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“The Last Days of Doo-Wop” a musical by North Shore Acappella founder, Richie Willis, debuts in Beverly, MA April 15

After two highly successful runs at The Stoneham Theatre, gimmeLIVE brings The Last Days of Doo-Wop to the historic Larcom Theatre for its Beverly, MA premiere.

“The Larcom Theatre was built during the days of Vaudeville by musicians for local musicians and music fans.  Special attention was paid to the acoustics, which are the best of any theatre in this area,” explains Peter Van Ness, President of gimmeLIVE who is presenting the show.  “What better way to honor the Larcom’s musical heritage than to put the north shore’s best 20 singers on stage performing top 50s and 60s hits woven together with critically acclaimed original songs written by local singer/songwriter/playwright/director Richie Willis.”

Mr. Willis, who founded North Shore Acappella in 1980, spent his teenage years huddled in doorways in downtown Malden singing a cappella with his 4 since-departed friends, hence the inspiration for ‘The Last Days of Doo-Wop.’

“The show is a heartwarming tale of 5 street corner singers that brings you back to the tenderness and turbulence of the 50s and 60s,” says Willis, who exudes genuine pride in his all-star cast.  “The comedy displayed by comedic standouts Johnny Pizzi, Tony Vivieros & Hank Morse, will leave you gasping for breath! The vocal talents of Jimmy Martin, (North Shore Acappella lead singer) Vanessa Salvucci, Cecelia Colucci, John Warpinski, Anthony Gennari (Street Magic lead singer), Carissa Scudieri, Brandi Maxam, Cristina Warseck, Kerriann Virgo, (The Jewels) Eric Brumlee, Mike Benard, Jared Fonzi, Brian Toney, Taylor Hilliard (The Doorays) Joe Cheffro, Chip Messina ( The Vendettas) Kathy Deon will leave you begging for more.” 

The Last Days of Doo-Wop debuts at Beverly’s intimate Larcom Theatre on April 15 for 3 shows only.  Tickets start at only $25.00 and are available on-line at https://gimmelive.com.  See details below.

PSSST INSIDER DISCOUNT… USE THE CODE CREATIVESALEM AND SAVE

THE LAST DAYS OF DOO-WOP 3 SHOWS FRI-SUN APR 16-17

APRIL 16 @ 8pm, APRIL 17 @ 2pm

CAST – THE DOO-RAYS

Richie Willis – “Richie (Present Day)” (Author, songwriter, and male lead)

Richie Willis is a singer songwriter who spent his teenage years huddled in doorways in downtown Malden singing acappella with his since-departed friends, Jimmy O’Rourke, Bob Crowley, Jimmy Martini, and Anthony Picillo…hence the inspiration for ‘The Last Days of Doowop’.

At age eighteen, he went from the street corner to the nightlife of Boston as part of a local phenomena known as ‘The Better Way’. When the group broke apart, two years later, he sang with several different traveling ‘funk’ bands, until he landed in ‘Breakaway’, Boston’s premier showband during the late 70’s.

In 1980, he formed ‘North Shore Acappella’, one of the most long-standing acapella groups in the Boston area. He left the group in 1986 and moved to check out the music scene in L.A. However, realizing he was more of an ‘East coast’ guy, he returned to Boston a year later and helped form ‘Night Magic’ a group that still performs today as ‘Street Magic’. A staunch ‘conservative’, he continues to write music and sings from time-to-time with his former group, ‘North Shore Acappella’.

John Warpinski – “Jimmy (Present Day)” (Co-male lead)

I have been singing since the dawn of time. I actually had my first paying gig as it were on Halloween when I was twelve. When all of us went out trick or treating, I drifted away from the pack and went over to a row of four local taverns down the street from our house in Green Bay. They put me up on the bar and I sang songs for tips. It was awesome!

After several high school bands and brief attempt at college I went on the road with a soul band for a couple years and eventually ended up in Boston, then to LA, Missouri, Nashville, New Orleans and now GB working my way through as a producer, writer, studio singer, voice over artist, actor and of course performer. I’ve also worked in New York and Chicago as a studio singer.

I can’t imagine not singing. I’ve written some songs for other artists and have written and performed on records of my own. I’ve been on TV on and off camera, on the radio and on stage. I’m obsessed with the Packers and I love to cook. That pretty much sums it up!

