On Stage: The 60’s come back to Phoenixville

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

The Sixties Show

If you grew up with the music and the vibes of the 1960s or if you’re a later day fan of that era, there is a show coming to the Colonial Theatre (227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, thecolonialtheatre.com/events) on September 30 that you don’t want to miss — The Sixties Show.

The Sixties Show played the Colonial in Phoenixville this time last year and the Colonial in Laconia, New Hampshire last Saturday.

The Sixties Show is a high energy trip back in time that reminds the audience how uniquely inspirational, entertaining, and historically significant were the music and events of the 1960’s.

According to its website, “The Sixties Show is from NYC and is The Greatest 1960s Musical Re-Creation Show on Earth.”

The band features Craig O’Keefe (Co-Founder, Producer, Musical Director, Bass, Lead and Backing Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards), Jim Boggia (Guitar, Lead and Backing Vocals, Piano), Tom Licameli (Co-Founder, Producer, Multimedia Director, Guitar, Lead and Backing Vocals, Piano), Scott Devours (Drums), Peter Chiusano (Keyboards, Orchestration) and John Cardone (Bass, Backing Vocals).

The band plays Beatles, Stones, Who, Motown, poppy stuff like the Monkees, Buffalo Springfield, Burt Bachrach and classics like “Wichita Lineman” and “Everybody’s Talking.”

The Sixties Show is widely celebrated and known for playing note-for-note recreations of hits, B-sides and deep album cuts from the greatest songs of the 1960’s. All of the music is performed live, with no samples, backing tracks or pre-recorded music of any kind.

In addition to the concert experience, The Sixties Show is full multi-media Broadway type production that is powerfully dramatized by a combination of time travel special effects, narration, 60’s archival audio and newsreel footage, and a light show.

“I’m always trying to improve – new multimedia, new songs, new narrations,” said O’Keefe. “We always want to upgrade the show. Once a year we refresh the set.

“Since we played the Colonial last year, we’ve added 10-12 new songs. It’s still hits, B-sides, album cuts – nothing pedestrian. There are no samples and no backing tracks. Everything is done live.”

The members of The Sixties Show have performed and recorded with Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, The Bee Gees, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and other legends.

O’Keefe honed his musical prowess on the L.A. scene — writing, touring and recording with several L.A. bands, most notably Hal Lovejoy Circus and Annapurna. He was also the co-founder of Echoback.

Licameli is the guitarist and songwriter of ​​​​Knockout Drops from New York City. He is also involved with Mad Staggers, Turbo Tribeca Music Community, New York Roots Music Association and is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music.

Boggia, a Philly musician, has released three solo studio albums – “Fidelity Is the Enemy” (2001), “Safe in Sound” (2205) and “Misadventures in Stereo” (2008). The list of artists with whom he has worked includes Aimee Mann, Juliana Hatfield, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Bernadette Peters, David Poe, Big Al Anderson, Tony Asher, Wayne Kramer, Emitt Rhodes, and Amanda Marshall.

Bents, who is from Minneapolis, is an Emmy Award®  winning musician and a widely recognized multi-instrumentalist who has done world-wide tours and recorded with many music greats including John Fogerty,  Steely Dan,  Boz Scaggs, Phoebe Snow, Joan Osborne, Dweezil Zappa, and The Spin Doctors. As a producer he has produced multiple platinum and gold albums for several artists including the German superstar Marius Müller-Westernhagen.

Chiusano studied classical piano at Stony Brook University and continued his education studying jazz with Andy Laverne.

Because of his understanding of 1960’s period music and arrangements, the Mellotrons and Moogs, the Hammond B3, Vox Continental and Farfisa organs, the Hohner, Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos are all faithfully reproduced with state-of-the-art gear and performed with the most accurate authenticity.

The Sixties Show is the work of O’Keefe.

“I had been in many bands, had record deals and made music for filmd and TV,” said O’Keefe. “I kind of got out of that. I decided to do 60s music – a recreation of 60s music. I auditioned more than 100 musicioans and chose six. Tom is the only remaining one from then.

“When it started, we were playing tiny little bars in front of no-one. Eventually, we started playing clubs and then small theaters and the bigger theaters. We do a pre-show, a 60-minute set, a 20-minute intermission, another 60-minute set and then always an encore.”

