when I decided I didn’t like that lifestyle of working for a company and doing the 9-to-5 thing,” he says, “It just didn’t fit me.”

It took the tragedy of 9-11 for Duprey, 45, to realize life was short and if he was ever going to make a major move, that was the time to do it.

So he moved to Las Vegas, took singing lessons and gradually began working the types of gigs that helped him climb the ladder to eventually land the Sinatra role in the long-running, look-and-sound-alike revue “Legends In Concert.”

It was during those years when he first played Atlantic City. With a 13-year run, “Legends” was (and still is) the longest-running production show in Atlantic City casino history.

Duprey, whose wife, Jamie, performs in the “Rat Pack” show as Marilyn Monroe, has finally discovered a balance in his professional life. He agrees that making a major career move like he did at age 28 was something of a risk. But he needed to discover what his true calling was.

Turns out show business isn’t such a bad gig after all.

“I like producing, directing, acting and singing. I like all sides of the entertainment business, but I still like (the) business (world),” he says. “I wouldn’t mind owning a spa or a gym one day. I like dabbling in many different areas, so whatever is making me excited to get up every day and be singing or owning my own business, I’m all for that.”

As he’s done in the past with production shows at Borgata and Hard Rock – plus major casinos outside Atlantic City – Valentine’s show is a one-and-done gig each week.

That presents a series of challenges, including how to make sure all the cast members – some of whom are scattered around the country – make it to Atlantic City by 4 p.m. Sunday to do a 90-minute show and then catch the next plane, train or automobile out of town.

“The (casino) market has changed over the years. When I first started 30 years ago producing shows in Atlantic City, we had a very healthy bus program. We had Greyhound busses lined up and down Pacific Avenue,” he says. “But that’s changed. Casinos can’t (financially) support production shows that run five nights a week any more.”

However, doing the shows on either side of the weekend – like Thursday at Borgata, or later Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock, where he’s currently producing a show, the casinos can leave their Friday and Saturday nights open for headliners.

They’re able to get more bang for their marketing buck. And it’s not just in Atlantic City. This is happening at MGM National Harbor (near Washington, D.C.), Biloxi, Ms. and Twin River casino (in Rhode Island), all places where his company, Elite Casino Marketing, is presenting shows.

“It’s the new trend for production shows,” Valentine says.

Original article @

Beatles vs. Stones at Genesee puts popular 60s bands up for a vote

Back in the day, you could ask someone “What’s your sign?” or you could ask “Beatles or Stones?”

Local audiences can decide this age-old question for themselves when “Beatles vs. Stones” performs at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan. That’s when Rolling Stones tribute band Jumping Jack Flash squBeatles vs Stones Jumping Jack Flashares off against 4 Lads from Liverpool in an ultimate Beatles vs. Stones showdown.

Young Hutchison stars as Keith Richards in Jumping Jack Flash. He created the show 15 years ago.

“The interesting thing about the whole premise is the passion people still have for this music 50 years on and people really care and they’re passionate, as was the case in 1964,” he said.

“You had to be a Beatles or a Stones fan — not both. That’s still kind of the case. As the performers, we don’t particularly care because at the end of the night the audience chooses who won with the noise that they make. And we don’t take it personally as performers. The point of the whole show is that they do care and that’s why they show up.”

Audiences will get to hear two amazing songbooks back to back and against each other, Hutchison said.

“Fifty years later, people are still yelling and screaming for these songs. We love it,” he said. “Which is interesting, because The Beatles only existed for five years as a group in the public eye. But their legacy is now going on 50 years.”

The bands play six alternating mini-sets that move the timeline along, complete with British accents, elaborate costumes and onstage banter culminating in a finale with both bands on stage playing a mash-up of their biggest hits. Then the audience gets to vote on which band “wins.”

“When you think about it, in the case of the Rolling Stones, there’s 50 years of wardrobe and hairstyle changes and fashion changes,” he said. “Figuring out how to encapsulate that into a 90-minute show, half of which The Beatles are onstage, was a neat trick. I think we’ve done a good job of it and we take the audience along for the ride. And again, the audience was there, too. The audience remembers dressing like that and wearing their hair like that.”

They switch up the set lists from show to show to keep things fresh for themselves, he said “It’s hard because if you put somebody’s favorite song in you’re going to make 1,000 other people sad because you didn’t play their favorite hit,” he said. “Each band has 400, 450 songs to choose from.”

Even after 15 years, there are songs he never gets tired of playing, like “Jumping Jack Flash.”

“It remains so much fun because it has such an impact on the audience,” he said. “The audience is so lit up from night to night.”

