On Stage: Dirty Dancing, ‘Succeed’ bring Broadway local

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Also: Fab Faux, Katrina minus the Waves and more

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

DirtyDancing

Dirty Dancing opens Tuesday and runs through April 5 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

Over the next week, theater fans have two great options to attend popular musicals. One is the inaugural national tour of a recent Broadway hit based on a popular movie and the other is a staging of an oft-revived Broadway classic that was based on a best-selling book. “Dirty Dancing– The Classic Story On Stage” will arrive in Philadelphia on March 24 while “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” is beginning a run in Delaware.

“Dirty Dancing  — The Classic Story On Stage,” which opens on Tuesday and runs through April 5 at the Academy of Music (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org), is part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway series.

Written by Eleanor Bergstein, who also wrote the screenplay, the stage musical has all of the well-known songs from the movie, as well as some new ones that Bergstein was never able to use in the hit film. The famous choreography (including the dance lift made famous by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey) and many scenes from the movie are also incorporated into the musical.

In the touring show, Samuel Pergande plays the role of Johnny Castle. Gillian Abbott plays Frances “Baby” Houseman and Jenny Winton plays the role of Penny Johnson.

Winton came into the show as a rookie for musical theater and as a stage veteran. She trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and danced for Pennsylvania Ballet II in 2008. In 2009, Winton joined the Joffrey Ballet.

“I was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet and not looking for musical theater,” said Winton, during a phone interview from a recent tour stop in Cleveland. “Then, my agent got a call about this show. I always wanted to act. I auditioned for the show and got the job.

“I never had acting classes so it was all very new to me. I had done story ballets but had never spoken onstage. As with any new venture, it’s exciting. It’s just something that was meant to be.”

Winton’s character in the show is Penny Johnson — Johnny’s original dance partner.

“Penny is very strong-headed and she knows she’s a really good dancer,” said Winton. “She comes from the other side of the tracks. She’s been through the wringer so she’s tough.

“She and Johnny are partners. They take care of each other. She sees him taking an interest in a young rich girl and doesn’t approve. Penny is a dancer and is pregnant so her livelihood is at stake.

“It’s heavy playing her. It’s a lot to work with but I’ve found a lot of ways to portray her. I get a chance every night to try something different. The more you do things, the more you find to explore.”

Fortunately for Winton, the show features a lot of dance numbers.

“I do a lot of dancing — especially in the first act,” said Winton. “There is one very heavy mambo track. Then, things slow down after my procedure.

“When I danced with Joffrey, we also had a lot of contemporary, neo-classical work. So, I wasn’t completely in shock making the transition from classical ballet to this kind of dancing.

“This is a fun show. Audiences love it because it’s such an iconic story. People grew up with the story. The music is great and the dancing is really wonderful. It reminds people to enjoy life.”

Video link for the show — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0FhRIJO-7Cg.

Tickets for “Dirty Dancing  — The Classic Story On Stage”  range from $25 to $120.50.

SucceedBiz

Zachary Chiero stars in “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at the Candlelight Theater.

Now through April 19, the Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is presenting one of Broadway’s all-time classic musicals — “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” .

The play is based on Shepherd Mead’s satirical book of the same name which was a bestseller when it came out in 1952. The hit musical, which reached the Broadway stage a decade later, won seven Tony Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

A satire of big business and all it holds sacred, it follows the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch up the corporate ladder from lowly window washer to high-powered executive.

The success of any production of this show rides on the shoulders of the actor playing the role of Finch. In the original Broadway production, it was Robert Morse who carried the load. In the 1995 Broadway revival, Matthew Broderick came through with flying colors. And, the 2011 Broadway revival featured Daniel Radcliffe of “Harry Potter” fame.

Fortunately for the Candlelight and its audiences, this production’s Finch is equal to the task.

Zachary Chiero is energetic, believable and very impressive as J. Pierrepont Finch. His combination of enthusiasm, vocal skills and acting ability allows the show to move at the right pace and the highly-talented cast perfectly complements him.

“I had never seen a production of ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ prior to auditioning for this show,” said Chiero, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home in South Philadelphia.