The Sixties Show band uses a state-of-the-art sound system but only plays authentic 1960’s period vintage and reissue vintage gear and instrumentation — just like original artist’s and original recordings. This combined with genuine 1960’s mod attire that the band wears only add to the meticulous detail and authenticity of this popular and powerful theater show.

“There were over a million songs released in the 60s,” said O’Keefe. “We have two hours. We maintain tradition and do 27 songs in a set. We strongly stay away from doing anything pedestrian.

“We have to play it exactly like the record. I do a lot of research on recording information. That’s how we can make the sound like the record. The musicians in the show absolutely love it.

“We play early 60s – Stax, Volt, Motown. We play mid-60s – British Invasion. We play late-60s – West Coast sound. We try to keep everybody happy.

“The important thing for people to know is that we’re not a tribute band. We are a re-creation show.”

Video link for The Sixties Show – https://youtu.be/FVxWsHj3sMk.

The show at the Colonial Theatre will start at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices start at $27.50.

There are many musicians who are considered to be “Guitar Gods.”

Then, there is Daniel Donato.

Daniel Donato

For the Nashville-based guitarist, who will be performing on October 19 at Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, www.ardmoremusic.com), guitar is his god.

“My goal is to become one with my guitar,” said Donato, during a phone interview Tuesday from a tour stop in Pittsburgh.

“It’s the vehicle for the communication of my personality. It’s my instrument – my way of speaking to the world.

“Guitar is my life partner. The notes I play create the entire world around me. Everything comes from vibrations of these strings – every day.”

Donato, whose main instrument is the Fender Telecaster, had a simple start with the guitar.

“I started with acoustic guitar,” said Donato. “My dad had guitars around the house. So, I started to play acoustic guitar.

“When I was 12, the instrument started to speak to me. It was a synchronous, harmonious relationship right off the bat. I was 12 when I got my first electric guitar and 14 when I got my first Telecaster.”

It was around this time that Donato’s father would take him to Nashville to busk in the district filled with honky-tonk clubs.

“I was 14 and I was busking on the streets,” said Donato. “There’s not a more humble way to start than that. I was playing in front of a pizza shop on Broadway. Then, I played for a couple years in front of Hatch Show Print. There’s a lot of history in that shop.”

Hatch Show Print is a print shop in Nashville, United States that specializes in printing concert posters. Founded in 1879, it is known for its use of vintage wood type. It was donated in 1992 to the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2013 moved inside the museum premises.

“I saved $550 from busking and bought a used Telecaster in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. A normal Telecaster was all I needed — nothing fancy. A lot of Nashville guitarists play Gretsch and hollow bodies. In Chicago, all the cats were playing Telecaster.

“When I was 15, I ended up writing all the time and sitting with all the bands I could on Broadway. All the doors were open – if you knock. When I was 17, I got a resident vocal gig with the Don Kelly Band at Robert’s – four sets a night, all cover songs. It was right when YouTube was kicking off with music videos.

“I didn’t get a recording contract until my most recent record. Prior to this, I had two EPs and two albums that were self-financed.”

Donato’s new album, “Reflector,” was just released on November 10 via Retrace Music. The 15 songs on the album are Donato’s first collection of all original songs. They embody the progressing musical space he has created for himself, which he refers to as “cosmic country” — a moniker that’s both self-descriptive and a statement of purpose.

It’s an organic rock band aesthetic with plenty of roadhouse twang, a showcase for Donato’s instrumental virtuosity and facility for melodically infectious songcraft. Bridging Nashville and the Great West, Kentucky and mid-60s northern California, tie-dye and plaid, it’s a world of his own, and wide world of musical adventure at that.

Donato’s “cosmic country” is a combination of Southern rock, bluegrass, classic country, and honky-tonk with Southern California folk and Northern California musical exploration.

According to Donato, “I think Cosmic Country is a tale as old as time, really. It’s yin and yang in a musical form. It’s three chords and the truth, and then on the other side it’s exploration and bravery. I really went through a lot of years of grinding, and still am, to achieve this sound which is a vehicle for my personality, and the personality is a vehicle for my soul. So, the new album is more that than any other record I ever put out.”

Donato stayed in Nashville to make “Reflector.”