The group 4 Lads From Liverpool includes an original member of the Beatlemania cast who also played with 1964 the Tribute, Beatlemania Now and Rain.

As for his own band, “all the guys are very busy with music,” he said.  “Our singer is actually a career bassist with a number of other groups but he stepped into this role eight years ago. And he’s really something,” Hutchison said. “It’s fair to say the audiences have no idea what they’re in for. It includes pretty elaborate onstage media. The energy level is pretty insane.”

They love to meet audience members after the shows too — and they learn a lot that way, too.

“People will tell us things that they noticed or did or didn’t like and that can affect changes we make in the show,” he said.

At the end of the day, audiences are going to be treated to the soundtrack of their lives, he said.

“The two greatest bands contrasted with each other in direct, immediate, back-to-back mini sets … it’s pretty thrilling,” he said.

Annie Alleman is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun

Link to original article.

Michael Firestone as Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson tribute coming to Missouri Theater

By Andrew Gaug News-Press NOW Oct 31, 2019

More than a decade after his death, Michael Jackson’s legacy lives on and inspires future generations of performers.

• • •

Helping to keep that legacy alive is Michael Firestone, the performer in the Michael Jackson tribute show “I Am King — The Michael Jackson Experience.”

The show has presented Firestone with numerous opportunities to pay tribute to Jackson, being chosen as one of two official Jackson impersonators for the “Michael Jackson Laser Spectacular” shows in theaters and casinos all over the United States and Canada. He’s also been featured at events for MTV and Larry The Cable Guy.

Like many in the ’80s, Firestone was captivated with Jackson through a series of performances and music videos.

“My first memories of seeing MJ were in the ‘Rock with You’ video, his Motown 25 performance, the ‘Thriller’ video and his ‘Billie Jean’ performance. Those really stuck with me,” he told DNA India.

A student of channels like MTV in the ’80s, Firestone said he was enthralled by the superstars of the time.

“I really studied very talented performers and just pretended to be them. Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie, those guys are talented, I’m just a copycat,” he told I Am Queen Magazine.

For Jackson specifically, he would watch his videos and emulate his moves.

“I practiced to his videos. I’d also record myself and replay the videos to see how I was progressing,” he said.

As he improved, he started performing the songs and moves at events, talent shows and parties. It caught on enough to net him performances in Las Vegas and, later, a cruise line contract.

“At 18, I was offered my first professional job as a Michael Jackson tribute artist at a casino in Las Vegas,” he said.

The job led to him creating the tribute show that has now toured around the world.

When Firestone performs Jackson’s hits like “Human Nature” and “Stranger in Moscow,” he said he feels like he’s keeping the star’s spirit alive. While he does drop the persona at times during the show, he likes to maintain the illusion for most of it to please those who didn’t get to see Jackson live. To note, the final time Jackson performed in Missouri was 1988 at Kemper Arena.

“They are MJ fans. And I hope to put on a concert making them feel like they are back in time and remembering MJ,” he said.

Performing those intricate moves and singing those difficult vocal parts of songs like “Thriller” and “Bad” is often taxing.

“Performing night after night starts to get difficult. I have to take care of my voice in between performances and warm up properly,” he said.

During the time Firestone has been performing as Jackson, he’s also had his fair share of questions concerning Jackson’s offstage behavior. Earlier this year, the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland’ had two men accuse Jackson of sexually abusing them as children. Firestone said he doesn’t believe those statements were made in good faith.

“MJ is not even alive to defend himself. It is most definitely unfair to discredit anyone’s work until all claims are proven,” he told the Business Standard.

Firestone met Jackson once in 2002 and said he was cordial and supportive of the tribute show.

“We spoke then, and a few weeks later he called and we talked for several hours on the phone. It was eye-opening and inspirational and, of course, a dream come true to get such a phone call,” he told the Business Standard.

Jackson’s support was one of the many reasons Firestone has been paying tribute to him for about 20 years.

“I wrote ‘I Am King’ and I wrote it to flow in such a way that it brings you up. The show is named ‘I Am King’ not because I think I am king … It is because Michael Jackson is king and I will continue bringing the magic and music of Michael Jackson to venues worldwide for as long as I possibly can. There will never be another MJ,” he told the Business Standard.