Eric Lee Brumley – “Young Richie”

My drive, passion, and motivation come from the desire to touch peoples’ hearts with the gift of music, with which God has blessed me. Throughout my professional career as a singer/ songwriter, I have received many opportunities to display this ability around the world. I received the key to the city of Palmdale California while recording a live album in LA. I also tour with a group called the Continental, traveling around the USA, and made a one-week stop in Romania.

I’ve played in bands, subways, churches, street corners, big arenas, theaters, live TV, and worked with some amazing people along the way. The most important thing i can say about myself and my accomplishments is that, “Apart from Him, I could do nothing.”

Brian Toney – “Young Jimmy”

Brian is a singer who also acts at times, and is excited to be sharing a stage with so many talented performers. His favorite Boston-area theater roles include Riff Raff in Rocky Horror (Loki Arts), Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (2nd Stage), and whatever role that was in Urinetown (Vokes).

He currently fronts the band Cover Me Badd and plays locally at various clubs around Boston. He is also trying to learn to be a nicer person, and also to play the bass.

Jared Fonzi – “Young Gino”

Jared Fonzi is incredibly honored to be a part of such an outstanding and professional cast. Jared comes from a very musical family, who have very close connections (both historically and musically) with the original members of North Shore Acapella. “Being a part of this play recreates the stories that I grew up listening to. It feels like I’m a part of my dad’s history.”

Jared has been performing in the local Boston and North Shore areas for the past five years in bands, trios, duos and solo with popular covers of all genres, and original music. He is extremely thankful for all of the help and support of his family and close friends that have encouraged him to reach his goals. Jared is a former collegiate ice hockey and lacrosse player, and pilot. He plays the guitar, piano, sings and is focusing on new endeavors within music and theater.

Jay Mobley – “Young Anthony”

Jay Mobley is a Boston-based composer and performing artist, originally from the Capital Region of New York. His one-act chamber opera, Anabel, was the recipient of Ethos New Music Society’s Composer Laureate award, and in 2012, received a grant from New England Conservatory to be staged in Cambridge. As a music director, Jay has worked with Liars & Believers (Boston) and the New York State Theatre Institute. He is a frequent session and pit guitarist, having played on recordings and in musical productions throughout New England and New York. On banjo, Jay has played with bands based in Brooklyn, Northampton, and Rochester, and has toured with the experimental folk orchestra the 23 Psaegz.

Current projects include a stage play about an ill-fated brewpub, coauthored with Arlington writer Mark McDonough, and a re-orchestration of an early 1900s vampire opera with OperaHub (Boston). Jay is thrilled to be singing in a musical again after a long time away from the stage! Much love to his family and to the Doo-Rays.

Mike Benard – “Old Bobby” and “Young Bobby”

Mike enjoys collecting and assembling LEGOs.

CAST – THE JEWELS

Brandi Maxam – “Ruby”

Brandi Maxam began performing song and dance at a young age, and the love of music, artistic expression, and entertaining has become a life-long passion. After studying Music Education at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, she moved to the East Coast to further her musical journey, performing in and around Boston. With a heavy focus on vocal jazz, along with some exploration into funk, rock, soul, folk, and now Doo Wop, she has entertained a broad range of audiences. She has opened for Blue Oyster Cult, been featured on WBZ TV’s Community Auditions, performed for Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino, and performed with the headlining big band at the Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival. You may even recognize her from any of the various restaurant and bar venues in Boston, Cambridge, or Newton where she often performs jazz standards with Logan Wright. This is Brandi’s first adventure into musical theater, and she wishes to dedicate the performance to her boyfriend Logan Wright who gives endless love and support to help make adventures like this possible. Thank you to the cast and crew for a wonderful and memorable experience!

Cristina Freda Warseck – “Diamond (Patty)”

Cristina Freda Warseck is a talented singer/songwrtier. She started singing and playing guitar at a young age and performed in Cambridge subway stations as a teenager. Cristina has been in many bands since then and even performed in the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra for 4 years performing “A Night at the Rock Opera” across the U.S.

Kerri-Ann Virgo – “Pearl”

Kerriann Virgo is a Dorchester native and has always had a passion for music. She found her talent like any other kid, lip-synching her favorite artists such as Mariah Carey and Leanne Rimes, only to find out she could really hit those notes! She followed her passion for music from high school throughout college. She studied Biology at Umass Dartmouth while participating in many talent shows and charity events. She was chosen to sing the national anthem at her college graduation in 2010.

