I'm pretty sure there's only one: The Rascals.
|Felix Cavaliere||Gene Cornish and Eddie Brigati|
Once Upon a Dream had a 3 week run on Broadway earlier this year, and is presented as a full concert performance interweaved with an autobiographical video presentation of the band. The videos -- snippets of band members' recollections as dramatizations of scenes from their heyday -- helped provide a small glimpse in to who these 4 men were. But we were there for the music.
The show started with a warning, in the recorded voice of Little Steven: If we had cellphones... leave them on! Take pictures! Tweet them! Post them to facebook! "Do whatever the fuck you want." If that didn't instantly convey my home-state attitude, the text of the introductory video -- with the Star Wars text scroll in full effect -- left no doubt: Finale: Once Upon a Dream played in the background: Once upon a dream, time stood still. Vincent Pastore narrated: "Once upon a dream there was a band of brothers who came from a galaxy, far, far away called... New Jersey!"
Sure, these Rascals are no longer young. Eddie Brigati has lost the upper end of his range. Felix Cavaliere went flat... more than once. And maybe Gene Cornish missed a few notes. It really didn't matter. Oh, and did I mention Dino Danelli? What a treat! He drove the band, made it move, made it groove. And when Eddie sang the beautiful waltz How Can I Be Sure, it was no dream; time stood still.
The Rascals' songs are relentless in their nearly unbounded optimism. Whereas John Lennon sang a song about the morning starting off with a piercing cry from a rooster, followed by Nothing to do to save his life, call his wife in, The Rascals' morning song began with gentle wind chimes and bells, followed by I think I'll go outside a while and just smile. Even their "protest" song, People Got To Be Free , is presented as hope: What a lovely lovely world this would be If everyone would learn to live together.
A Ray Of Hope .
Last night's show was the 33rd Fall Fundraiser for JARC. JARC is a wonderful local charity, with whom I have previously worked (and will do so again) via my children's middle school. I was thrilled to see that they'd somehow gotten a separate Rascals show a day ahead of the "to the public" performance, but I was decidedly an exception in that regard. The audience was much smaller than it could have been, and they were there for the charity rather than for The Rascals.
If this show comes to your town, go see it. See it while you can.