Tickets for “I Am King — The Michael Jackson Experience” are $24 to $45 and $12 for students. They can be purchased at the Performing Arts Office, 719 Edmond, or by calling 816-279-1225 or online at

— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live

Original article @

Johnny & June Forever: Sweetwater Music Hall

Chemistry is an interesting thing. There are those moments in time, like when you are watching some musical act on the stage, where you discover that you can’t take your eyes off the music makers before you. You are mesmerized by their presence as you can literally see the energy flowing through those before you as they produce sounds that positively affect your brain. In the case of Bay Area musicians Danny Uzilevsky and Essence Goldman, the energy you may witness between them is sizzling, palpable and truly magical. With the duo’s newest venture, Johnny & June Forever, Uzilevsky and Goldman embody the music created by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, but they do it in a way that is not about “doing covers” or even “paying tribute”, but about fully making the music their own by channeling the forces that Cash and Carter used themselves in performing songs.

Goldman and Uzilevsky came together when Goldman recorded her latest album in 2018 at Uzilevsky’s studio, Allegiant Records in San Anslemo, CA. A sparking fire was ignited around shared lyrics and chords, a magnetic energy acknowledged, and the two began a magical musical journey with the first notes sung in harmony. Both Goldman and Uzilevsky are incredible songwriters in their own right, but when a few Cash/Carter songs were sung, the pair knew they hit on something great and decided to embark on bringing those old school country songs to life with their project Johnny & June Forever: The Greatest Love Story Ever Sung.

With fate and luck being on their side, the duo was asked to perform and premier their act at Sweetwater Music Hall in conjunction with the Mill Valley Film Festival’s release of the documentary “The Gift: The Journey Of Johnny Cash”. The sold-out show was alive with the energy and anticipation of a crowd excited to hear many well-loved songs. The set was opened with “I Walk The Line”, just Uzilevsky singing with his strong and deep voice while playing off the amazing (and dapper) band, drummer JT John (Danny Montana & The Bar Association), bassist Joe Kyle Jr. (Koolerator, Howell Devine) and guitarist Phillip Milner (Jenny Kerr Band). Enter the beauty that is Essence Goldman, all five feet of her, with an electric smile and a high and clear voice that sends shivers up your spine. It was then that we became aware of the special vibe between the two as they locked into the songs and the band then took off without a look back into the dust. The band  fired up songs such as “Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man”, “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town”, the Hank Williams tune “Lovesick Blues”, “Ring Of Fire”, “It Ain’t Me Babe” as well as Loretta Lynn’s “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”. Essence’s solo numbers  the June Carter penned “Ring Of Fire” and Carter Family classics “Keep On The Sunny Side” and “Wildwood Flower” were (insert adjective), and Jenny Kerr joining the band on banjo for “Wildwood Flower” was a unexpected highlight.

Uzilevsky and Goldman do their best to not take on the personas of Carter and Cash, but their dynamic stage presence definitely reminds us of the playfulness and enjoyment the country King & Queen had on stage during their heyday. With Goldman showcasing various vintage dresses and Uzilevsky with his slicked-back pompadour and rockabilly style, the pair invoked the force of Carter and Cash without camp and pretense. The talent that these two have honed with each of their long and expansive musical careers is apparent as they blend their own songs and styles in with their act. The whole experience of Johnny & June Forever is more than just a showplace for Carter/Cash songs; it’s a golden carriage for two incredible and shining musicians to make a mark on the musical scene in the Bay Area with panache and style.

Thank you Carolyn McCoy – Click here for original article!

A good time to be Queen: Nation’s top tribute band plays Anchorage Friday night

The 2018 release of the film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, a biopic about legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, was a roaring success both critically and at the box office.

Among the beneficiaries of this reexamination of the 70s and 80s band that established stadium rock and operatic styles in rock is Queen Nation, America’s premier Queen tribute band, which visits Alaska for a pair of shows this weekend, Friday night at the Alaska Native Heritage Center on Friday and the Tanana Valley Fair on Saturday.

“I was excited to see it when it was finally coming out,” said Gregory Finsley, the Freddie Mercury of Queen Nation. “We cried, we laughed, it was the best time, so emotional. I gave it a B-plus because there were some chronological issues that didn’t work out and there were a few people left out. I’ve seen it three or four times since then.”

Finsley said the release of the movie has certainly added to demand for his group, but it had been on the rise in recent years anyway.

“It’s timeless music that’s going into retro” Finsley said. “We had 107 shows last year and amped it up to 139 shows this year, which is 3 to 4 shows every week — a very tall order. The movie has done well for us. There’s a lot of retro kids and teens wearing Queen shirts, people wearing moustaches. It’s overwhelming and we enjoy it. Our show is all ages and we play parks and casinos and private parties. It’s been a real blessing, but (Queen’s) music is timeless like Fats Domino, Ray Charles — you’ll always know them.”

For Finsley, it was appropriate, maybe pre-ordained that if he was going to be part of a tribute band it would be a Queen tribute band.

