The four-man cast of Oh What a Night! is coming to entertain Red Deerians with a special tribute to Andy Williams, Dec 8th. at the Red Deer Memorial Centre.
“Our show is very different than any other tribute show,” said Michael Chapman, producer and director of Oh What a Night!
He explained that in many tribute shows the cast mimics famous personalities or does impersonations. But, Oh What a Night! is more, “Like a concert version of a Broadway show,” he said.
There are no sets. The cast is being themselves, they’re not characters in costumes.
According to Chapman this is what makes the show special.
The show is designed to create a real connection between audiences and the cast, so that you feel like you know them by the end. Only four men sing, dance and perform the entire production.
Two of the cast members on the Canadian tour are original cast members, who worked with Williams personally and one of them is the show’s choreographer.
“It is a fun, lively, family-friendly musical production,” Chapman said. “Grandparents bring grandkids—its lots of fun!”
Most of the songs are familiar to audiences, including old classics like Jingle Bells, White Christmas, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and Williams’ signature song Moon River.
The first half of the show is a tribute to Frankie Valli. This show has been performed in Red Deer before. It showcases songs initially made famous on Williams’ popular musical variety television show in the 1960s.
The second half of the show is brand new this year, and it is a tribute to Williams himself.
“For anyone over 40 that’s all nostalgic music,” said Chapman. Even if the young kids don’t know the songs, they have fun because the tunes are so “singable,” he said.
The tribute to Williams has special meaning for Chapman himself, as he worked closely with Williams on the original version for three years.
“We were invited by Andy to his theatre,” he said. “Then in the last season he took ill.”
After Williams’ death in 2012, Chapman wanted to keep his legacy alive and a holiday tribute seemed like the best way possible.
“He was known as Mr. Christmas,” Chapman said. “So, what better way to honour his memory than to carry on performing the music he loved singing so much.”
‘Oh What a Night’ premiered in 2008 and became so popular that more casts had to be added and now perform all over the world. Since Williams’ passing, the show fanned out to include the holiday selections, performed internationally at Christmas in his honour.
Chapman said, so far on the Canadian tour, “There have been full houses and standing ovations at performances.”
The cast performed in the Maritimes through the end of November and in Ontario last week making their way across the prairies to Red Deer.
The show, Dec. 8th is the first time the holiday version will be presented in Red Deer.