On Stage: Recreating The Dead’s Europe ’72 tour

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Rainbow Full of Sound

Deadheads, as fans of the Grateful Dead are known, are passionately devoted to the legendary San Francisco band.

They are also extremely knowledgeable about the Dead’s music and career. Not only are they extremely familiar with the Dead’s best-known songs, they know every song in the Dead’s catalog. There are no deep cuts or hidden gems.

Waynard Scheller, a musician from North Jersey, is a diehard Deadhead. He is also the leader of Rainbow Full of Sound, one of the country’s favorite Jerry Garcia/Grateful Dead tribute bands.

“My first Dead show was at the Spectrum in Philly in 1978,” said Scheller, during a recent phone interview from his home in Monmouth County, New Jersey. “I followed the Dead around the country. I saw Jerry and the Dead play more than 300 times.”

Now, Rainbow Full of Sound is embarking on a tour that will retrace the Grateful Dead’s most extraordinary tour — “Europe 72.”  The tour will launch on February 6 at 118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com).

The tour will return to 118 North on March 5, April 2, and May 7. It will also play four shows at the 8×10 in Baltimore, Maryland and Putnam Place in Saratoga Springs, New York, and two at Hill Country Live in New York City. It also will have one-night stops at three venues in New York – Garcia’s The Cap in Port Chester, Funk ‘n Waffles in Syracuse and The Colony in Woodstock – and four in New Jersey — Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, The Stanhope House in Stanhope, Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright, and Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City.

“We’re going to follow the Dead’s itinerary from their European tour in 1972,” said Scheller. “We’re doing then in order chronologically and playing the exact set list from each show.

“I decided to do this a year ago. We’re doing 21 shows — same as ‘Europe 1972.’ The shows are mostly in New Jersey with a little in New York and a little in New Jersey.”

In addition to the shows at 118 North, the tour will feature four shows at The 8×10 in Baltimore, Maryland and Putnam Place in Saratoga Springs, New York, and two at Hill Country Live in New York City. It also will have one-night stops at three venues in New York – Garcia’s The Cap in Port Chester, Funk ‘n Waffles in Syracuse and The Colony in Woodstock – and four in New Jersey — Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, The Stanhope House in Stanhope, Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright, and Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City.

“On this tour, we’ll have a total of 18 musicians,” said Scheller, who has shared the stage with Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Rat Dog Dead and Co) Donna Jean Godchaux (Grateful Dead, Donna & The Tricksters), John Kadlecik (Dark Star Orchestra, Phil and Friends, Further. Mark Karan (The Other Ones, Bob Weir & RatDog) Kenny Brooks, (Bob Weir, RatDog, Charlie Hunter Quartet).

“It’s a revolving cast with six member each night. We’ll have the same bass player for 19 of the shows but I’m the only constant. Most of the shows are three-and-one-half hours of music with a half-hour break.

“We’re staying faithful to the set lists and paying tribute to the band but we’re not trying to play the Dead’s music note-for-note. We kind of let it flow and it comes out like us.”

Scheller has had his Dead tribute act together for eight years.

“The band started in 2012 with a residency at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park,” said Scheller. “It just evolved from there as a six-piece jam band playing Dead music exclusively.”

Video link for Rainbow Full of Sound — https://youtu.be/DRkbr7ftYfg.

The show at 118 North will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Other upcoming shows at 118 North are West Philadelphia Orchestra on February 7, Trevor Street Band on February 8 and Under the Oak on February 9.

A trip to Delaware, this month could also be a trip to Berlin – to Berlin in 1931 when the Nazis were first rising to power.

That’s because The Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.com) is presenting the classic musical “Cabaret” now through February 23.

“Cabaret” has a storied history. The hit musical has won a Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony Award for Best Original Score and a Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. 

Set in the infamous Kit Kat Klub, the show features some of the most well-known songs in theater history – songs such as “Cabaret,” “Maybe This Time” and “Willkommen.”

Mackenzie Newbury in Cabaret

The Kit Kat Klub featured Sally Bowles, the Emcee, and a rousing ensemble known as the Kit Kat Klub Band. Their invitation to audiences was to come to the Cabaret and leave their troubles outside.

The story focuses on Cliff Bradshaw, a young writer from America, and his relationship with the English cabaret performer Sally Bowles.

A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor.

The Kit Kat Klub and its activities serve as a metaphor for the gloom-portending political scene in Weimar Germany in the early 1930s. The show demonstrates how people just wanted to have a good time.

“Cabaret” premiered on Broadway in 1966 and won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and the Outer Critics’ Circle Award.