Kerriann’s Jamaican family reminds her you can still work hard while pursuing your passion. Kerriann works full time at a clinic in Boston Children’s Hospital. This is her first play of hopefully many more!

Carissa Scudieri – “Gloria / Emerald”

Carissa Scudieri achieved local fame at only eleven years old while singing as the opening act for the legendary soul artist, Percy Sledge. She has sung the National Anthem for the Boston Bruins (she was the youngest person at the time to do so – she was ten!), the Boston Celtics, the New England Revolution, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism Road Race, and at the DCR Hatch Shell.

Carissa competed on the New England television talent show “Community Auditions – Star of the Day” where she won five weeks in a row and became a Grand Champion Finalist. She graduated from Berklee College of Music with a double major in Vocal Performance and Professional Music with a minor in Drama. Carissa has performed at numerous outdoor feasts and festivals, and at radio and television sponsored events throughout Boston.

Vanessa Salvucci – “Crystal Chandler – Manager of the Jewels”

Vanessa Salvucci is a multi-talented vocalist, songwriter and DJ. After graduating Boston University, she spent several years as an intern and cast member for the Walt Disney Company.

Recognized for her versatility and ability to appeal to audiences of all ages, one can find Vanessa at venues throughout New England, performing the Star Spangled Banner prior to Celtics games, Bruins face offs and DJing at Fenway Park for Red Sox Nation. Vanessa currently offers her audience “Sounds of the Century” as her vocal repertoire incorporates selections from Sinatra to Streisand: from Johnny Cash to Beyoncé. In her spare time, Vanessa donates her voice to charitable fund raisers, including annual events for the American Cancer Society.

CAST

Johnny Pizzi – “Butchie Gennetti”, “Sal Gennetti”, “Stompin’ Zimo”, “Mookie”

Johnny Pizzi is one of New England’s funniest and most astonishing performers! With more than 20 years experience, Johnny has performed in some of the most demanding situations such as his LFOR Tour for the troops over in Iraq! Johnny’s humor is wild and exciting without being offensive or vulgar. He is comfortable performing for young and old audiences alike! Even the toughest of customers can’t help but bust out laughing while watching Johnny work his magic on the audience.

Tony V – “Tony V”

Tony V started his stand-up comedy career in 1982 after attending several shows at Boston’s prestigious Comedy Connection. He wandered in one night, quite by accident, looking for a little stress relief from a high pressure job as a case worker at the Somerville Mental Health Center. It was not long after that he took to the stage himself. Tony’s street wise humor tempered with a genuine feel for the human condition quickly propelled him to headliner status on the national comedy club circuit.

In 1986 Tony V was named “Funniest Person in Massachusetts” by Showtime television. He followed this achievement with several performances on HBO, the Arts and Entertainment Network, Comedy Central and MTV. From 1987 through 1992 Tony V became the “spokesperson” for American Tourister Luggage. Remember the suit case smashing gorilla? It was Tony that gave the ape it’s distinct voice and temperament.

Network television was next with multiple appearances on Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd w/ Colin Quinn and several sit-coms including Seinfeld, Boston Common, The Single Guy and Dr. Katz Professional Therapist. Tony then tackled dramatic roles on television working with such notable actors as Eric Roberts, Ice T and James McDaniels from NYPD Blue.

Tony’s big screen outings include State and Main, Celtic Pride, Housesitter, One Crazy Summer and Shakes the Clown as well as the independently produced By the Sea and Abracadabra. Tony has also produced and written on several shows for network and production companies.

Tony V has worked with Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, Bobcat Goldthwait, Steven Wright, Adam Sandler and countless other friends and nationally known acts. Tony has opened for Kenny Rogers, The Temptations, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Beach Boys and Joan Jett.

Hank Morse – “Tony V”

Hank Morse …

Kathy Deon – “Richie’s Mom”

After spending years raising four children and singing in church, Kathy found herself wanting something more. So at age 30, she auditioned for ‘Godspell’, earning the role of Sonya. She became a girl on fire after that first community theatre experience. Perhaps you caught her on the Spirit of Boston, moonlighting at the Encore Cabaret Lounge or singing as a server at Diamond Jim’s Piano Bar. Kathy has been performing for over 30 years in and around Greater Boston counting her time spent with the late, great Al Vega as some of her most memorable and rewarding.