“But, I knew a lot of the music. My grandfather was a big fan of musical theater and I remember him singing some of the classic songs from the show when I was young — songs like ‘I Believe in You’ and ‘Brotherhood of Man.’

“After I got the role, I watched some clips of the 1995 revival and some from the 2011 revival. I wanted to k now about the show and see some of the previous performances. But, I didn’t watch too many because I didn’t want to be influenced by them. Working with Dann Dunn, who is the director of this production, I created my own Finch.

“There is a warmth about Finch that can get lost if he’s not played right. He’s charming but he can come off as very uncaring. I like the audience by the end of the show to see that he’s not that bad a guy.

“In rehearsals, getting to interact with this fine cast really helped me keep my portrayal of Finch as something that was grounded. My co-star Madalyn St. John is great and so sweet. She has been really helpful in shaping Finch as a human.

“A lot of the payoff the audience gets to see is the research that Finch has to do. He has to work to pull off these schemes. Finding the Old Ivy fight songs is a big task. All these kind of moments are written so well. My role is such a joy to play.”

Chiero entered the show well aware of how crucial his handling of the role would be.

“I knew that it was going to be a heavy role to take on,” said Chiero, who starred as Billy in the Candlelight Theatre’s production of “Anything Goes” last year. “It’s important to keep the pace moving. Dann (Dunn) knows how to pace the scenes and pace the actors.

“Things I like about Finch are that he’s charming, he’s witty and he’s quick on his feet. He always has an answer for everything. I love his energy.  And, the songs he sings are so beautiful.”

With Chiero and Finch, it’s a bit of “life imitating art.”

“Finch starts off at World Wide Wicket Company working in the mail room,” said Chiero. “I have a 9-to-5 day job with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society and I actually do work in the mail room. So, I can identify with that feeling.”

In addition to Chiero and St. John, the experienced cast also stars Victoria Healy (Smitty), an actress with a B.F.A. in Drama from New York University who has played major roles in six other shows at the Candlelight, and Lindsay Mauck (Mrs. Krumholtz), who has 27 previous Candlelight shows in her resume.

The current production also features a number of other Candlelight veterans — Jordan O’Brien, Tiffany Dawn Christopher, Colleen Kreisel, Topher Layton, Connor McAndrews, Janine Merolla, Christopher Millison, Sam Nagel, Christian Ryan, Max Redman, Riche Sklar, Sarah Spangenberg and Erin Waldie.

Tickets, which include a tasty buffet dinner, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12). On Friday and Saturday nights, dinner starts at 6 p.m. and the show has an 8 p.m. curtain. On Sundays, the meal starts at 1 p.m. and the action onstage gets underway at 3 p.m.

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The Fab Faux

Beatles fans will never be able to see the Beatles perform live — unless John and George somehow come back from the dead. But, the band’s music lives on with a wide array of tribute acts performing songs from the foursome’s impressive catalogue.

Some of these tribute acts put on stage shows in which they try to look and sound like the Beatles. Others are content with providing an “as-accurate-as-possible” re-creation of the Beatles’ music.

The Fab Faux, who will be performing on March 21 at the Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com), fall into the latter category. The New York-based quintet features Will Lee, Jimmy Vivino, Rich Pagano, Frank Agnello and Jack Petruzzelli.

“We just try to bring the records to the stage,” said Agnello, during a phone call from Manhattan Wednesday afternoon. “We don’t add the acting. We don’t try to look like the Beatles. It’s all about the music.”

The Fab Faux has been doing a good enough job of playing Beatles music that it has survived almost two decades.

“Back in 1997, Hiram Bullock was going to Europe for a three-day show,” said Agnello. “Will was his bass player and Hiram got Rich as a substitute drummer. All that weekend, Rich and Will were jamming Beatles songs.

“Will told Rich that when they got back to the states, he’d call him and start a Beatles tribute band. A few months later, Rich got a call from Will. Rich brought me into the band and Will brought Jimmy. They both knew Jack and they asked him to join.

“On April 2, 1998, we got together at Will’s apartment. We decided to pick the most difficult Beatles song to play — that if we could play it, we’d go forward with the band. We picked ‘Because’ from ‘Abbey Road’ because it was so difficult. You have to play arpeggios on the instruments and blend in three-part harmonies.

