Curtain Call: Ridgefield musician takes on the ’60s

This week Seven Angels Theatre will present The Sixties Show. Here’s a show that has been selling out wherever it plays. Why? It was a transformative era and the music represented the voice of the people. Anti-Vietnam War protests, the civil rights movement with its marches, all of this transpired because the people of this country felt they had to take action. It was a time when blacks and whites and all colors called for unity and the music and its potent lyrics left no doubt as to what the people wanted.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Craig O’Keefe of Ridgefield, the musical director of the show that opens on Aug. 25. It was his conception that got the show rolling. An accomplished professional musician, he said that the music of the ’60s always fascinated him. “I started the show from scratch,” he said describing the intensive work and research as a labor of love.

He came up with the pop culture concept in Los Angeles, and then brought it to New York. “I auditioned musicians that really captured the exact sound of the period and once I put the band together we started doing small clubs.” Because of the cultural impact the music of the ’60s has had on America, and because of the technology now available, O’Keefe was able to enhance the concert type venue with a multimedia component, which moved the show from concert to theatrical event.

“We’ve got videos of commercials from the ’60s as well as history and we’ve added a light show,” said O’Keefe who says that the music is so unique that it resonates across ages. “It’s really quite amazing that whenever we perform this show, we sell out every single time. I’m not bragging, I’m just saying that this music is cross-generational. It’s a crowd pleaser.” Not only does the show get a huge standing ovation at the end of the performance, but O’Keefe said that they get ovations throughout the entire show. “I’ve been in so many bands, but I’ve never seen a response like this.

“What is so amazing is the emotional effect that this show has on people. Some people in the audience actually cry. It’s that moving.” With songs by Sir Paul McCartney, the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, the Bee Gees, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and other legends, this show is not to be missed.

In addition to the music, there is narration and some of it consists of stories behind the music, which is often personal and memorable. In its earlier stages, the show was presented pretty much as a concert, but now it’s a full blown theatrical event. I have to say reading the bios of these six musicians has convinced me that this is a show that will blow audiences away. We are talking major recording, radio, and television credits.

Here’s fair warning, get your tickets now. Seven Angels Theatre said tickets are $47.50 and selling fast. Box office: 203-757-4676.  

If you have inside, off stage information regarding any Connecticut theater or local luminaries, please send it with a contact name and phone number to Curtain Call at [email protected]

About author
Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in The American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: [email protected].com

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