On Stage: Warm up from the cold with hot jazz

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Matt Cappy

A great way to combat a chilly evening is hot jazz – a live performance of hot jazz.

This weekend, the temperature may dip into the twenties outside, but an antidote can be found inside a venue in Kennett Square on Friday night.

On February 25, Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is hosting a return performance by one of the top young trumpeters in the jazz scene – Matt Cappy.

“I did a Livestream show at the Flash in February 2021 during the pandemic,” said Cappy, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in Collingswood, New Jersey. “Now, I’m looking forward to playing for a live audience.”

Cappy has toured and/or performed with a wide array of top-flight musicians including Jill Scott, Maxwell, The Roots, Kirk Franklin, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Bilal, Mos Def, Common, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, Leela James, Jeff Bradshaw, Gerald Levert, Fred Hammond, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, The O’Jays, The Moody Blues, Gerald Veasley, Marah, Slo-Mo and John Train.

His first real breakthrough came when performing with Jill Scott’s band but there was a lot of music in his life long before that happened.

“My mom was musical,” said Cappy. “She played the clarinet. My grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my grandmother played the piano in church.”

When he was young, his parents moved from New York to Berlin, New Jersey. In high school, Cappy played in the highly regarded Overbrook High music program in Pine Hill, New Jersey.

“Overbrook was a great music school,” said Cappy. “They had state competitions in New Jersey for music bands – sort of like they do for marching bands. We placed first in the state twice when I was in school.”

In his senior year, Cappy received the New Jersey Governor’s Award for the Arts. Next on tap was studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

“I majored in trumpet performance at the University of the Arts and then got a master’s degree in education there in 1997,” said Cappy.

He began playing clubs around the Philly area and that set the stage for the jump to the next level.

“Back in 1999, I was sitting in at a club in Philly – Wilhelmina’s on South 11th Street,” said Cappy. “Some of the guys from Jill Scott’s band were in the club. When they heard me play, they asked me to join the band.”

Scott is a singer, songwriter, model, poet and actress who is a native of North Philadelphia and a graduate of Girls’ High and Temple University. Her 2000 debut album, “Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1,” went platinum, and the follow-ups – “Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2” (2004) and “The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3” (2007) — both achieved gold status.

“When Jill Scott hit, ‘Neo Soul’ didn’t exist,” said Cappy. “Then, ‘A Long Walk’ took off in America.”

“A Long Walk,” which was on Scott’s debut album, was a Top 10 R&B hit in the U.S. and a Top 50 chart single in the U.K. in 2001.

“Right after that, she opened for Sting on his U.S. tour,” said Cappy. “That got a lot of press.”

Cappy was off to a good start.

Over the last 20 years, his talent has taken him around the world, into network TV studios, concert halls and clubs, performing and recording with musical giants like Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Earth, Wind and Fire.

When he’s not on the road, Cappy stays busy with gigs and recording sessions in New York City and Philadelphia, particularly in the “Neo-Soul” R&B scene centered out of Larry Gold’s The Studio. His reputation as a soulful trumpet player has led to touring, performing and cutting tracks with Grammy-winning acts such as Scott, the Roots and gospel superstar Kirk Franklin.

Cappy also has an impressive resume of studio work. Some of his other recording credits include work with jazz/R&B greats such as Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Wallace Roney, and Stanley Clarke and Earth, Wind & Fire.

He has recorded on multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning albums, including Fred Hammond’s “Free to Worship,” and Kirk Franklin’s “The Fight of My Life,” which both won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album in 2008 and 2009, respectively. He also recorded on the John Legend and The Roots album “Wake Up!” (Grammy Award for Best R&B Album 2011) and Alejandro Sanz’s “Sirope” (Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album 2015).

“I played on the song ‘Butterflies’ from Michael Jackson’s ‘Invincible’ album in 2001,” said Cappy. “The song was written by Jackson, Andre Harri and Marsha Ambrosius. Four years ago, Marsha sang on a track on my first album.”

