Acts take center stage at Macomb Center

By: Maria Allard | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published February 2, 2018

 Ted Vigil will present the John Denver Musical Tribute at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.

Ted Vigil will present the John Denver Musical Tribute at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.

Photo provided by the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts

MACOMB COUNTY — Concerts, plays and musicals are ready for the spotlight as the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts 2017-18 season continues.

Fans of the late John Denver can experience his music in a live setting when Ted Vigil takes the stage this month.

Vigil will present the John Denver Musical Tribute at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15. In the show, Vigil and his backup band will play homage to singer-songwriter Denver by performing “Rocky Mountain High,” “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and others.

Vigil’s concert features two 45-minute sets with a short intermission in between. Vigil grew up in the area of Olympia, Washington, where music was always on at the family home.

“I got into rock ‘n’ roll, jazz,” said Vigil, who resembles Denver from the acoustic guitar to the signature eyeglasses. “I always loved music.”

About 10 years ago, the seasoned musician was performing a John Denver number and was encouraged by others to perform a tribute show to the late singer-songwriter.

“It took off more than I thought it would,” said the 53-year-old Vigil, who has performed the John Denver Musical Tribute across the U.S., Australia, Canada and the Cayman Islands.

Along with performing onstage, Vigil always makes time to mingle with the audience after playing live. He meets people who saw Denver in concert before, as well as those who never had the opportunity.

“Some people have never seen him before, and now they feel like they have,” Vigil said, adding that there are fans as young as 10 years old in the audience. “A lot of times, people want to take a picture or share a story.”

Denver died in October 1997 when a plane he was piloting solo crashed. Vigil believes Denver was so well-loved by people not only because of his music but because he was “a humanitarian.”

“The music and the stories. He was many things to many people,” Vigil said. “He sang with a lot of feeling. He cared about people and humanity.”

Vigil believes Denver would “definitely” be playing music if he were still alive today.

“I feel his spirit onstage,” Vigil said.

“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” is one of Vigil’s favorite songs to play live because of the audience interaction. “Calypso” has “struck a chord with me,” and “Grandma’s Feather Bed” is another fun song for Vigil.

William Wood, director of cultural affairs and community engagement at the Macomb Center and the Lorenzo Cultural Center, said organizers always look for diversity both artistically and culturally when booking shows.

“We make sure we bring in the top-quality artists and performers,” he said. “The season is going very well. We’re very pleased with ticket sales.”

Upcoming shows include “Mutts Gone Nuts” Feb. 24; “Tao: Drum Heart” March 23; “Cabaret” March 24; “Million Dollar Quartet” April 7; and “Patti Lupone: Don’t Monkey with Broadway” April 22.

Another popular show booked for the season is “Menopause the Musical” at 7:30 p.m. April 12-13. The comedic show tells the story of women who have experienced or are experiencing menopause.

Organizers also bring in shows for children, including the “Page to Stage” series that features stage performances based on books.

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts has 1,250 seats.

“It’s a much more intimate experience for people to come here,” Wood said. “We try to make it a great experience for people.”

Wood himself is looking forward to the April 19 performance by Max Raabe & Palast Orchester, which plays popular music from the U.S. as well as German classics.

“They’re so good and so interesting,” said Wood, who also looks forward to the folk trio the Wailin’ Jennys on April 14.

“I’ve seen them four of five times in concert,” he said. “They’re wonderful performers and great people to work with.”


Telling secrets
Another show coming to the Macomb Center is “PostSecret: The Show” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23. The show — created by Frank Warren, TJ Dawe, Kahlil Ashanti and Justin Sudds — is based on the secrets of people who anonymously send in postcards with their biggest secret that nobody knows about.

Through projected images, narratives and videos, three actors and a guitarist perform those secrets onstage. The show is designed for an adult audience.

“Some of them are deep and dark, but others are silly,” said Kerrie L. Augustine, sales and marketing manager for the Macomb Center and the Lorenzo Cultural Center. She added that postcards will be distributed on campus to be featured in the show.

“This project is to let go of some of the secrets we have. Nobody is alone with their secrets,” Warren said. “The secrets can be tragic, shocking, surprising; they can be silly or hopeful. We all have at least one secret that can break your heart.”

“PostSecret: The Show” is never the same show twice.

“It brings to life the stories behind the secrets,” Warren said.

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is located on the Center Campus of Macomb Community College, 44575 Garfield Road in Clinton Township. For a complete list of shows, dates, times and ticket prices, visit www.MacombCenter.com. To reach the box office by phone, call (586) 286-2222.