Performing Arts
© Mike Keenan



The Legends of Rock 'N' Roll

Laura Mae Nason, Jennifer Kee and Valerie Stanois in Legends of Rock n Roll

Recently in the summer playground of Grand Bend, I took in "The Legends of Rock 'N' Roll," a 2.5 hour salute to musical pioneers performed at the crowded Huron Country Playhouse. The sequel to the smash-hit Twist and Shout: The British Invasion, which wowed sold-out audiences last season, was written and directed by Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment.

"From the mid 1950s through the mid 1970s, a number of artists refused to bow to industry pressure and (they) creatively set their own musical trends," says Mustakas. "They were courageous and outrageous, and this production is our way of saluting the most influential rock and roll acts of the 20th century."

The format employs popular television host Roy Solomon signing-off the air after 20 years with SBC Studios. Theatregoers become the live studio audience who are taken on a stroll down memory lane, which features a hit-parade of over 60 songs by artists such as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers, The Supremes, Ray Charles, Elton John, ABBA, The Monkees, and many more.

Each season, Mustakas constructs musical ensembles, in this case, a talented 13-member group to breathe new life into music. With an expert team, he skillfully integrates all elements of music, dance, and performance to create a winning production.

Yvan Pedneault shows great range in The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" and John Lennon's "Imagine." Gerrad Everard is hilarious with the right moves to portray Mick Jagger in "Paint It, Black" and his duet with Pedneault of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is a showstopper.

Michael Clarke performs renditions of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" and Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," while Lee Siegel's voice soars on classics like "Oh, Pretty Woman" and "Mony Mony." Michel Lafleche gives magnetic performances of "Johnny B. Goode" and "Do You Believe in Magic?" and shows off his comedic chops in "I Got You Babe."

Valerie Stanois channels Dionne Warwick in "There's Always Something There To Remind Me," and Laura Mae Nason is sassy in Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," setting up Jennifer Kee to bring down the house with a searing versions of Janis Joplin's "Me And Bobby McGee," Dusty Springfield's "Son Of A Preacher Man" and Aretha Franklin's classic, "Respect." The three come together to wow audiences with back to back renditions of The Supremes' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Baby Love," and "Stop! In The Name of Love." Thomas Colford, Chad McNamara, Kimberly O'Neill and Breanna Willis dance up a storm in numbers like "Rock Around The Clock," "I'm Walkin'," "Tutti Frutti" and many more.


Cast members showcase fantastic harmonies covering such Motown classics as The Temptations' "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone," Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," The Four Tops' "Reach Out, I'll Be There," Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" and many other memorable tunes.

My favourite comedic moments were when Gerrad Everard imitated Mick Jagger and Michel LaFleche played Cher with his tiny sidekick Sonny, played by Pedneault. As announcer Sheldon Lubliner, Michael De Rose delivers charm and laughs throughout the show - especially in Tiny Tim's "Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips with Me." The final number, a musical medley honoring the greatest rock 'n roll legend of them all- Elvis Presley - encapsulates the charisma and sheer exuberance that sustains the entire production.

Here's a list of all of the numbers -

Musical Numbers - Act One

Proud Mary by Tina Turner (Christine Glen and Company)

Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets (Michael De Rose with Thomas Colford, Chad McNamara, Kimberly O'Neill, Breanna Willis)

I'm Walkin' by Fats Domino (Lee Siegel with Thomas Colford, Chad McNamara, Kimberly O'Neill, Breanna Willis)

Tutti Frutti by Little Richard (Yvan Pedneault with Thomas Colford, Chad McNamara, Kimberly O'Neill, Breanna Willis)

Whole Lotta Shakin' by Jerry Lee Lewis (Gerrad Everard and Company)

The Twist by Chubby Checker (Michael Clarke and Company)

At The Hop by Danny and the Juniors (Michael De Rose and Company)

Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay by Danny and the Juniors (Michael De Rose and Company)

Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry (Michel LaFleche and Company)

Buddy Holly and The Crickets Medley by Buddy Holly and The Crickets (Gerrad Everard with Michel LaFleche, Yvan Pedneault)

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by The Hollies (Yvan Pedneault with Michael Clarke, Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Lee Siegel)

Be My Baby by The Ronettes (Christine Glen with Jennifer Kee, Laura Mae Nason, Valerie Stanois)