Cappy’s debut album was “Church and State,” which was released in June 2017 on Ropeadope Records. It was an impressive debut.

Cappy’s strengths include more than just providing melodies. He is a musician with the ability to make his instrument work as a vocal part of the song – similar to British guitar legend Jeff Beck, who can make a guitar sing like no other.

Ironically, both Cappy and Beck have recorded versions of the operatic classic “Nessun Dorma,” an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot.” In both recordings, listeners can hear the instruments “vocalizing” Puccini’s lyrics.

“I like to sing through my trumpet,” said Cappy – stating the obvious.

Cappy’s second album “Tales of the Tape” was released in June 2021. The name of the album is an ode to Cappy’s first trumpet mentor, the late great Joe Fallon of Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section.

“The new album, which has 10 songs, was recorded at Studio One at Drexel University and Gradwell House Recording in Haddon Heights, New Jersey,” said Cappy. “It made the ‘add new jazz’ list on Spotify when it was released.”

Cappy’s current band features Dan Rouse on keyboards, Andrew Marsh on drums, Tone Whitfield on bass and Zach Lopresti on guitar.

“I’ll be playing two sets at the Flash and my band is cooking with gas,” said Cappy.

Video link for Matt Cappy — https://youtu.be/WPBrf6nAuvA.

The show at Kennett Flash on February 25 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Another show this weekend at Kennett Flash will be Lili Añel w/ Dale Melton, Jeff Blount & Jonathan Whitney on February 27.

The English rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” dates back to at least 19th-century Lancastershire. It refers to things a bride should wear on her wedding day.

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix

The same rhyme could be used to describe the musical offerings at Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) provided by Erin Coburn of February 25 and Professor Louie & The Crowmatix on February 26.

“Something old” is for Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, a band that has been shaking things up for 22 years.

“Something new” is for Erin Coburn, who hasn’t even been alive for 22 years.

“Something borrowed” is for classic songs that have been covered by both acts.

“Something blue” is for the blues – a staple of both acts’ repertoires.

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix began as the studio backing band for Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz’s musical productions for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, The Band. Rick Danko christened him “Professor Louie” because of his work and friendship with The Band.

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix are touring in support of their new album “Strike Up The Band,” which was released on January 7, 2022. The album has nine songs written by Professor Louieand one co-written with Miss Marie and John Platania — songs that reflect a unique vision of relationships and thoughts about this tumultuous world and the times we live in.

“The new CD is hitting the charts,” said Hurwitz, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in Woodstock, New York. “It’s our 16th studio album in 22 years.

“This is an all-original album – not a covers album or a concept album. L love playing new stuff because it’s fresh for the band – and fans get to hear new stuff.”

Such was not the case with the band’s previous album release.

When Professor Louie & The Crowmatix released their previous album, the timing of the music was impeccable — Professor Louie is a master in the recording studio – but the timing of the LP’s release was not so good.

“Miles of Blues,” the 15th release from Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, dropped in August 2019. Plans were for the Woodstock, NY-based band to tour extensively across the United States and Canada in support of the new disc. Then, COVID-19 came along and disrupted everybody’s plans.

“‘Miles of Blues’ was our last blues record and it did well,” said Hurwitz. “Before the calamity hit, we had scheduled six-to-seven months of shows. We were going to be driving across the country to South Dakota and then to western Canada for the Salmon River Blues Festival in British Columbia. We have a lot of fans in that part of North America.

“Instead, we just played the East Coast and New England for most of last year. We tried to stay three-to-four hours from home. We went down to South Carolina and North Carolina. We’re just trying to keep the band going.”

Professor Louie has been more than successful at keeping the band going. The blues-based group is now entering its third decade.

Professor Louie has emerged over his five decades in the music industry as the torch bearer of the true spirit of American Roots music. Seasoned live performer, prolific recording artist and versatile multi-instrumentalist (Hammond B3 organ, piano/keyboards, accordion, vocals), Professor Louie also is an award-winning recording producer and engineer, capturing the talents of some of the world’s premier musicians including The Band.