According to Donato, “‘Reflector’ reflects ‘the work I did on myself and the work I did on my art’ during the past three years. I really started discovering new psychological and ritual domains I wasn’t really aware of. The whole concept of ‘Reflector’ is of a duality.”

“I recorded ‘Reflector’ with Vance Powell at his Sputnik Sound Studio in Nashville,” said Donato, who now owns 32 guitars. “When I had the budget, Vance was the first guy I reached out to. We recorded it in December last year. We cut 16 songs and used 15 on the album.

“‘Reflector’ is a concept – what I call life. The whole external world is reflections of your internal world.”

Donato will be making another return appearance at the Ardmore Music Hall – another hookup with Jesse Lundy, the talent buyer for Point Entertainment who has booked shows and supported Donato’s career.

“When I first started, Jesse Lundy was one of those pieces of the puzzle the universe gave to me,” said Donato. “I’ve done five or six shows with Jesse and that has meant a lot to me.”

When Donato rips it up at the Ardmore Music Hall tonight, it will be with his band of Nashville players.

“I always play electric when I play live,” said Donato. “I have a four-piece that’s been together about two years – Will Clark on drums, Nathan Aronowitz on keys and Will McGee on upright and electric bass.

“The show at Ardmore this week will be my 100th show this year. Every set is different. I have over 100 songs I can play so it’s easy to have a different set every time.”

Video link for Daniel Donato – https://youtu.be/cS3_Q9myBIc.

The show at Ardmore Music Hall on October 19 will start at 8 p.m. and also feature a live pre-show conversation with Donato.

Tickets are $49.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are Southall on October 20, Pink Talking Fish on October 21, Hiss Golden Messenger on October 22, and M. Ward on October 25.

Lily & Madeleine are headlining a show on October 19 at World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, www.worldcafelive.com). The sisters from Indiana, who just released their fifth album, have a history with Philadelphia.

“We’ve played shows in Philly since our early days,” said Madeleine (Jutkiewicz) during a phone interview from Connecticut yesterday afternoon. “We played a lot in the area including Boot & Saddle and several times at World Café Live.”

This time, Lily & Madeleine are making Philly one stop on a support tour for their album, “Nite Swim,” which was just released on October 6.

“We recorded ‘Nite Swim’ over a course of three years,” said Lily. “We started in December 2020.

“Me and Lily recorded skeletons for all the tracks in our home studio and then fleshed them out later. We also did recording work in Illinois and Palo Alto with Shannon Hayden.”

Hayden produced, arranged, mixed and played a variety of instruments (including cello and violin). She also shares writing credits with the sisters on every track.

“I produced some tracks in my home studio in Martinsville, Illinois. Then, I moved to Palo Alto, and we finished the album there.”

Most of the songs were written even earlier.

“Many of the songs were written in the summer of 2019,” said Madeleine. “We finished writing in the summer of 2021.

Lily & Madeleine began their own songwriting journey in 2012 at the age of 15 and 17 respectively. They previously released four full-length albums – “Lily & Madeleine” (2013) and “Fumes” (2014) on Asthmatic Kitty Records, and “Keep It Together” (2016) and “Canterbury Girls” (2019) on New West Records. The new album is their first independent release.

“It took us a long time to get the whole indie release done,” said Madeleine. “Should there be vinyl? Should we make CDs? What platforms should we use? A lot is just deciding on the platform.”

Now, “Nite Swim” is available on all the major platforms including Spotify and Apple. The album is also distributed through Distrokid.com.

Lily & Madeleine’s music has chronicled their coming-of-age as modern women and artists, and the sisters’ early folk-pop sound has evolved, with a mature rock edge and their trademark “blood harmony” at the core.

“My confidence in songwriting has increased with these songs,” said Lily. “I was 22 when I started with them and I’m 26 now. I’ve been motivated by these songs. I really believe in them.

“What tied them altogether was sonic glue. A lot of the lyrics deal with being depressed, lonely, self-conscious, vulnerable.

“A lot of writers and reviewers are saying – melancholy. I find that very irritating.

“We have fun singing about that vulnerability. This album goes even deeper into these feelings of darkness. Another key emotion is lonlineess.

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback that people are grateful that we’ve tapped into these emotions. For us, it was absolutely cathartic. It feels like a real release.”
Video link for Lily & Madeleine – https://youtu.be/-16PnoFZtE0.

