Reserve seat for Music Revue

Members of the band that will accompany singers in the Madison County Arts Council’s Nov. 15 music revue are: (from left) Ernie Sparks, Joe Blaho, Clint Morse and Chase Potter. Mark Potter is not pictured.

Each fall, the Madison County Arts Council puts on a music revue to raise money to offset scholarships and a summer musical production. Past revues have covered Cole Porter’s music and paid homage to the tunes of Rodgers & Hammerstein. This time around, the Arts Council is mining the nightclub scene of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.

Titled “As Time Goes By,” the 2008 music revue is slated for Nov. 15 at Brennan Loft. The London gathering place, owned by Tim Wilson and located above his printing and graphics business on South Main Street, is the perfect setting for a night that nods to the early 20th century.

“Tim’s place has that cabaret or nightclub feel up there. So, we decided to really go with that idea and take advantage of the natural setting,” said Arts Council spokesman Mark Potter.

Community theater veterans Jim Smith and Jeff Gates will act as the bartender and bar fly, respectively, providing a narrative that ties the music numbers together.

“Going through a three-decade period allows us to intertwine some of the things going on in America at the time,” Potter said of the show’s format. “It’s not going to a history lesson or anything, but we will put the songs in the context of the times.”

For example, Smith and Gates might say a line or two about how poorly gangsters treated their women as a segué to Tracy Potter’s performance of “Mean to Me,” a jazz standard published in 1929.

A partial list of the other tunes to be performed in the “eternal nightclub” are: “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “As Time Goes By,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “Mack the Knife,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby.”

The singers for the evening are Vicki Arnold, Jeff Gates, Anne Gorman, Tracy Potter, Stephanie Stephens and Bruce Thompson. The band includes Clint Morse on piano, Joe Blaho on bass, Ernie Sparks on drums, and Chase Potter on sax, guitar and violin. Mark Potter will play horn and string arrangements on the synthesizer.

The music revue, one of the Arts Council’s only fundraisers, is always a sell-out. Brennan Loft holds 80 people.

“Last year, we sold out quickly and had an additional 45 people on the waiting list,” Potter said.

Tickets are $30 and may be reserved starting Nov. 5 by calling 740-852-5934. Payment in cash or check is due at the door the night of the revue.

Doors open at 6:30 followed by wine and cheese. Dinner will be served from 7 to 8 p.m. and includes a choice of entrée (lasagna or sweet and sour chicken breast), salad, red-skin potatoes, vegetable, rolls, dessert and coffee. The show starts at 8 and will run until about 9:30.

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