This Grammy-Nominated band usually plays 150 shows a year in the US and worldwide. They have performed at the Thunder Bay, London & Windsor Festivals in Canada, The Tondor Festival, Falcon Ridge Festival, The Sellersville Theater, BB Kings in NYC, The House of Blues in LA and The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock.

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix have a repertoire that is steeped in rock-and-roll, blues, gospel and American roots music. They have a huge discography that features 15 studio albums on The Woodstock Records label.

The band’s lineup features Professor Louie (Keys, Accordion, Vocals), John Platania (Guitar, Vocals), Gary Burke (Drums), Miss Marie (Vocals, Percussionist, Keys) and Frank Campbell (Bass, Vocals).

Professor Louie collaborated with The Band for more than 16 years and produced the group’s three comeback albums in the 90’s – “Jericho.” “High on The Hog” and “Jubilation.” Louie has produced and performed with such artists as Graham Parker, Commander Cody, Guy Davis, Buckwheat Zydeco, and New Riders of The Purple Sage.

Platania is a session musician, guitarist and record producer known for his work with Van Morrison for more than 30 years. He also has performed and recorded with Chip Taylor, Randy Neuman, Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Merchant, Don Mc Lean, and Judy Collins. Burke is a drummer and percussionist with The Radio City Music Hall Orchestra He has performed with Bob Dylan’s The Rolling Thunder Review and recorded and toured extensively with Joe Jackson.

Miss Marie has performed and recorded with Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and The Commander Cody Band and was an integral part of Mercury Rev’s gold album “Deserters Song.” Campbell (Bass-Vocals) was Levon Helm’s Music Director with the Woodstock All-Stars. He also has performed and recorded with Steve Forbert.

“The current lineup has been the same for the last 16 years,” said Louie. “We’ve had the nucleus of the same five for quite a while. We’re also a good recording band. So, people use us a lot when they record. They hire us to be their studio musicians.”

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix have established a truly international reputation.

In 2007, they recorded their song “Melody of Peace” with the Czech Symphony in Prague that was released on the 2007 ERM Media CD “Holidays of The New Era Vol.2”. Professor Louie’s documentary “Woodstock – Siberia Blues Express” was filmed in Russia and featured in the Woodstock Film Festival in 2007.

“We have a good following in Russia,” said Louie. “We’ve toured there seven times. We’ve played a lot of shows in Novosibirsk and other Siberian cities.”

For now, Russia and Ukraine appear to be good countries to omit from any upcoming international tour itineraries.

Video link for Professor Louie & The Crowmatix — https://youtu.be/nqkwgv3jzNY.

The show at Jamey’s on February 26 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance (online) and $36 at the door.

Erin Coburn

Erin Coburn released her first album “Chaos Before Conformity” in 2015 – when she was just 14 years old. She put out her sophomore album, “Queen of Nothing” in 2017 and followed with “Out from Under” in 2019. If she adhered to this timetable, she would have released her fourth LP in 2021 – but COVID-19 changed everything.

“The pandemic threw a wrench in things,” said Coburn, during a phone interview Wednesday evening from her home in Middletown, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati).

“Touring wasn’t happening. My former band wasn’t making money from music, so they got out and found something different.

“I currently have a four-piece band – Kainan Shank on bass, Joseph Ivan on keyboards, Brandon Pettiford on drums and me on guitar and vocals. The bass player has been with me for six months and the keyboard player for eight months. Brandon and I have played together for four years.”

Over the past few years, her fanbase has grown both nationally and worldwide – mainly via the internet. Most of her live shows have been performed in the Midwest and the Mid-South.

“I have played California and Portland, Oregon,” said Coburn. “I’ve also done shows in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas – and New York once. I really haven’t played in the Northeast at all – except for a show at Jamey’s last year.”