“The major stipulations that we decided on were that we had to know the music and all five of us needed to be lead singers. We all have all four of the Beatles vocals in our own repertoires.”

The Fab Faux now has an amazing number of Beatles songs in its repertoire.

“Out of 213 Beatles songs, we only have three to go — ‘I’ll Get You,’ ‘Matchbox’ and ‘Real Love.’ This past winter, we played ‘Beatles for Sale’ and ‘Please Please Me’ and that knocked off 10-12 songs that we hadn’t done before. Now, there are just three left.”

The band not only plays songs, it plays entire Beatles album in one show. It also has other themed shows.”

“In the first half of the show at the Keswick, we’re doing songs from the Beatles U.S. television appearances — ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ ‘Shindig’ and when they had a  worldwide broadcast of ‘All You Need Is Love.’ The second half will be from the Beatles TV films.

“We just did ‘Revolver’ last week in Easton. We play ‘Sergeant Pepper’s’ at least once a year. ‘Revolution No. 9’ was quite a challenge. Walter Everett, a professor from the University of Michigan, helped us a lot with the classical pieces that were played backwards on the song.

“Right now, we do mainly weekend shows because it fits with our schedule. Will is a member of the house band on Conan O’Brien’s TV show so he lives in Burbank and the rest of us live in New York. TBS has movie night on Friday instead of Conan. So, Jimmy has Fridays off and is available for shows. We like playing the Keswick. We come there at least once a year.”

Video link for Fab Faux — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5BDZpVMQ_w.

Showtime at the Keswick on March 21 is 8 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $49, $69 and $125.

The Keswick will also be rocking hard the night before the Fab Faux’s show. On March 21, the venue is presenting George Thorogood & the Destroyers with the blues-rock group the Danielle Nicole Band as the opening act.

The Danielle Nicole Band, which is based in Kansas City, Missouri, emerged from the ashes of another KC band — Trampled Under Foot.

Trampled Under Foot, which specialized in a blend of blues, soul and rock, started as a trio featuring three siblings — Danielle Schnebelen (lead vocals and bass), Nick Schnebelen (guitars and vocals) and Kris Schnebelen (drums and vocals).

The final incarnation also included Jan Faircloth (drums) and Mike “Shinetop” Sedovic (keyboards). The line-up of the Danielle Nicole Band features Danielle Nicole Schnebelen, Sedovic, Faircloth and guitarist Brandon Miller.

“Trampled Under Foot was my brothers and I,” said Danielle Nicole Schnebelen, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from a tour stop in the Lehigh Valley. “We had been touring for 12 years and it was time to move on.

“Kris left in 2014. Then, we added musicians so we could go out on a high note. We’re all still playing music. Nick has a power trio and Kris is playing with Albert Castilla, who is a really good blues guitarist.

“With my new band, I’m moving in a new music al direction. It’s still based in roots and blues but there is more. It’s been cool to branch out with my writing. I just put my soul out there. I love the rock genre because it’s wide and it’s timeless.”

The Danielle Nicole Band is releasing its debut self-title EP this month on Concord Records.

“The band just formally started at the beginning of this year,” said Schnebelen. “We did a few shows last year but we all were still involved in other projects. This is our first full-time out and it’s a very comfortable feeling. I’m proud of what we accomplished.”

The band recorded the EP late last year in New Orleans with Anders Osborne, a guitarist/singer from Sweden who relocated to the Crescent City in 1985.

“Shinetop and I went to New Orleans and recorded it last fall,” said Schnebelen.  “The EP is almost all original songs. It’s my writing — a new facet. On the EP, Anders and I co-wrote songs and he played guitar and produced it.

“I’m writing all the time and we’ll have an album out on August 18 which will be 90 per cent original. We’re already playing songs from the album in our live shows. We’re also doing songs from the EP and a few that I just wrote and recorded for Sirius.”

Video for Danielle Nicole — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ayC5UZlYhuk.

