I’ll admit it – I have a strong preference for 80s music. And I can’t be the only one, since the pop masterpieces of Journey, Van Halen, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Toto, Elton John , etc. groceries at the mall. And I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Center Stage brings us the hits of these chart-topping artists and many more in their new music review, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, which opened last weekend and will run through January 9. It’s also packed with Christmas and New Years favorites that make it the perfect holiday. confection.
I asked the show’s music director, Chase McAbee, to tell us how this treat went.
BBW: First of all, how did you go about putting this review together? What is the general theme?
Myself, the director, and some of the staff at Center Stage put together a list of some of the biggest and best hits of the ’80s, added a few numbers to incorporate the holiday season, created medleys, and tried to include so many. of songs that we might not have been doing at Center Stage in the past 10 years! After some retouching and editing throughout the rehearsal process, we now have our production finished. We do our best to balance the tempos, make sure our performers have time to breathe and cool off between sets, and keep the audience on the edge of their seats wondering which ’80s hit they’ll be on. sing and dance. next!
Tell us a bit about the cast as well as the band and core members of the creative team.
This cast is a good mix of some Center Stage familiars (Josh and Kristofer) and newcomers to Center Stage rock shows (Meg, Ashley, Miranda and Drake, who have all been to several shows in the North. State) ! The group is made up of some of the most talented and sought after musicians in the upstate. Greg Day is a fantastic band leader / bassist and he always brings him out of the park with all the instrument arrangements of the songs! Kristofer (director / choreographer) and myself (Music Director) are rock show veterans and we always have a great time working together on these productions! Eilidh McKinnon did an amazing job as a stage manager while Wyatt Duncan’s costumes ensured our performers were at their best with a fusion of 80’s and contemporary rocker style. Paul Kwok offers the audience an incredible light show to accompany the band and stellar singers, while illuminating the 80s-inspired set design by Rick Connor.
Did you encounter any difficulties with this material to associate singers with songs or to find harmonies?
The biggest challenge is always matching the vocals to the song choices, giving each performer a balanced playing load and making sure that all of our key signatures fit well into the singers’ vocal ranges while ensuring that these key signatures are playable for our group. It takes about a week for all of this to solidify when the musical rehearsals start, but once we figure that out, the show starts to come together a lot easier and faster.
How do you balance the holiday fare with big, fun ’80s jams?
First and foremost it’s a rock show, so we wanted to make sure the rock n ‘roll didn’t get lost in the holiday tunes. To do this, we have a small Christmas set at the end of the first act and a small New Years set at the end of the second act before ending the show with the title song from the grand finale!
What do you hope audiences will take away from this show?
We want our audience to come out, stand out (hint!), Sing, dance and have a blast. The 80s gave us some of the best rock music around, so we want to take our audience back to those years and make sure our young audience members are exposed to REAL rock n ‘roll.