Ironically, the only other show in the Northeast on Coburn’s 2022 schedule will be a return engagement at Jamey’s on October 22.

“I’ve been playing guitar since I was seven,” said Coburn. “I had it as a hobby.

“I went through three guitar teachers. I was stubborn. I wanted to write songs.

“Then, I got a guitar teacher who understood me – John Redell. He took me to some of his gigs in the Cincinnati area and let me sit in with him. I was 11 at the time.

“After that, I assembled my own band. I was also in a classic rock band and a bluegrass band. I started booking gigs for my band when I was 12. I had my first paying gig when I was 12 at an old bar and grill in Florence, Kentucky. I can’t remember its name and it’s not there anymore.”

“I recorded ‘Chaos Before Conformity’ when I was 13 at a recording studio in Bright, Indiana, and released it when I was 14. It was mainly blues and a little rock.

“For me, blues is not a chord progression or a particular topic but just a feeling – raw feeling and emotion. I was able to portray what I was feeling.”

A wide range of artists and genres have inspired Coburn throughout her musical journey — from BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Rolling Stones to Alice In Chains, Arctic Monkeys, and Nothing But Thieves. She brings the sounds of modern rock front and center, but never forgets her heavily blues and classic rock influenced past – acts such as Royal Blood, Black Keys, Gary Clark, Jr and White Stripes.

“My fourth album is in the works,” said Coburn. “The new stuff is rock. It has a blues feeling but it sounds more rock.

“I have 24 tracks done – all digital recording. I play bass and guitar so it’s just Brandon on drums and me on the album. I’m hoping to release it by the end of the summer or release it all as singles.

“I’m also an audio engineer. I moved to Cleveland for a while and worked at a studio called Lava Room. Now, I’m back home and have my own studio here in Middletown – the Coop Studio. It’s a home studio right now but I’m building a full commercial studio here in the summer.”

Coburn, who was nominated for the 2017 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the Best Blues artist category, and the 2018 Josie Awards for “Young Adult Artist of the Year” award for independent artists, explained the studio’s name.

“I grew up with chickens,” said Coburn. “We had a lot of chickens at home. When I was young, I always had a chicken or a guitar in my hand.”

Fortunately for her fans, it’s mostly guitar in hand now. With her latest single releases, “Flip” (May 2021) and “The MiSFIT” (July 2020), she has shown a natural progression to a more mature sound with edgier lyrics, searing guitar solos, and a dash of humor.

Video link for Erin Coburn – https://youtu.be/nckRd__Ruqw.

The show at Jamey’s on February 25 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance (online) and $36 at the door.

Philly Gumbo

Philly Gumbo has long been associated with New Orleans. The music of the Crescent City has been an integral part of the Philadelphia-based band’s sound for four decades.

When people think of New Orleans, they think of Mardi Gras and the wild celebrations along the city’s Bourbon Street.

Mardi Gras refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is known as Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans includes days of partying in the streets and bars, marching bands, parades, beads and the decadent King’s Cake.

Philly Gumbo always celebrates Mardi Gras in style.

According to Randall Grass, one of the band’s co-founders, “Not everyone can make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras but not to worry — if you’re in the Philadelphia area, Mardi Gras will come to you. You can celebrate New Orleans-style courtesy of Philly Gumbo, the band who pioneered Philadelphia area Mardi Gras celebrations more than three decades ago. The band will bring its unique mix of New Orleans R & B, Mardi Gras anthems, blues, funk and reggae to 118 North in Wayne on Thursday March 3.

“Aside from the authentic NOLA party music, free Mardi Gras beads and New Orleans-themed drink specials will enhance the Mardi Gras mood. Revelers can expect to dance and sing along to such Mardi Gras anthems as “Iko Iko,” “Big Chief”, “Brother John”, “Hey Pocky Way”, “Mardi Gras Mambo” and more.