Growing up in the Dallas area, 11-year-old Gregory Finsley saw Queen live in Fort Worth and was instantly hooked on the dream of becoming a rock star like Freddie Mercury.

“He was dressed in a diamond coat, no leather, no moustache, he was just this rock Superman guy,” Finsely recalled. “I was playing drums and singing as an 11 year old and I was overwhelmed. Wow! This is what a rock concert is.”

After pursuing a musical career in the French Quarter and making ends meet as a private gardner, Finsley ended up back in Dallas where he worked in a music shop.

“Brian Harris, an amazing guitar player heard me singing ‘Somebody to Love’ and he thought it was the radio and he thought we should put together a tribute band called ‘Queen for a Day’. God almighty, I never thought anyone would want to do that,” Finsley said. “We played in Downtown Dallas and blew the doors off of places.”

Finsley’s cousin, a set designer in Los Angeles caught wind of a Queen cover band forming there that was in need of a singer. “They busted me out an email and said we’d like to send you out to the Napa Valley Fair,” Finsley said. That was in 2007, and Finsley has portrayed Freddie Mercury for Queen Nation ever since.

“It’s a great occupation — I don’t even consider it a job,” Finsley said. “We just had one of our best shows in a long time with 6,000 people and just two weeks ago had 12,500 in Manhattan Beach. They had to call in extra security; it was a great show.”

Finsley said there are a number of prominent Queen cover bands in the U.K. and Europe, but stateside, his band doesn’t face a lot of competition at the top of the heat.

“There’s a couple — Killer Queens, a band of all girls in San Francisco and Almost Queen, in the New York area,” Finsley said. “We’re super-busy so we don’t worry too much about other people — in England and Europe there are a lot of tribute bands, but it’s kind of like in Texas you’ll see Stevie Ray Vaughn and ZZ Top bands.”

Mercury was so known for wearing a panacea of different costumes on change, a part of capturing the artist that can be challenging.

“Costuming is great if you have set changes,” Finsley said. “But sometimes we’ll have shows that are 60 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes, but if you can get two sets that’s best. I like to go with the diamond coat or black, slick leather with knee pads and leather jackets — I sport the leather hat and change out as much as I can… that’s what helps the variety.”

Finsley assures that whether fans grew up with the music of Queen, or recently came on board with the mass popularity infusion of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, they’re guaranteed a great rock show.

“I think if they really liked Queen — not just the ‘boom-clap-boom’ ‘We Are the Champions’ or ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ but also some of the B side songs, they’re going to like it,” he said. “We’re all ages, user-friendly for all those people out there. We really do try to bring the attitude and the nuance of the sound with the twisting, twirling half-mic stand to portray this iconic band… We really want to party; we’re people-people and we gravitate toward that. We love it when people sing — even if they’re not on key, just sing. The interaction with the crowd is priceless and we feed on that energy.”

Queen Nation Playlist

1. Another One Bites The Dust

2. Bohemian Rhapsody

3. We Will Rock You

4. We Are The Champions

5. You’re My Best Friend

6. Under Pressure

7. Crazy Little Thing Called Love

8. Fat Bottomed Girls

9. Love of My Life

10. Now I’m Here

11. Killer Queen

12. Bicycle Race

13. Play The Game

14. Tie Your Mother Down

15. Stone Cold Crazy

16. Keep Yourself Alive

17. We Will Rock You (fast version)

18. Don’t Stop Me Now

19. Dragon Attack

20. Somebody To Love

21. I’m In Love With My Car

22. I Want To Break Free

23. Death On Two Legs

24. Spread Your Wings

25. Get Down Make Love

26. Show Must Go On

27. Let Me Entertain You

28. Save Me

29. Radio Gaga

Thanks Matt Hickman and Anchorage Press for the Interview!

Dave Walser

Dave Walser Combines His Two Musical Loves, the Beatles and Bluegrass, Into One Band

For 9-year-old Dave Walser, the inspiration that would propel him through the next 55 years seemed to strike out of nowhere. As a boy living in West Texas, Walser was still learning to play the guitar but had mainly been learning the traditional folk and bluegrass songs his parents and grandparents loved. Rock ‘n’ roll, still in its infancy, wasn’t on his musical radar.

Until Sunday, February 9, 1964, that is. Along with a reported 73 million other Ed Sullivan Show viewers who watched the Beatles’ performance that night, young Dave came down with an incurable case of Beatlemania.

