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“From Bandstand to Billboard” to revisit popular music from the 1950s through ’70s

The cast includes favorite Community Little Theatre musicians and actors, including Duane Glover, Eileen Messina, Gerry Therrien, and Sophie Messina.

“From Bandstand to Billboard – On the Flip Side” is a fun and sometimes romantic collection of big hits from Billboard Magazine and American Bandstand from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. The widely-acclaimed show will appear for the third year at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston on Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s show is “From Doo-Wop to Disco.”

The cast of popular musical revues at Poland Spring Inn will present this unique show, which has sold out at the center in the past. “From Bandstand to Billboard” was conceived by Eileen Messina, a long-time actor, director, and choreographer with L/A Community Little Theatre.  

In addition to Messina, the group features other favorite CLT performers from Central and Southern Maine, including Michael James Litchfield, Renee Mahon Davis, Duane Glover, Sophie Messina, and Gerry Therrien. The event host and emcee will be Mitchell Clyde Thomas.

The other big feature of the show is the orchestra, including conductor Paul G. Caron on keyboards, Mike French on acoustic and electric guitar, Shane Davis on bass guitar, Mark Fredericks on percussion, Mike Plossay and Michael Truchon on trumpet, Bruce Theriault on trombone, Blaise Spath on reeds, Alex Wong on cello, and Kate Gray and Linda Vaillancourt on violins. The entire ensemble represents some of L/A Community Little Theatre’s most talented performers, with scores of productions here and in other places to their credit.

“As the country went through major changes during this time period, we looked to popular music and entertainment to help see us through,” said Franco Center Executive Director Mitch Thomas. “Big Bands and vocalists gave way to this new thing called Rock ‘n Roll, as well as to the Golden Age of Country, Folk, Psychedelic Rock, and the rise and fall of Disco. We are so happy to welcome back this talented ensemble for a night of great entertainment!”

Along with the music, the show will take a look back at the culture and events of the time, as reflected in the advertising of the day, with a humorous look at vintage print ads interspersed between album covers and info about the original performers.

Messina says they are starting out the show this year with a group dance song medley featuring such numbers as “Land of 1000 Dances,” “The Twist,” “Limbo Rock,” “Locomotion,” “Copacabana,” and “Y.M.C.A.” “We know how much Franco Center audiences love singing along with us, so this year I decided to start the show with a big dance medley,” says Messina. “Wear comfortable shoes – we expect everyone to be dancing in the aisles!”

Tickets are $18 for adults; students will be admitted free of charge. The doors and bar will open at 6:30 p.m. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Box Office at 46 Cedar Street in Lewiston, call them at 689-2000, or see www.francocenter.org.

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