“The Hit Makers: The British Are Coming” will be performed at 2 p.m on Feb. 2, 3, 10, and 16-17; 7 p.m. on Feb. 6-7 and 13-14; and 8 p.m. on Feb. 2, 9 and 16 at CenterStage Theatre at the Louis S. Wolk Rochester Jewish Community Center, 1200 Edgewood Ave.
The musical and cultural impact of the British Invasion is explored in a new show featuring songs by The Stones, The Who, The Beatles, The Hollies, The Kinks, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield and more. Democrat and Chronicle columnist Jack Garner crafts the story of the Brits that dominated the pop charts and how musicians on our shore fought back.
“The Hit Makers” was directed by Esther Winter and Ralph Meranto with musical arrangements and direction by Casey Filiaci. Tickets start at $20 for students; $29 for Jewish Community Center Members; and $33 for general admission.
This year’s play was an outgrowth of the narrative of previous shows that focused on the 1950s and early 1960s music. British Invasion music was the first time American pop charges were dominated by artists that were not American. Past shows have alluded to the impact of the British Invasion so CenterStage felt it was time to take a closer look at those artists and their music. “Hit Makers: The British are Coming” includes the music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, Cream and The Kinks. The show also covered the American response from American copy-cats like The Monkees and The Playboys.
“I was talking about the project with Jack, and he started telling me what songs he thought should be included along with some interesting facts I was unaware of. Right there, on the spot, I asked him if he would like to write the show this year, and he jumped at it,” said CenterStage Artistic Director Ralph Meranto.
The show’s narrative explores not only the music itself but also the cultural and social impact of the British Invasion. Between song, performers talk about the way the music influenced fashion, politics and social issues. Before rock ‘n’ roll, popular music was predominantly the music of adults. Rock music changed that, but it was the British invasion that cemented the role of pop music as a definitive force in youth culture.
Songs will be performed by nine singers with choreography and visual projections to help tell the story. The cast includes six returning performers and three new faces to the series. Many of the songs will be traditional in their approach and sound similar to original recordings, while others will be reinterpreted.
For tickets, visit bit.ly/2SXwM5h or call (585) 461-2000.