Kenny Vance and the Planotones to play Casino in Vandergrift
By Julie Martin
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A one-of-a-kind venue meets a one-of-a-kind act April 27 when the Casino Theatre plays host to Kenny Vance and the Planotones.
The oldies band aims its sights on fans of all ages when its members take to the stage at the Vandergrift venue.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are reportedly moving fast, and with its '50s- and '60s-inspired repertoire, virtuoso vocals and sophisticated stylings, the show is not one to miss, says Sam Ferrella.
Ferrella has teamed with Rich DePaulis of General Talent and Associates to bring the band to the Alle-Kiski Valley.
“They're a very unique group. There's no other group out there like them,” Ferrella says. “It's probably the top show in the country, as far as oldies right now.”
Besides being a top act today, Vance and his band have strong rock 'n' roll roots. Lead singer Vance, a New York native, is founder of the popular Jay and the Americans, which opened for the first U.S. shows of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
In addition, his professional background includes stints as musical director for “Saturday Night Live” and musical supervisor for films like “Animal House,” “Eddie and the Cruisers” and “Looking for an Echo.”
He has appeared in movies such as “Billy Bathgate” and numerous Woody Allen films.
The Planotones include Grammy-nominated musicians and those who have performed with everyone from Ray Charles to Tony Bennett to Little Richard.
“It's probably got the best harmonies going, and (Vance) gives a good, solid two-hour show,” Ferrella says. “The one at the Casino is going to be a good, up-close and personal show.”
It's a performance that will include two jam-packed sets and a question-and-answer session and the opportunity to get to know Vance as he shares his story.
That might be why, as Ferrella says, Vance and the Planotones have such a strong following.
Those followers seem happy to head to the Vandergrift's historic theater from far and wide to an area that Farrella calls a “hotbed for oldies.” According to him, concertgoers are coming from places like New York, West Virginia and Ohio.
“The ticket sales took off immediately,” says Marilee Kessler, vice-president of the nonprofit Casino Theatre Restoration and Management.
“Bringing in someone as successful as Kenny Vance, it's a definite benefit to the Casino.”
“It will help the Casino to let people know we're here. So, that's all good. It's a win-win situation for us.”
Based on what Farrella says, if the band returns to the Casino in the future, those who see him this time are certain to come back.
“Once people see him once, they become his followers,” he says.
Julie Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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