July 24th, 2017

Singers pay homage to American pop legends

By Lethbridge Herald on April 2, 2017.

Upcoming show honours legacy of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
When Rick Morgan and his three bandmates in the Oh What A Night cast step onto the Yates Centre stage on April 17, audience members won’t be hearing a tribute act.
Instead, they will listen to four talented singers paying a personal tribute to the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, a band whose life story is well known to longtime fans of the group and those familiar with the hit musical “The Jersey Boys.”
But unlike “Jersey Boys,” which went into depth about the trials as well as the tribulations of the American pop group, the four singers in Oh What A Night will focus on their timeless music.
Morgan, a native of Tucson, Arizona, was born in 1966 and grew up listening to The Four Seasons. Morgan comes from a musical family and was performing in musicals by the time he was 13. In his long career, he has performed with the late Debbie Reynolds in her Las Vegas stage show as well as in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” He’s worked with Juliet Prowse in “Mame,” Lesley Uggams in “Anything Goes” and also played in a tribute to Buddy Holly.
He is one of the original cast members in the show which was created nine years ago by George Solomon and Motown producer Michael Chapman.
“George was going to sing lead on every song,” recalled Morgan, “but we got into rehearsals and split it up with every guy taking on a different song.”
“It’s afforded us a longevity and lets audiences come away from the show with a favourite. It’s a lot of fun. Paul Holmquist did a lot of amazing choreography.”
The show covers about 30 songs from The Four Seasons’ musical catalogue, giving audiences a broad taste of their sound from the group’s stellar career.
Among the songs will be Valli’s solo hit “Grease” from the late 1970s’ movie musical.
Other tunes audiences can expect to hear include “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Working My Way Back To You Girl” and “My Eyes Adored You” which Morgan remembers from a Grade 2 crush on a girl back in 1975.
“This music was always on. My daughter, who is 22 now, saw the show at 14 and knew every word,” said Morgan last week in an interview from his home in Hawaii.
The show has “great melodies and simple stories everybody can relate to. It brings back memories for so many people,” said Morgan.
“A lot of people bring their kids to the show and after, the kids are buying the CD — it’s a shared experience.”
The cast don’t try to emulate Valli’s characteristic and distinctive voice.
“He has a unique voice and we’re not imitating it. That would be silly.”
During the show, the cast will perform a couple of a cappella numbers which will highlight the harmonies and melodies of The Four Seasons.
Like many people, Morgan was taken aback when his friend Reynolds died a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher late last year.
“It was pretty upsetting. I hadn’t seen her for about a year and I think everybody felt it,” said Morgan who also knew her daughter.
“Debbie was an amazing performer and so generous with her fans. She would do autographs afterwards longer than her show.”
Tickets for Oh What A Night, which will be staged at 7 p.m. on April 17 at the Yates, are $63.50 at The Ticket Centre, 403-329-7328.
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