7/17/2021 IN THE GROOVE Jennie T. Anderson Theatre Drive-in Series /
I CAN’T HELP MYSELF
You may observe that there is little point to writing about In the Groove. It is not really a play, but a cover-concert, featuring Motown hits from the ‘60’s and ‘70s, and it was a one-night-only production. But, as the song says, I can’t help myself. I really am compelled to write about shows I have no business writing about.
As I mentioned last week in my review of G.E.T.’s Summer Surf Party, the late sixties and early seventies were my high school years, so these songs seeped into my soul while I was adolescing, and, as a result, are part-and-parcel of who I am at my musical core. Which, I suppose, is a highfalutin’ way of saying that, even after all these years, they make my toes tap, my heart race, and my mind echo in nostalgia.
The show is structured like a series of “Cover Band” sets, starting with the Four Seasons, then continuing with The Temptations and Four Tops, with Stevie Wonder, with the Supremes (and other female hit-makers), with the Beatles, and with others. Obviously, the focus was on the era rather than Motown itself (though more than half the songs had a Motown pedigree).
But what really sold this for me was the energy and talent of the gentlemen in front of the band – Telvin Carter, Fanner Eady, Koby Parker, and Leo Thomasian. Meticulously directed and choreographed by Ricardo Aponte (with musical direction and arrangements by Nick Edelstein), these guys channeled the style and stature of the artists to whom they were paying tribute; they
certainly conveyed a non-stop joy with the era, with the songs, with the steps. Sure, I may have preferred to see women sing the female-centric songs, but these four guys sold them (and small consolation, the backup band was more than half female).
But, more to the point, I actually feared I’d fall asleep as I had been awake since 3:00 AM (for .. reasons) and was nodding off before the show started. But once that first chord hit, I was as awake as if I were mainlining liquid caffeine, and, if my rickety knees and legs weren’t so old and feeble, I would have joined those dancing in the aisles. As it was, I had to remain content with wallowing in the High School memories these songs evoked.
BUICEntennial Productions has chosen to focus on live performances with various “Tribute” themes, and they are very good at it. – look for the upcoming July 30 Kokomo (which may echo much of Summer Surf Party as it is from the same creators and features the same cast) at the Mable House Amphitheatre, as well as She’s a Rebel (Rock ‘n Roll Women), Respect (Black female Artists), and Sinatra (His Way). Details on these (and earlier) shows can found at the BUICEntennial web site, https://buicentennial.wordpress.com//
And, who knows? These shows just may be available to be restaged and revived!
I somehow suspect this won’t be the last time we’ll be In the Groove!
-- Brad Rudy (BK Rudy@aol.com @bk_rudy #IntoTheWoods #CitySpringsTheatre)
Watch excerpts from In the Groove Here: