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SPOTLIGHT ON BILLY JOEL
January 12 - 29, 2017
Starring David King-Gabriel,
Alex Boyles and Rose Passione
Directed by Presila Quinby
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. Since releasing his first hit song "Piano Man" in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States. Joel achieved 33 Top 40 hits through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner and sold more than 150 million records worldwide. The performance will include songs such as "Piano Man", "Just the Way You Are", "A New York State of Mind" and others.
Tickets: $22 - $33
Billy Joel is really a throwback tunesmith from the days of Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael. That is why you walk around with his songs in your head - the melodies stay with you. As with so many great composers, music took hold of him in childhood and never let go. Lucky for us!
Billy Joel is the first songwriter I ever heard express the idea that some things you want to express with music are beyond words. When you get to that point, you had better hope that you are as good a composer as Billy is to keep you going.
Everyone involved with this Spotlight has gone way beyond the call of duty and outdone their usual excellent work. They have been a joy to work with. I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I do.
Presila Quinby, Director
- David King - Gabriel ~ Vocals
- David King-Gabriel started out as a rock-n-roll drummer, then a singing drummer, then a singer, then a singing actor. He studied briefly at the Actor's Studio in Seattle. King-Gabriel has done many lead roles at Camelot, including vocals for Spotlight on Simon and Garfunkel, Max in The Producers, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Albin in La Cage Aux Folles. King-Gabriel has also appeared locally with Rogue Opera and Oregon Cabaret Theatre. His original musical comedy, Divine Lunacy, debuted this past Fall at Temple Emek Shalom.
- Alex Boyles ~ Narration/Vocals/Piano
- Alex Boyles was last seen in The Snow Queen with Collaborative Theatre Project as a troll, a crow, and a reindeer. He was Anatoly in Chess with Ashland Contemporary Theatre as well as Georges in La Cage Aux Folles and Oscar in Sweet Charity right here with Camelot. Alex has an MFA in Acting Performance from The Ohio State University and was an understudy at OSF for their 2014 and 2015 seasons.
- Rose Passione ~ Narration/Vocals
- Rose Passione holds a music degree from George Fox University. Some of her featured performances at Camelot include: Maria in The Sound of Music, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Spotlight on Irving Berlin, Spotlight on Carole King and Spotlight on Liza Minnelli. Other music credits locally include: Park Place Jazz, Broadway Out of the BLUE, Siskiyou Singers and Michele Scheffler's Musikstuff Oktoberfest Orchestra.
'Spotlight' brings uptown vibe to downtown Talent
By Jeffrey Gillespie For the Tidings
When I was a little boy, I remember going through my mom's record collection and pulling out one record with a particularly eerie cover - the black and white face of an intense looking man, suspended in darkness. Slipping the shiny black disc onto our gramophone, I was instantly transported and thoroughly amazed by the artistry and pathos of Billy Joel.
" It was a soft sell, then, for me to go and review Camelot Theatre's latest offering from their "Spotlight" series, an homage to the music of the kid from the Bronx.
In an intimate setting and backed by five ebony clad musicians, Alex Boyles, David King Gabriel, and Rose Passione offered up a rollicking cornucopia of classic Joel hits. Opening with an upbeat version of "The Longest Time," the artists took the stage for an evening of music and merriment that was polished, moving, and fun.
Interspersed with compelling stories and biographical snippets from Joel's life - including the horrors of his manipulative marriage to his best friend's wife, his various ups and downs with record labels, and his generally complicated existence as a bi-coastal musical act - the three singers gave wonderful, well-rounded performances, all.
But as has become something of a normal occurrence at this theater, King Gabriel was the one to watch on this particular evening - the prince of Camelot has again shown his chops as among the more worthy all-rounders on the Rogue Valley semi-professional circuit. Blasting his way through the hotter hits, and bringing just the right tone and pitch to the more melancholic of Joel's famous tunes, King Gabriel was at a compelling pitch. He stepped down into the crowd to serenade some front-row patrons; he busted out a harmonica and played it pretty damn well (who knew?), and generally filled the stage with watchable moments.
Boyles and Passione also handled themselves with good cheer, and the backup musicians were particularly tight and sensitive to their task. A particularly strong nod must go to flute and sax player Randy Magallanes. I mostly review theater and am not a big follower of the music scene in the Valley, but it was obvious to me from the moment this man blew his first sweet note on his sax that Mr. Magallanes is a pro who deserves much credit. His sensitive playing was a highlight of the evening.
Full disclosure: I had to leave a few songs before the end of this show due to a brutal flu virus that I had yet to shake. Even so, I felt like I had gotten more than my money's worth by the time I left the James Collier Theatre and headed home to sleep it off. I woke up the following morning and could not stop singing fragments of the tunes we all know and love so well; "Say Goodbye to Hollywood," "New York State of Mind" and "She's Got a Way."
For old fans and newbies, this show will be a lot of fun if you'd like to be introduced or re-introduced to "the Piano Man" - you'll be glad of an evening in the company of these stellar local artists.
"Spotlight on Billy Joel" runs through Jan. 29 at Camelot Theatre, Talent.
Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Daily Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.