“I didn’t know who the Beatles were at that point, I had never heard of them,” Walser, the leader of Dallas-based Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band, says over the phone. “Out of nowhere, my mom said, ‘Dave, come in here and hear the Beatles play,’ which was the weirdest thing for me to hear my mom say, because, again, I didn’t even know there was a band named the Beatles.”  read on…

Michael Firestone - Photo by Udi Mozni

‘I AM KING: The Michael Jackson Experience’ stars Michael Firestone at Palace Danbury

Singing like the late Michael Jackson is a feat in itself, between his impressive falsetto, distinctive vocal “hiccups” and versatility. But Michael Firestone does that and more — he delivers Jackson’s hits while also performing his killer dance moves. It’s a combination that’s taken him around the world.

Even though he’s lost his voice at times because of too many back-to-back shows, and injured his knees on stage floors that weren’t as smooth as they should be, Firestone says he wouldn’t have it any other way. The father of three, who lives in Las Vegas, says the crowds make it all worthwhile.

He and his band and dancers have performed for millions. They bring “I AM KING: The Michael Jackson Experience,” to the Palace Danbury on Thursday, Aug. 8. “We usually do a one and a half-hour show and try to squeeze in as many of his iconic songs as we can,” he said in a phone chat.

There are 22 costume changes during this production. He said, “The buckles are the hardest because they can get stuck.” Firestone also said everyone onstage with him is a huge fan of Jackson’s artistry. Songs such as “Human Nature,” “Beat It” and “Thriller” always get a huge reaction.

Firestone is an acclaimed performer. He was chosen as one of two official impersonators for the Michael Jackson Laser Spectacular shows in theaters and casinos all over the United States and Canada.

Our interview took place shortly before his recent series of dates in Israel. “When we have five or six shows in a row, by the seventh night, vocally, that’s a little challenging,” he said. “I drink tea all day long. I drink tea with honey and lemon.”

Protecting his knees while dancing is also a challenge. “Just one little move can do it if a stage nail has lifted up; if you catch it when you’re sliding, that can kill your knee. I try to look over the stage and put an ‘X’ on it (where it may be dangerous).”

Firestone has perfected his moonwalking. He runs and bikes for stamina. The main thing is keeping his voice in shape for all of that singing, not to mention those high-pitched squeals — “Whoo!”

“I have done super long runs for seven months at a time and never had one day off. One night my voice went out completely and I asked the crowd, ‘Do you want your money back, or do you want to sing for me?’ They sang and I just danced.”

Jackson died at 50 on June 25, 2009. Firestone said it’s clear his fans miss him. “They’re so supportive; they cry and sing with me.” He said those fans are the greatest, but he’s certainly aware there are many who no longer revere Jackson because of the sexual abuse allegations against him.

Firestone met the King of Pop briefly once, when he handed him a tape and a business card. He said Jackson called later and they wound up speaking several times afterward, including when Jackson was rehearsing for his comeback tour.

It was a tour many had anxiously awaited. When Firestone performs, he tries to be as authentic as possible. His intention is to bring fans back to the years Jackson was at his best. “That’s what I hope to do every night,” he said.; Twitter: @LindaTKoonz – Link to Original Article

Michael Jackson Tribute Show

Man in the Mirror Arrives in Israel

Michael Jackson’s name and legacy have been further tarnished in recent days following the allegations of sexual abuse of minors revealed in the Sundance Film Festival entry Leaving Neverland.

But that hasn’t seemed to affect Jackson’s popularity in Israel. It was all cheers and adulation on Monday night when the I Am King Michael Jackson review from Las Vegas made a stop on its month-long tour of the country in Ma’aleh Adumim.

The near-sellout crowd treated singer/dancer Michael Firestone and his glitzy, entertaining revue as if he were the king of pop, but without all the baggage.

Possessing an uncannily similar physique and singing voice to Jackson, and – thanks to prodigious makeup and hair piece – an eerie likeness, Firestone dazzled the audience with a spot-on performance that showcased his Jackson-inspired nimble dance steps and memorable repertoire.

He was backed by a spunky band, four talented dancers and numerous costume changes, evoking the atmosphere of a stage show, rather than a concert. At times, the cleavage and exposed skin factor of the female dancers jiggled toward burlesque, and coupled with Firestone’s frequent crotch grabs, cemented this as a show that might require some parental guidance.

On the other hand, the kids that were there became participants, being brought up onstage for some amateur moonwalk efforts and singalsongs.

Strolling through the audience during “Black and White,” Firestone was treated like a superstar, posing for selfies with Jackson fans and mugging for the crowd.

We love our heroes, and if they are far from perfect in real life, onstage they make up for it – even if it’s not really them.

—– The Jerusalem Post

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