There's Always Something There To Remind Me by Dionne Warwick (Valerie Stanois with Christine Glen, Jennifer Kee, Laura Mae Nason)

These Boots Are Made for Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra (Laura Mae Nason with Christine Glen, Jennifer Kee, Valerie Stanois)

You're My World by Cilia Black (Jennifer Kee with Christine Glen, Laura Mae Nason, Valerie Stanois)

The Four Seasons Medley by The Four Seasons (Yvan Pedneault with Michael Clarke, Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche)

The Monster Mash by Bobby (Boris) Pickett (Michael De Rose and Company)

The Monkees Medley by The Monkees (Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Yvan Pedneault, Lee Siegel)

Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension (Valerie Stanois and Company)

Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me by Tiny Tim (Michael De Rose)

I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher (Michel LaFleche and Yvan Pedneault) Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells (Lee Siegel and Company)

The Beatles Medley by The Beatles (Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Chad McNamara, Yvan Pedneault)

Put A Little Love In Your Heart by Cilia Black (Jennifer Kee with Christine Glen, Laura Mae Nason, Valerie Stanois)

A Sign Of The Times by Petula Clark (Laura Mae Nason with Christine Glen, Jennifer Kee, Valerie Stanois)

Don't Sleep In The Subway by Petula Clark (Valerie Stanois with Christine Glen, Jennifer Kee, Laura Mae Nason)

Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield (Christine Glen with Jennifer Kee, Laura Mae Nason, Valerie Stanois)

Beach Boys Medley by The Beach Boys (Michael Clarke, Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Yvan Pedneault, Lee Siegel and Company)


Musical Numbers - Act Two

Happy Together by The Turtles (Laura Mae Nason, Yvan Pedneault and Company)

Papa Was A Rollin' Stone by The Temptations (Michael Clarke with Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Lee Siege/)

I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye (Michael Clarke with Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Lee Siegel)

Reach Out, I'll Be There by The Four Tops (Lee Siegel with Michael Clarke, Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours by Stevie Wonder (Lee Siegel with Michael Clarke, Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche)

Ain't No Mountain High Enough by The Supremes (Jennifer Kee with Laura Mae Nason, Valerie Stanois)

Baby Love by The Supremes (Laura Mae Nason with Jennifer Kee, Valerie Stanois)

Stop! In The Name of Love by The Supremes (Valerie Stanois with Jennifer Kee, Laura Mae Nason)

River Deep, Mountain High by The Supremes & The Four Tops (Michael Clarke, Christine Glen and Company)

California Dreamin' by The Mamas and the Papas (Gerrad Everard, Christine Glen, Laura Mae Nason, Yvan Pedneault)

Do You Believe In Magic by The Lovin' Spoonful (Michel LaFleche and Company)

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills & Nash (Gerrad Everard and Company) Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Michael Clarke and Company)

Down On The Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Lee Siegel and Company)

Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel (Gerrad Everard and Yvan Pedneault)

Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and Wings (Michael De Rose and Company)

Me And Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin (Jennifer Kee)

Takin' Care Of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive (Gerrad Everard with Michael Clarke, Michel LaFleche, Yvan Pedneault, Lee Siegel)

Signs by Five Man Electrical Band (Lee Siegel with Michael Clarke, Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Yvan Pedneault)

American Woman by The Guess Who (Yvan Pedneault with Michael Clarke, Gerrad Everard, Michel LaFleche, Lee Siegel and Breanna Willis)

Imagine by John Lennon (Yvan Pedneault)

Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers (Gerrad Everard and Michel LaFleche)

Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison (Lee Siegel)

Crocodile Rock by Elton John (Yvan Pedneault)

Waterloo by ABBA (Laura Mae Nason, Valerie Stanois with Thomas Colford and Chad McNamara)

Superstition by Stevie Wonder (Michael Clarke)

What'd I Say by Ray Charles (Michael Clarke with Christine Glen, Jennifer Kee, Laura Mae Nason, Kimberly O'Neill, Valerie Stanois, Breanna Willis)

Paint It, Black by Mick Jagger (Gerrad Everard)

Respect by Aretha Franklin (Christine Glen with Jennifer Kee, Laura Mae Nason, Valerie Stanois)

Elvis Medley by Elvis Presley (Company)

Drayton Entertainment: https://www.draytonentertainment.com/Online/default.asp

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