The Keswick show will get underway at 8 p.m. with the Danielle Nicole Band. Tickets are priced at $45, $59 and $69.

liz longleyThere are many good options for live music on March 20 including two featuring female singers with Chester County roots — Downingtown’s Liz Longley and West Chester’s Laura Promiscuo.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will host Longley’s release party for her new album. The self-titled album was just released on March 17 on Sugar Hill Records.

After graduating from Downingtown High, Longley moved north and earned a degree in songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She stayed in New England for a while after finishing at Berklee and then headed south to Nashville.

In the past two years, Longley has taken home top prizes at some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, including the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition, the International Acoustic Music Awards and the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriting Competition.

“It’s always enjoyable to get back to Pennsylvania,” said Longley, during a phone interview from her home in Tennessee. “I play there several times a year. It’s good to get back to my roots.”

Longley’s show at the Ardmore venue will start at 7 p.m. with opening act Brian Wright. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 day of show.

Other shows at the Ardmore Music Hall in the upcoming week will be Control for Smilers (March 20, 10 p.m.), Robbie Wyckoff’s Pink Floyd Experience (March 21) and Albert James Band along with Jenn Bostic and Barnaby Bright (March 22).

Promiscuo will headline a show at Red Star Craft House (146 Exton Square Mall, Exton, 610-524-5893, www.redstarcrafthouse.com) on March 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Promiscuo attended Penn State University as a voice major and later trained with world renowned artists including international tenor, Maestro Antonio Conte Pugliese, and Arlene Shrut, head vocal coach at The Julliard School.

“I think of myself as a higher level performer than someone just strumming a guitar onstage,” said Promiscuo, during a recent phone interview. “A lot of people call me a chanteuse. I stand there like a night club singer but my original music is more pop-oriented.”

Right now, Promiscuo is promoting her new album “Chasing Down the Dream,” which was recorded with Grammy-winning producer Tim Sonnefeld at Milkboy Records. It features eight of her original songs, including “Closer To You,” “Water Is Wide,” “Take Me As I Am” and “Sweet Lovin’ Boy.”

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Flutronix

Two females will also be in the spotlight at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com) on March 20 when  LiveConnections ClassicAlive concert series presents a show featuring Flutronix with Ryan Matthews — a concert that merges Flutronix’s unique flute sound with Matthews’ trombone-meets-electronica music.

Flutronix is a duo featuring Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull — a musical collaboration from New York that is a blend of classical music, hip hop, jazz and eelectronica with R&B-style vocals on top.

“Allison and I surprisingly didn’t know each other despite growing up near each other,” said Joachim, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from her home on New York. “Seven years ago, I stumbled on her music on MySpace. I was surprised to find another musician experimenting with flute and electronic music. We found out that we lived a few blocks from each other in Brooklyn. We got together and found that we had similar music tastes.”

Loggins-Hull said, “We hit it off immediately. I was amazed that we didn’t know each other — especially being in the classical music scene. Also, our personalities were very similar. I could tell that she too was driven and hard-working.”

Joachim said, “It was a really natural thing for us to move forward. When it comes to the pieces we perform, we had to start from scratch. We started co-writing. We do the flute the flue parts and all the electronic parts. And, we have an incredible drummer Joe Blaxx. He’s very versatile and has helped expand our sound.”

Loggins-Hull said, “The main ingredients are each of our flute playing. It comes from a classical place. As far as everything else, it’s a blend — electronic, hip hop, jazz, improve. ‘Urban Art Pop’ is what we call our genre.”

For the duo, the flute parts come from being classically trained. The electronic influence comes from their personal listening choices.

“Growing up, I loved playing flute and listening to electronic music like Aphex Twin and Bjork. With Flutronix, I do all the vocals. Voice has always been very close to my flute playing. Also, people really connect with the human voice. Adding vocals was a natural progression — and a way to connect to the audience.”

Ryan Matthews received his bachelor’s degree in trombone performance from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied with Nitzan Haroz. He is an award-winning composer/producer and is releasing his first full-length electronic music album with overseas label/distributor Phrench Records.

“For the show at the World Café, each act will be doing individual sets. LiveConnection concerts are about collaboration so we’ll also be doing three pieces with Ryan — two Flutronix compositions and ‘Strobe,’ which is a Deadmau5 cover. We’re excited about working with Ryan.”

