FINISHING TOUCHES - From left singers Laren Steppler

Time Machine – a Retro Rock & Roll Revue set to hit the stage

Get set for a blast of an evening packed with iconic tunes from the 60s and 70s, running at the Scott Block Nov. 3rd-4th and 10th-12th.

Local filmmaker/author Harley Hay has planned what promises to be a super-fun event called Time Machine – Retro Rock & Roll Revue featuring a fabulous band of a dozen local musicians serving up classics from such artists as the Rolling Stones, Carole King, Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, America, Cream and Michael Jackson amongst others.

Producer Hay and Music Director Morgan McKee have put together an all-star band with Dave Parfett, Jeremy Doody, Scott Wiber and Rob Goodwin with singers Ryan Marchant, Kayla Williams, Josh Baynes, Michelle Colby and Laren Steppler.

“It’s been bubbling around in my brain for about two years,” explained Hay during a recent chat. He’s been involved with staging several popular events over the past several years that pay homage to the good old days of rock, such as last year’s Rockin’ in the Old Days! – featuring the Gaetz Avenue Dance Band and Sam and A Case of the Blues – A Tribute to the Blues Brothers back in 2009.

“We enjoyed those so much,” he said, adding that fellow musician/organizer Parfett really liked the theatre aspect to the Blues Brothers tribute and wanted to tap into that further with a brand new show.

“So about two years ago over a couple of beverages, we came up with this concept of a time machine,” he said. “We want to honour the music of my favourite time or favourite decade – 1965 to 1975 – I’m not going to say how old I was then,” he added with a laugh. “From the Beatles up to Fleetwood Mac – that kind of range.

“They are part of the fabric of my past,” he said. “So our first idea was to build a giant jukebox and have an ‘Ed Sullivan’ emcee come out and pull 45s, and then a band would play all those tunes. But that only went so far. And then last Christmas I sat down and I started to re-write the script. I starting listing the songs that I thought would work well – songs that I’ve always liked personally and some that I’ve played in bands and others that I haven’t,” he said.

Hay said that as that list took shape, he started to see a pattern emerge. “A sort of love story – so the concept of this show is that there are 28 songs that tell a love story through the titles of the songs. A guy is looking for a girl (I’ve Been Lonely Too Long, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction). And then they notice each other – I Saw Her Standing There, I Feel the Earth Move and I Feel Good.

As things progress, the couple start dating but then things sour a bit. But ultimately, love conquers all and at every step along the way a classic, instantly recognizable song will help to chronicle those various stages. All You Need Is Love – indeed.

It promises to be a brilliant, colourful and flat-out fun showcase of favourite tunes mixed with a bit of theatre, a dance floor and some of the finest local talent around.

“The hook is that it’s kind of a hybrid – it’s part concert, part dance, part party and part theatre,” he said. “So we’ve got a little dance floor – I think 15 tables of four and then we also have bleachers. There’s theatre seating, there is cabaret seating.

“It’s covering some new ground.”

There is of course that six-piece band with an awesome set of five lead singers. “One of the guys in the band said this is kind of a super group – cherry picked from the best of Red Deer.”

Marchant will be essentially ‘steering the bus’ as the one who talks directly to the audience as the show rolls along.

“For me, the fun is that we have all of these incredible musicians and amazing singers,” said Hay, who is clearly grateful for all those who signed on to take part in the show.

“Me and Dave, we are the fossils in this whole thing,” he laughs. “We have years of experience of playing, but we don’t play that much anymore. We’re used to having like 27 rehearsals for a one-night gig. These guys say, ‘Three rehearsals? That will be fine – and they just nail it. They’re so good.

“We’re also really lucky to have Myles Bartlett – this sort of super-tech guru in Red Deer to do a real rock concert show of lighting – I mean, he’s pulling out all the stops.”

Ultimately, Hay is just so good at this kind of thing – he’s got a real passion for not just Red Deer and its musical community, but for projects that overflow with a compelling sense of nostalgia overall as well.

“We’re even having Larry Reese coming in to play his sitar while people walk in – just to set the mood.”

It’s also a partnership with the folks of Bull Skit Comedy, who operate out of the Scott Block and will help to staff the production.

And with one of the performances falling on Remembrance Day, Bullskit Artistic Director Jenna Goldade said any veterans attending that day will pay just half price.

Meanwhile, tickets are available online through Bull Skit Comedy at www.BullSkitComedy.com.

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com