| Stars light up VPAT's new Season of Shows
Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre manager Rachel Morgan again has cobbled together another bill of wide-ranging, sure-to-satisfy events for the 2017-18 Season of Shows, featuring John Tesh, Vicki Lawrence, Blood Sweat & Tears, Los Lobos, and Sara Evans.
In the newly refurbished, city-owned venue with brand-new seating, the season — mostly defined by music and a measure of comedy — kicks off at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 with Tesh, former host of the “Entertainment Tonight” TV show and a popular figure in New Age and contemporary jazz circles.
An internationally known keyboardist and practitioner of rousing orchestral pop music, Tesh has nurtured a music career spanning three decades. He’s won six music Emmys, received two Grammy nominations, boasts three gold records on his mantel, been the subject of seven PBS specials, and has sold more than 8 million recordings.
In a press release, Morgan wrote that Tesh’s ability to create “a unique journey” with music and storytelling has taken him from Carnegie Hall to the ancient Coliseum in Rome. His live TV concerts, including the seminal “Live at Red Rocks,” have raised more than $20 million for PBS. Tickets are $50.
Laughter will echo in VPAT when comedian Vicki Lawrence and her never-aging, prickly senior citizen alter ego of TV fame combine to present “Lawrence & Mama — A Two-Woman Show,” at 8 p.m. Nov. 3. Tickets are $50.
An Emmy Award winner, Lawrence is one of the most beloved television personalities of her generation. Plucked out of obscurity as a high school senior, she went on to become part of the now-legendary cast of the “Carol Burnett Show,” which ran from 1967 to 1978. In the seventh season, she created her most endearing character, Thelma Harper, or “Mama,” as she is better known to her fans.
After the Burnett show ended, Lawrence went on to star in “Mama’s Family,” which aired from 1983 to 1984 on NBC.
In the prepared statement, Lawrence told Morgan that the time is right for Mama to dust off those sensible shoes and hit the road with a touring production.
“We’re creating new material with a more modern and cutting edge,” she said. “Where Mama is concerned, expect the unexpected,” she said. “I hope people will be pleasantly surprised by a side of Vicki they may never have seen. … I know Mama will be up to the challenge.”
David Clayton-Thomas may no longer front Blood, Sweat & Tears, but vocalist Bo Bice, who was the runner-up to Carrie Underwood in the fourth season of “American Idol,” carries on the big, brassy jazz-rock band’s singing chores. The ensemble performs at 8 p.m. Jan. 26. Tickets are $65.
Clayton-Thomas, who has performed at VPAT, bid the group goodbye in 2004, but, by some accounts, Bice has proven to be a vocal dynamo, a capable replacement for his predecessor’s unmistakable sound.
Formed in New York City in 1967, BS&T, as they are sometimes called for short, is the band that fused rock, blues, pop music, horn arrangements and jazz improvisation into an appealing hybrid.
Recordings by the original lineup, which included keyboardist Al Kooper and guitarist Steve Katz, earned Grammy Awards, gold record sales numbers, the respect of fellow musicians, and adoration from millions of fans. Mostly from the late 1960s and early 1970s, multiple Billboard Top 40 hits included “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die,” “Hi-De-Ho,” “Lucretia MacEvil,” “Go Down Gamblin’,” and a version of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child.”
An Americana band without peer, Los Lobos will bring its engaging mix of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues and traditional Spanish and Mexican music to VPAT at 8 p.m. March 23. Tickets are $65.
After celebrating their 40th anniversary with the 2013 live album, “Disconnected In New York City,” members of the hard-working, constantly-touring band entered its fifth decade.
More than 30 years after Los Lobos’ major label breakthrough, “How Will The Wolf Survive?” their 1984 album still ranks No. 30 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s. Three decades, two more Grammys and thousands of rollicking performances across the globe later, singer-guitarist David Hildalgo, singer-guitarist Cesar Rosas, drummer Louie Perez, bassist Conrad Lozano and saxophonist Steve Berlin are still jamming with the same raw intensity as they had when they began in 1973 in East Los Angeles and carried forward to a 2009 White House performance and beyond.
Morgan is never one to forget the appeal of country music when she compiles a season’s lineup.
Sara Evans, who has been at the forefront of country music for 20 years, will perform at 8 p.m. April 20. Tickets are $75.
Whether on radio, in concert halls, in amphitheaters, on fans’ personal play-lists or on recordings, her song list includes 14 Top 20 hits, from her first No. 1 — “No Place That Far,” featuring background vocals by Vince Gill to the neo-traditional “Suds In The Bucket” to the elegant, spiky pop feel of “Slow Me Down.”
The Evans resume boasts five No. 1 singles, millions of records sold, the Academy of Country Music’s Top Female Vocalist Award and a claim to a Country Music Association trophy for her signature song, “Born To Fly.”
Season tickets go on sale at the theater box office, 1010 Ulatis Drive, on Tuesday. They are available in person or by phone, telephone 469-4013. Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and one hour before every ticketed event. Payments are by cash, check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover).
Season subscribers enjoy all five performances and save 10 percent off the individual ticket prices. On Stage Vacaville members receive an additional 10 percent off the subscription price. Individual tickets go on sale Aug. 29.
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