Video link for flutronix — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u94ikCajzoU&list=UU_CDzjdP0RjP0HmoiH6s8ZQ.

Tickets for the all-ages show range from $5-$15. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

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Chris Smither

The other World Café Live — World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com) — will showcase one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriters on March 20. The 8 p.m. show will feature Chris Smither — an artist whose first album “I’m a Stranger Too!” came out in 1970.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve been making music all these years — but it’s what I do,” said Smither, during a phone interview Monday from his home in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Smither celebrated his 50th year of music-making in 2014 by releasing a two-CD retrospective titled “Sill on the Levee” on the Signature Sounds label.

The New Orleans native reconnected with his roots when he recorded the double-album at New Orleans’ Music Shed with longtime producer David Goodrich. He also released a book titled “Chris Smither Lyrics 1966-2012.”

“About three years ago, I was doing a tour with the core musicians on the album and my manager said — we should do every song you ever recorded with this band,” said Smither. “There were all these milestones last year — 50 years of songwriting and my 70th birthday. It just came together.”

Smither’s sophomore album “Don’t Drag It On” came out in 1971. He didn’t get into releasing albums regularly again until 1991.

“In the mid-80s, I quit drinking and got healthy again,” said Smither. “I was lucky. I’m one of the survivors. I was in pretty bad shape — but nothing irreversible. Quitting was enough to get me back to good health.

“When I was drinking, I stopped doing music full-time. I only did occasional gigs. I was keeping ends together doing carpentry and construction work. One day, this woman I knew asked me — what do you do?

“I said — I’m a carp …  and that was all I could say. It was right then that I realized that I’m a musician — that’s what I do. I started getting back into music. It was sort of serendipitous — opportunity meeting the prepared. I ran into people who were interested in representing me. It didn’t take that long to get back. The first year or two — it was a lot of work.

“But, I still had a reputation for being a pretty good singer and guitar player. The first album that came out then was ‘It Ain’t Easy.’ Actually, I recorded it when I was still drunk. We just wanted to put something out. After that, I started to work steadily. I put out ‘Another Way to Find You’ in 1991 and ‘Happier Blue’ in 1993. ‘Happier Blue’ did really well.”

Smither has released 10 albums since “Happier Blue.”

“I put a new album out about every three years,” said Smither. “There is a fine line between too much and too little. I work best under deadline. Right now, with the new album and the book, there is no pressure. I’m not going to do another record until I feel like it.”

Even though it might be two years or more until Smither’s next album, he is staying busy — and not just with live gigs (which still number more than 100 a year).

“I’m starting to write new songs,” said Smither. “Mostly, my songs start with guitar parts. I work around and get a progression. Once I get a harmonic rhythm, then I work on the melody. Usually, the lyrics grow organically out of the music.”

Smither didn’t have to be concerned with writing new songs for “Still on the Levee.”

“When we were making the album, we went back to where I’m from,” said Smither. “I said — if we’re going to make a retrospective, let’s go back to where it started. Some of the songs I hadn’t touched in 30 or 40 years. I was gratified because the songs held up pretty well.

“It was interesting. The first song on the album was the first song I wrote back when I was 19. I’d sit there and listen to old recordings. There is sort of as muscle memory that kicks in when playing the old stuff. It was like looking at a box of old pictures. It was good for the most part. There was stuff I wrote over 30 years ago and it still sounds good.”

The show at the Queen will start at 7:30 p.m. with the opening act — Rusty Belle. Tickets for the show are $24 in advance and $26 day of show.

swans

Swans

Swans, a New York-based experimental rock band, will be in the area on March 23 for a show at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com).

They are in the sixth stage of a year-long world-wide tour celebrating the release of their two-album set “To Be Kind,’ which is the third studio album since the band’s reactivation by founder Michael Gira in 2010. Prior to 2010, Swans had been on a 14-year hiatus.

Gira put his band Swans to bed in 1997 and moved on to different musical projects – mainly forming the band Angels of Light and running his own Young God Records label.

In 2010, Gira decided to bring Swans back to life. The result was an album titled “My Father will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky.”