“Philly Gumbo began bringing authentic New Orleans music to area audiences in the 1980’s. Indeed, the mix of music the band delivered was similar to what one would have heard at a Neville Brothers show at Tipitina’s in uptown New Orleans around the same time. That’s no accident as Philly Gumbo was greatly inspired by the Neville’s precursor band, the fabled funk band The Meters. Early on, the band held Mardi-Gras-themed shows annually in the Mardi Gras season and an offshoot of the band, The Wild Bohemians, initiated a South Street parade tradition that has continued to this day. But the spirit of Mardi Gras is a year-round thing for Philly Gumbo — it’s all about getting people up on their feet, swaying and dancing in one happy partying crowd. Costumes encouraged but not required.”

The show at 118 North will start on March 3 at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Referencing the date of the show (March 3 when Mardi Grass 2022 is on March 1), Grass said, “March 3rd (yes we know it is
two days AFTER Fat Tuesday but the club wanted to do it on that date and, of course, we know that Mardi Gras is a season, not just one day.”

The longevity of Philly Gumbo, Philadelphia’s longest-running band, is legendary.

Early in 2020, Philly Gumbo kicked off what was to be the band’s 40th year as a performing band with a sold-out show at World Café Live. Then COVID hit and live music shut down almost completely.

The “core four” of Randall Grass, Tim Hayes, Pete Eshelman, and Bert Harris have been together throughout the four decades with India Rex joining in 2010 and saxophonist Richard Orr, who used to sit in back in the day, joining in 2014.

Philly Gumbo has pioneered New Orleans music – and a new tradition of Mardi Gras celebrations – in Philadelphia.

“I was doing a reggae show on WXPN in 1980,” said Grass, during a phone interview Wednesday morning from his home in Mount Airy. “My friend Walt Taylor was doing Top Ranking, a reggae magazine. One day, we sat around my place and did a song together and it was great. So, we formed a duo with him singing and me on piano. We started with a duo gig at Taker’s Café in Germantown.

“Then, I was in Third Street Jazz and saw a flyer from a drummer looking for a gig playing reggae, blues and New Orleans. It was a perfect match. That drummer was Tim Hayes and soon we were a trio. Then we heard about guitarist Pete Eshelman who had been playing with the reggae group Roots Vibration. We had rotating bass players at the beginning and then Bert Harris settled in.”

Guitarist, vocalist and harmonica player Richard Johnson rounded out the “classic” line-up of the 1980’s which established a decade-long Saturday night residency at fabled bohemian club Bacchanal on South Street while regularly playing legendary rock club J.C. Dobbs at the other end of South Street.

“Within the first year, we found our niche,” said Grass. “It was musically great — reggae, New Orleans, blues, Memphis style music. It was a dream band for us. We love those genres, and we found a group that could play all of them.”

“When we started, we were playing every Saturday night at Bacchanal on South Street. We did that for more than 10 years.

“We released a 12-inch single in 1984 – an original reggae tune ‘Holy War’ on one side and an obscure New Orleans tune, ‘Mardi Gras’, on the other side.

“We played at clubs all around Philly – JC Dobbs, Chestnut Cabaret, Equator, Khyber Pass. And we also used to play a lot at Joe’s Lounge in West Chester.”

None of those clubs exist anymore and Philly Gumbo has outlived them all.

“We also played a lot in New York at clubs like SOBs and Tramps. We played in Washington, D.C. at Kilimanjaro Club and Musikfest in Bethlehem.”

Philly Gumbo made appearances at major festivals such as The Atlantic City Summer Music Festival, Jam On The River, The West Oak Lane Jazz Festival and more followed as the band’s reputation grew.

“We played a lot of festivals including Jambalaya Jam on Penn’s Landing and Media’s State Street Blues Stroll,” said Grass. “As years went by, we got very selective. Before the pandemic, we were playing about one show a month.

“About 10 years ago, we released the CD, ‘Come and Get It,’ featuring our current vocalist, India Rex.”

Video link for Philly Gumbo – https://youtu.be/jWQwVOSHdM0.

