the tops of our heads, we’re hard pressed to think of another
band who have managed to achieve significant popular success
with albums of original material and have also recorded
multiple full-length cover albums. But power-popsters the
Smithereens have done just that.
Formed in 1980, the New Jersey band combined early ’60s
influences—such as the Beatles, the Who and the Kinks—with
barroom bravado for a sound that straddled Brit Invasion
and American classic rock. It might not be too much of a
stretch to say the muscular songcraft of the Smithereens
in the mid- and late 1980s helped pave the way for the alternative
and grunge megastars who—some speculate—contributed to the
band’s own diminishing fame.
Since their chart peak in 1990, though, the band have continued
to gig (maintaining a rep as a top-notch live act), and
record: notably, two full albums of Beatles songs (including
Meet the Beatles in its entirety) and, last year,
their own version of the Who’s rock opera Tommy.
Tomorrow (Friday), the Smithereens will perform songs from
that album, as well as from their Beatles’ tributes and
songs from their own impressive catalog, at the Colonial
Theatre (111 South St., Pittsfield, Mass.). Tickets for
the 8 PM show are $45 and $22 and can be purchased by calling
would have thought, lo those 23 years ago, that a charming,
quirky little John Waters comedy with an unknown lead (Rikki
Lake), a legendary cult performer (Divine) and a pop star
soon to become a politician (Sonny Bono) would someday be
transformed into a smash Broadway musical, and, again, into
a smash movie musical? Not us.
But the kids know what they like, and teenagers love the
musical Hairspray as much as their theatergoing parents
do. And why not? It has good songs, a funny story and showstopping
numbers—in short, it delivers what a musical should. And
the current national touring company production is coming
to the Palace Theatre stage this week.
will be performed Wednesday (Jan. 27) at 7:30 PM at
the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., Albany). Tickets are
$29.50 to $59.50. For more info, call the box office at
to a hugely successful Broadway revival in 2008, “grease”
is still the word. But the 1950s-flavored musical sensation
of the 1970s never really went away, did it? It continues
to strike a nostalgic nerve with older audiences, and younger
audiences respond to its teen setting—and catchy tunes.
company, which settles in for a six-day run at Proctors
this week, includes silver-haired American Idol winner
Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel.
opens Tuesday (Jan. 26) and runs through Jan. 31 on the
mainstage at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). Performances
are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 PM, and Thursday, Saturday
and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $20 to $65. For more info,
call the box office at 346-6204.