At the time, Gira wrote a message on his website — “THIS IS NOT A REUNION. It’s not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. After five Angels of Light albums, I needed a way to move FORWARD, in a new direction, and it just so happens that revivifying the idea of Swans is allowing me to do that.”

The current Swans lineup features Michael Norman Westberg on guitar  (original Swans), Christoph Hahn on guitar (mid- period Swans/Angels of Light), Phil Puleo on drums, percussion and dulcimer (final Swans tour/Angels of Light), Chris Pravdica on bass and gadgets (Gunga Din), Thor Harris on drums, percussion, vibes and dulcimer (Angels of Light/Shearwater) and Gira on guitar and vocals.

“I start a piece with a basic shape and that shape is going to shift constantly from show to show,” said Gira. “It shifts gradually. From the start of the tour until now, the songs have changed quite a bit.

“It’s a way of writing now. What we do — we’ll start with something — rhythm and a few words — and it will grow. Songs just morph on their own and then we’ll record them after the tour. Most of what we’re playing now hasn’t been recorded yet.

“There is a point when a song congeals. That moment is what we’re trying to achieve — when music is playing us and we’re not playing it.”

Swans fans know that what they hear on this tour will appear in recorded form sometime in the future and then, most probably, never be heard again in a live context.

“In the studio, we’re playing a particular way now,” said Gira. “I know how the songs sounded live and how I want to change them in the studio. I also have ideas for orchestration.

“The songs that you hear us playing onstage now are the foundation of the next album which we’ll be recording in September. They’ll be recognizable to people who have heard them live but not in the same shape.”

The show at Union Transfer will start at 8:30 p.m. with opening act Little Annie featuring Paul Walfisch. Tickets for the show are $20.

During the era when Swans were just getting started, there was a pop song by a band called Katrina and the Waves that was a huge hit here and in the U.K. and Europe. — “Walking on Sunshine.”

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Katrina

In 2010, Katrina celebrated the 25th Anniversary of “Walking on Sunshine” with the release of a new CD “The Love Album.” The song has become a pop culture staple and has been used in a number of films including “Secret of My Success,” “Look Who’s Talking,” “High Fidelity,” “American Psycho” and “Daddy Day Care.”

Now, “Walking on Sunshine” is enjoying its 30th anniversary and Katrina Leskanich, who was the American singer for the British pop band, is celebrating with a North American tour now through the end of April.

Katrina is touring in support of her recently-released album “Blisland” — a tour that will bring her to the area for a show on March 23 at Tellus 360 (24 East King Street, Lancaster, 717-393-1660, www.tellus360.com). A few months ago, she performed at the Keswick Theater as part of the Retro Futura Tour with Midge Ure and Howard Jones.

“I wrote and recorded ‘Blisland’ because I needed new material for the Retro Futura Tour,” said Katrina, during a recent phone interview from her home in the Abbey Road area of London. “I was really happy with the end result.

“Making it was really a lot of fun. I didn’t have the time to overthink it. The way it turned out gave me a lot of confidence. It’s so grass roots. It’s fun when you’re licking the envelopes.

“Doing the Retro Futura Tour was a lot of fun too. When they were putting the tour together, I got a call from my manager. He asked if I wanted to do the tour. I thought about it and decided it was time to play America again.”

Katrina was born in Kansas. Her father was a high-ranking officer in the United States Air Force so she spent her years growing up in locations all around the states along with Germany, Netherlands and England. She moved back to England in the mid-1970s and that’s where her career as a pop singer began to flourish.

“We put Katrina & the Waves together in 1981,” said Katrina. “Prior to that, it was called the Waves. I got two guys from Cambridge University and brought in my American friend Vince de la Cruz.

“We recorded some demos that we turned into an LP. With that album, we got a deal with a Canadian label. Our song ‘Going Down to Liverpool’ was covered by the Bangles and that attracted some American record labels.

“We eventually signed with Capitol Records. It was a six-record deal but we only did two. Eventually, we landed with SBK Records. Our last major label deal in America was in 1989. Still, even if ‘Walking on Sunshine’ is the only song of mine people ever remember, I’ll take it.”