The show on October 19 at the World Café Live will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15.

Other upcoming shows at World Café Live are Dessa on October 19, Say She She on October 20, Nick Shoulders on October 21, Gone Gone Beyound on October 24 and Paul Cauthen on October 25.

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985,www.jameyshouseofmusic.com)

is the place to go to hear folk, jazz and blues music every Thursday through Sunday.

The “Thursday Night Jazz Jam” and the “Sunday Blues Brunch & Jam” are regular features on Jamey’s calendar while Friday and Saturday night shows feature national and regional acts.

The shows this weekend are Rusty and Jan and Fair Chance on October 20 and The Deb Callahan Band on October 21.

The shows at Jamey’s on Friday and Saturday will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door on October 20 and $25 in advance and $30 at the door on October 21.

The “Thursday Night Jazz Jam” and the “Sunday Blues Brunch & Jam” are regular features on Jamey’s calendar while Friday and Saturday night shows feature national and regional acts.

On October 19, it will be time for the “Thursday Night Jazz Jam” featuring Andrea Carlson.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, www.uptownwestchester.org) is presenting Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers on October 20 and Joe Matarese on October 21.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is presenting THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW movie screening and LIVE show by Delaware burlesque troupe FORMAL DRESS OPTIONAL on October 20 and Three Ton on October 21.

Cirque du Solieil “Bazzar” is running now through October 22 under its Big Top in the parking lot adjacent to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks.

“Bazzar” is a touring show by Cirque du Soleil that premiered in November 2018 in Mumbai, India. It is the company’s 43rd production, and its first show to perform in India. From India, it moved to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. It was relaunched in September 2022 in Brazil and has toured since then in Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro as well as Santiago de Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

This engagement in Oaks marks the show’s North American Premiere. The show, which features an international cast of 35 performers and musicians, includes teeterboard, portage, acrobatic bike, contortion, duo rollerskates, duo trapeze, aerial rope, hair suspension, fire manipulation, slackline, and, for the first time in Cirque du Soleil history, a mesmerizing act of Mallakhamb, a traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs aerial yoga postures and wrestling grips in concert with a vertical stationary or hanging wooden pole, cane or hanging rope.

Cirque du Soleil “Bazzar” is an eclectic lab of endless invention where a joyous troupe of acrobats, dancers, and musicians create an awe-inspiring display. They work together to create a quirky one-of-a-kind world under the direction of their maestro.

The dynamic company reimagines, rebuilds, and reinvents vibrant scenarios in a setting where the unpredictable is anticipated in an artistic, athletic game of order and disorder.

“Into the Woods” is a comedy-driven musical with a cast of crafty and funny characters. It is a little challenging for audiences – until they realize that trying to follow four fairy tales blended together is useless.

“Into the Woods,” which is running now through October 29 at the Candlelight Dinner Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org), is a comedy-driven musical with a cast of crafty and funny characters with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1987, winning three Tony Awards including Best Score and Best Book. It has since been produced throughout the world and was adapted into a major motion picture in 2014.

Following a sold-out New York City Center Encores! run in May 2022, the production transferred to Broadway as a limited engagement beginning July 2022, marking its first time on Broadway in 20 years. Following tremendous critical acclaim and audience demand, it was extended twice and concluded its Broadway run on January 8, 2023.

The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella” and several others.

The musical “Into the Woods” debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 and premiered on Broadway on November 5, 1987, where it won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical in a year dominated by “The Phantom of the Opera” (1988).

The musical has since been produced many times, with a 1988 US national tour, a 1990 West End production, a 1997 tenth anniversary concert, a 2002 Broadway revival, a 2010 London revival, and in 2012 as part of New York City’s outdoor Shakespeare in the Park series.

James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone’s favorite storybook characters and bring them together for a timeless, yet relevant, piece… and a rare modern classic. The Tony Award-winning book and score are both enchanting and touching.

The story of “Into the Woods” follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse.

Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results. “Into the Woods” is a musically sophisticated show with the opportunity to feature actors who are adept at dark comedy.

“Into the Woods” is running now through October 29 at the Candlelight Theater with shows on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees.

Tickets, which include a buffet meal, beverages, dessert, and free parking, are $71.50 for adults and $33 for children.


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