Her most recent roles were Roxie in ‘Chicago’ and Sister Hubert in ‘Nunsense’. Among her most memorable roles were Sheila in ‘A Chorus Line’, Miss Hannigan in ‘Annie’, Helene in ‘Sweet Charity’ and Miss Mona in ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ among many others. She was awarded honors for her first non-musical role as Truvy in ‘Steel Magnolias’; an accomplishment of which she is most proud. Kathy also works as a hairstylist at “Skin for All Seasons Salon and Day Spa” in Revere.

Jimmy Martin – “Buddy Light”

Jim Martin was born in Lynn, Ma. His vocal career was inspired by listening to his father’s old records. Imitating such singers as Jackie Wilson, Tony Williams of The Platters, and The Temptations has given Jimmy a solid foundation of his own style. “I fell in love with voices singing harmony the first time I heard them.” His greatest musical influence is Sam Cook, whom Jim believes was the greatest singer that ever lived. Jim sang with the rhythm and blues band, World Premier, along with other groups before joining North Shore Acappella in 1995.

Jim is a devoted Christian and family man. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Vivian and his children Sheleah, Sarsha, James, Samuel, and Gabriel.

Joe Cheffro – “Vendetta”

Smokin’ Joe has been performing since 1963 with the ever-popular “Henchmen” band, playing Rock and Soul songs of the 60’s and 70’s like no one else! Smokin’ Joe gives new energy to Soul music artists such as Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, and James Brown, to name a few.

Anthony Gennari – “Anthony Vendetta”

Singing has always been a part of Anthony’s life – from harmonizing with his family, performing in bands, and finally, to Street Magic for the past 30+ years! The most influential sounds for him were the 70’s Soul groups – The O’Jays, The Whispers, The Manhattans, The Stylistics, Tavares, and of course, Motown’s Temptations. He always loved those tight harmonies! Anthony also sang in the “neighborhood” – for him, it was the North End of Boston, singing on the street corner, trying to create that magic! Anthony lists singing with great friends over the years as being some of the most enjoyable times of his life.

Peter ‘Chip’ Messina – “Vendetta”

Chippy sang for many years with ‘Back Bay Acappella’, ‘Sideshow’, The ‘Runaways’, and the ‘Crescents’.

Cecilia Colucci – “Present Day Gloria”

After attending Berklee College Of Music, Cecilia went on the road with the pop group SPECTRUM. Shortly after returning to Boston her dynamic vocals and remarkable versatility won her a place in the recording studios. Cecilia has hundreds of jingles, voice-overs and commercial recordings to her credit. She was the featured vocalist with the Well-known Ed Peters Orchestra, for 12 years and then went on to start her on 8-piece super band called STARDUST, which has been entertaining audiences in and around the Boston area, for the past 20 years. She was also touring with the Primavera show band for several years, which was a 13-piece tribute band reminiscing the great, Louis Prima and Kelley Smith.

Today, Cecilia has successfully started her own VIP vocal coaching business, and has been an extra in several movies, including The Woman, Pink Panther, The Proposal and, most recently, American Hustle (Just to name a few!)

Linda Chase – Musical Arrangements

As keyboardist/vocalist in highly acclaimed bands on the New England progressive rock scene throughout the late ’70s and ’80s, Linda’s original band “3 Speed” was signed to MCA/Curb records in 1985 where, with music partner Dave Currier she has co-written, arranged, produced and recorded many songs for major motion pictures including the title song for Jim Carrey’s first leading role movie, “Once Bitten” for Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. This song was a featured Billboard Pick of the Week, and its video was in regular rotation on MTV and all other international music video markets.

For the past several years in addition to live performances, Linda has concentrated on composing, studio production, programming, arranging and computer audio skills. With Currier, she is the recipient of a Freddy award for an educational film score. She has written hundreds of radio and TV “jingles” for markets in more than 40 states and writes songs for TV, most recently for a series on Showtime. She produces other artists and is in demand for her unique vocal coaching technique which provides great results in achieving an artist’s very best performance in the studio.

Linda is currently developing therapeutic musical programs which she will soon implement in several Life Care Centers of America in Eastern MA and currently performs in a duo with Tom Pittman and with classic rock band, The Paisley Project.

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