“Walking on Sunshine” was a worldwide hit earning top ten spots around the globe. (No. 8 UK, No.9 US, No.3 Canada, No.4 Australia). Since then, the song has been broadcast over 2,500,000 times in the U.S. and was the highest played track on radio in the summer of 2008  — 23 years after its release.

Video link for Katrina — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=QI5xcuhG5Dc.

Katrina’s show at Tellus 360 will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

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The Cancer Bats

Canada was where Katrina got her first big break in the music business and is also the home to one of North America’s highly-respected punk rock/metal bands — the Cancer Bats.

The band from Ottawa, Ontario is currently touring the states in support of its new album “Searching For Zero” — a tour that brings them to Philly for a show on March 25 at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia, undergroundarts.org).

“The album came out March 10 in the states and Canada, a day earlier in the U.K. and March 13 in Europe,” said Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier, during a phone interview Wednesday from a tour stop in Ausitn, Texas. 

“It’s on Metal Blade Records in the states and New Damage in Canada. It’s being released on our own label Noise Church in the rest of the world.”

Cancer Bats released their debut album “Birthing the Giant” in 2006 and followed with “Hail Destroyer” in 2008, “Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones” in 2010 and “Dead Set on Living” in 2012. The band also includes Scott Middleton (lead guitar, backing vocals), Mike Peters (drums) and Jaye Schwarzer (bass, backing vocals).

“We recorded the new album last June,” said Cormier. “We had been working on the songs six months prior — trying to outdo ourselves. We brought 14 songs to our producer Ross Robinson, who has a studio at his house in Venice Beach, California. We recorded 12 songs there.

“When we’re working on new songs, everybody brings ideas to the table and then we work them out. We wrote about 25 songs getting ready for the recording of the album. In the studio, playing the songs live was the important thing.

“All five of us — the band and Ross — were in this small little room. Ross with his headphones on was head banging along with the music. We did all the main tracks that way and then added some overdubs later.”

The result was an album that takes Cancer Bats sound to a whole new plateau.

“This is our fifth album,” said Cormier. “I definitely think we’ve come around with our songwriting. Just being a band for 10 years, we’re more comfortable with our instruments. And, the music is more mature.”

The history of the band goes back to 2004.

“We originally started the band as a fun project,” said Cormnier. “Scott and I got some friends to play with us and our friends told us that it was more exciting than the other projects we were in.

“Eventually, that’s why we started Cancer Bats. We’ve had the same line-up now for about seven years. In our live shows, we’re still playing some songs from our first record. ‘Hail Destroyer’ was a popular album so we still play a lot from that. And, we’re really excited about playing the new stuff.”

Cancer Bats’ show at Underground Arts on March 25 will start at 8 p.m. with openers Exalt and The Cloth. Tickets are $12.

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will host John Eddie along with the Born Sisters (March 20) and Billy Penn Burger along with Nancy Micciula (March 21).

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Mason Porter with Ursa Major (March 20) and Jake Kelleher (March 21).

On March 20, Bernard Sarkissian and Rhythm Road will perform at Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com).

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present the Henry Girls along with Ry Cavanaugh (March 21) and Milton along with Cariad Harmon (March 22).

Melodies Café (2 East Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, 610-645-5269, www.melodiescafe.com) will host The Trolley Stoppers and After the Bar on March 20.

The Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org) will showcase Tom Rush on March 19.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will present the Marshall Tucker Band (March 18), Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience (March 19), Trespass (March 20), the Gibson Brothers (March 21), the Oak Ridge Boys (March 22) and MartinHayes & Dennis Cahill (March 23).

The Oak Ridge Boys will also perform at the American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 800-0 648-4102, www.AMTshows.com) on March 21. On March 22, the venue will present “Man in Black — A Tribute to Johnny Cash.”

The Rainbow Dinner Theatre (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, www.RainbowDinnerTheatre.com) is presenting its new production “Squabbles” now through March 21.

Matinee performances are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and selected Saturdays with an 11:30 a.m. lunch and a 1 p.m. curtain. Evening performances are every Friday, Saturday and selected Thursdays with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show following at 8 p.m. There will also be “Twilight Performances” on selected Sundays with dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 4 p.m. Ticket prices range from $30-$55.

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