The initial revival of “Cabaret” first opened on Broadway in 1998 and won four Tony Awards — including Best Revival of a Musical. It ran on Broadway for six years.

The show returned to Broadway at Studio 54 in March 2014, with Alan Cumming reprising his Tony-winning role as the Emcee. It played 423 performances through March 2015.

The role of Sally Bowles in the play is an eclectic role that has been performed by many top-flight actresses – including Jill Haworth, Brooke Shields, Natasha Richardson and Michelle Williams. In the Candlelight Theatre production, the iconic role is played by Mackenzie Newbury.

Actors playing the other major roles are Dan Dunn (Emcee), Max Redman (Clifford Bradshaw), Sam Nagel (Ernst Ludwig), Edward Emmi (Herr Schultz), Donna Dougherty (Fräulein Schneider) and Sophie Jones (Fräulein Kost). Jones recently performed in West Chester as Cinderella in the Resident Theatre Company’s “Into the Woods.”

Newbury is a self-proclaimed actress, singer, tapper and face kicker.The oldest of four girls, her love of musical theatre came from dance classes at the local community center, singing in church choir, and watching the old MGM musicals with her mother and grandmother.

After graduating from Boiling Springs High School in central Pennsylvania, she earned a Bachelor in Music in Musical Theater degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Ironically, Newbury studied classical and contemporary musical theatre voice with Doug Bowles.

“‘Cabaret’ is my favorite show,” said Newbury, during a phone interview Wednesday evening from her home in South Philadelphia. “I was in a community theater production of ‘Cabaret’ when I was 16. This is my first repeat.

“This is my first show here. I had heard that the people at Candlelight are great – and the food is great. I auditioned for the production in early October and we started rehearsals in early December.

“I’ve always wanted to play Sally Bowles. It’s one of my top two desired roles along with Millie in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie.’ I’m equity eligible but I don’t think I’m going to do that right now. I want to perform the roles I want to.

“One of the things I like about ‘Cabaret’ is the history. I’ve always been a history fan. With ‘Cabaret,’ it’s funny and then it gets real heavy, real fast.”

Newbury carries a lot of responsibility with bringing Sally Bowles to life.

“Playing the role of Sally is exhausting,” said Newbury. “I get to do a lot of big emotional ballads and there is a lot of good dramatic work to sink my teeth into. I like that every couple lines, I’m playing a new character because of her mood swings. It’s definitely a dramatic challenge.

“Cabaret” is an enduring success – drawing patrons to the theater for more than 50 years. People relate to each of the characters. The music is beautiful, and the script is so well-written.

“‘Cabaret’ has entertainment value,” said Newbury. “It has dramatic punch and memorable songs. And the choreography is great.”

The Candlelight Theatre is presenting “Cabaret” now through February 23. Tickets, which include a tasty buffet dinner, are $64 for adults and $31.50 for children (ages 4-12).

Solar Federation and Tarkus

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) presents SOLAR FEDERATION (A Tribute to Rush) & TARKUS (A Tribute to Emerson, Lake & Palmer) on February 7, Dave Mattock and Funktap on February 8, and Whirled Music (Ken Ulansey & Phyllis Chapell) Valentine’s Show  on February 12.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Rob Pallett on February 7 and the Greg Sover Band on February 8.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will host Fruition on February 7, Splintered Sunlight on February 8, Crack the Sky on February 9, and Wayne Krantz/Keith Carlock/Tim Lefevbre on February 12.

Living Room at 35 East (35 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, https://thelivingroomat35east.com) presents Songwriters Night with Emily Drinker, Matthew Gordon, Kora Feder and Aaron Nathans on February 6; Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise, Fawziyya Heart and Floco Torres on February 7; and Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise, Lyn Rye & Ben Burden and Walk Talk on February 8.

Annenberg Center (3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, https://annenbergcenter.org/events) presents Ephrat Asherie Dance on February 7 and 8.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) hosts Appice Brothers on February 6, California Guitar Trio + Montréal Guitare Trio on February 7, The Freedy Jones Band on February 8, Bill Haley, Jr. & The Comets on February 9, Juliana Hatfield on February 11, and Kiss The Sky (Hendrix Tribute) w/ Heavy Cream (Cream Tribute) on February 12.

The Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org) presents Demetri Martin on February 7 and Sinbad on February 9.

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) hosts Rustic Music Service and Emmanuel Angel on February 7 and Minas on February 8.

The Locks at Sona (4417 Main Street, Manayunk, 484- 273-0481, sonapub.com) presents Drew Nugent on February 7.

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