The Philly Gumbo show on March 3 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Other upcoming shows at 118 North are Yarn on February 24, Hollis Brown on February 25, and Minas on February 27.

This will be a busy weekend at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, uptownwestchester.org).

Actually, the weekend will start early at the venue. On February 24, Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center will host a show featuring Dueling Pianos.

The Friday and Saturday night concerts will be devoted to cover bands. On February 25, the stage will belong to 33 1/3 Live’s Killer Queen Experience. The show on February 26 is billed as “BEATLES, ZEPPELIN, DOORS by Magical Mystery Doors.”

The weekend will close out on a softer note with a concert on Sunday evening with the Chester County Youth Orchestra’s “Fifth Annual Mid-Winter Pops! Concert.”

“Beautiful: The Carol King Musical,” which is running through February 27 at the Kimmel Cultural Campus Academy of Music (Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia,www.kimmelculturalcampus.org), tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.

It has a book by and Tony® Award-nominee and Academy® Award-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince, and took home two 2014 Tony® Awards and a 2015 Grammy® Award.

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is a jukebox musical. Here are some songs that you almost certainly know — “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” “It’s Too Late,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “I Feel the Earth Move.”

All these classic hits were written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

Do you know what bond links these familiar songs — “On Broadway,” “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” “Walking in the Rain,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

All these classic hits were written by Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.

These 10 songs and a whole lot of other all-time great pop songs are featured in the lively musical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”.

The original production of “Beautiful” had its world premiere at the Curran Theatre, San Francisco in October 2013. It made its Broadway debut at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in January 2014.

In the national tour, Kennedy Caughell plays King, James D. Gish plays Goffin, Kathryn Boswell plays Weil and James Michael Lambert plays Mann.

Audiences love Carole King’s music and love to hear it played live. On top of that, they get to hear the story of the pre-“Tapestry” Carole King. They learn a lot about a songwriter’s life in that era — going to an office building like the Brill Building every day to write songs. This show is based at 1650 Broadway.

On his website, rock music legend Al Kooper wrote, “The greatest writers of the early-’60s — Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Howie Greenfield and Neil Sedaka, Jack Keller and Helen Miller — were all signed to the same publishing company. It was called Aldon Music and it was named after its two partners Al Nevins and Don Kirshner.

“Songs like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,” and “Up On The Roof” poured out of this genius monopoly like water from the tap. The Brill Building’s finest moments were in the ’40s and late ’50s at best. The Brill Building was a throwback to the past and the original Tin Pan Alley.

“The rents were high, and so the embryonic music business minions of the early ’60s flocked to 51st and Broadway to the renovated building with the reasonable, competitive rents known as 1650 Broadway. That’s all it was called. It wasn’t “The ______ Building.” And while it was only 1650 Broadway, the brilliance of pop and soul music birthed there hides in revisionist anonymity.”

Video link for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” – https://youtu.be/dNlPWEA9Wes.

“Beautiful: The Carol King Musical” runs from February 22-27. Ticket prices start at $20.

The Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is heading into the final weekend of its first production run of 2022 — the hit musical “Mama Mia!”

“Mamma Mia!” is based on the songs of ABBA. Following the premiere of the musical in London in 1999, “ABBA Gold” topped the charts in the United Kingdom again. This musical was the brainchild of producer Judy Craymer.

In 1997, Craymer commissioned Catherine Johnson to write the book for the musical. The play is about a woman who does not know which of three men is the father of her daughter, now a young woman on the eve of her wedding on a Greek island.

The production at the Candlelight, which is directed and choreographed by Dann Dunn, features as Tina Delano as Sophie (the daughter) and Kaylan Wetzel as Donna (the mother) along with Candlelight veterans such as Anthony Connell as Pepper and Lindsay Mauck as Rosie.

“Mamma Mia!” is running at the Candlelight Theatre now through February 27. It will be followed by “Big Fish” from March 19-April 24.

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