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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...7/4/19
By Danny Coleman
originally published: 07/04/2019
When you're Franke Previte and you've had success as a front man for the popular 80's group Franke & The Knockouts; what's next? Well in Previte's case you pen two of the most recognizable tunes of a now iconic movie soundtrack, win Academy and Golden Globe Awards for "Best Original Song" and go on in life doing what you love and loving what you do.
Music, once in the bloodstream is an infection that can either consume you, or lie dormant inside until awakened; in Previte's case it devours his mind and soul. His most recent undertaking (with his partner the incomparable Lisa Sherman) is a soon to be touring show titled, "Calling All Divas;" which is more than a concert and more than a theater production; it's what Previte calls, "A celebration of women and song" and it will take to the stage of Monmouth University's Pollak Theatre at 8 p.m. on July 11.
Certainly a show, or any production for that matter must take time; how long has this been in the works and what makes it different for audiences?
"When Lisa told me back in 2014 that she was thinking about doing her "Decades Of Divas" show, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I started telling her that there could be a little story there about four girls getting together and how these divas throughout the years created you and made you the singer that you are today and that you're not trying to copy them but you're celebrating them. That is what this show is about; not some tribute band where people will say, oh they sounded just like Led Zeppelin or just like the Eagles; these girls were influenced by these iconic women. So it's more like a celebration of music than a tribute band. I found out that I couldn't trademark the name "Decades of Divas" so I came up with "Calling All Divas" and rewrote the story about these four girls from different walks of life and different ages coming together and competing against each other and then come up with the songs; I had to redo the whole thing and that takes time."
The show's premise is not necessarily a new one to musical theater but it is rather unique in its focus as they are fine tuning the production with every performance.
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"The show is still a little bit in the tweaking stages; kind of like when you first write a song and you write the lyrics and you're singing it in the studio and you think, you know maybe I should tweak these lyrics a bit. So the story, since we first wrote it, some of the projections, some of the songs and cast members have changed. We have a girl named Alessandra Guercio; she was a finalist on "The Voice" and she's a young lady who plays ,"The Subway Singer," so the story is about these four girls who compete against each other who were brought to this guy who is going to make one of them the next superstar. He is going to take one of these girls and make her a superstar and have her play at his historic club which has fallen on hard times and he tells this young songwriter "Franke" that he has to close the club. So Franke sets out to find the next star because he's determined not to let him close the club. The owner, "Mr. D," gives him 72 hours to find the next girl that he can make a superstar because he owes a lot of people money and he's afraid of the mob because he owes them too much money."
Previte says that through the wonders of "Projection" the audience will be taken "inside" various locales as the story unfolds.
"So through projection he (Franke) goes into a gospel church and finds this girl (played by Carol Riddick) singing "Amazing Grace." He then follows her to a blues club in Harlem and listens to her sing and pitches her to come audition.Then he goes to a country bar and finds another girl (played by Trenna Barnes) and pitches her and then goes back to the club and tells his boss that he found two girls who are really hot and one of them is going to be "it" and he's told by him to go and find a third because three is his lucky number. So now he's got to find a third girl; he was scheduled to be in the recording studio himself that night and there he finds a friend who he's known for years (played by Lisa Sherman) in the same studio. So right under his nose he thinks he's found the third girl and she turns him down because she has a past history with Mr D who last she saw him he was naked in "The Wonder Wheel" on Coney Island waiting for her to meet him and she had split so she thinks he's still pretty pissed off at her."
"Franke leaves thinking it's over and he hears this young girl singing in the subway and he gets her to audition. So just as the auditions are about to start a fourth girl shows up (Lisa Sherman) and so it's now the four of them. So they sing for this guy and he has to pick one and he can't figure out who to pick and as the girls get to know each other and sing for him; they realize that they're stronger together than they are apart. So they start to work together, become friends, empower one another and become stronger, a little bit like a sisterhood; so the second act is a concert by whom he picks."
So the script is set and the roles are cast but now comes perhaps the most critical piece of the puzzle; choosing the songs to fit each diva. Previte says that each tune was "Tailored" for each vocalist.
" The great songs that we picked are classic platinum songs by Etta James, Whitney Houston, and Tina Turner but there are country songs, modern and older country songs from Wynonna Judd to Linda Ronstadt and Kelly Clarkson. There's songs from Carole King; the show is about the songs and the girls and what we've done with the projection is like the icing and cherry on the cake. This is a totally different way to view a concert, it's more like a theatrical concert. We picked the songs that we thought were fitting to the girls voices. Carol Riddick who plays the blues singer has worked with Patti LaBelle, Gamble and Huff and Sister Sledge and she's every bit as good as they are so it was very important for us to find songs that showed her voice off. So I found songs that show their voices off; Trenna Barnes was in a band called Cowboy Crush who've done like nine albums for Curb Records and she was in a play called, "Ring of Fire" which was the Johnny Cash story and she's up here from Nashville. Then for Lisa I arranged a version of "Rolling In the Deep" where there's a bit of a capella, background voices and percussion; so you can only hear these arrangements if you come to the show. I went online to find the part of the subway singer and was surprised to find Alessandra on "The Voice" auditioning with a song called, "The Climb" and she was being judged by "Steven Tyler" who said she was, "Awesome" and Christina Aguilera who said, "I want her on my team;" so she has a little bit of a cache to her and hearing her sing "The Climb" and knowing that it was in the show I reached out to her and she was into joining the show."
Rounding out the cast is Zach Holden who takes on the part of Franke and soap veteran Frank Dicopoulos who was on "Guiding Light" for 22 years and he plays Mr. D the club owner."
The ensemble has done several shows already, test runs so to speak but this effort at Monmouth University is also tailored to the production and beyond.
"I thought a Thursday may be a cool night to do stuff because it's an off night, people aren't in a hurry to get to their weekend like they'd be on a Friday and the show starts at 8 p.m. and is over by 10:30 p.m. so it's not a late evening. I had a chance to book this show in other places but I thought that the Pollak Theatre would be a good building block for us because it's a community place, a smaller boutique theater which holds 720 people not a bigger theater like The Count Basie which holds fifteen hundred; I thought this would be a good building block for the show, an opportunity to brand ourselves and work some things out. After this performance we are actually going on tour to Hershey, PA, then to Mount Olive, NJ and then in the month of November we have six dates in Florida."
Despite all the hard work, lengthy rehearsals and preparation; Previte says he'd have things no other way and wants the audiences, especially the ladies to take something special away from the performances.
"What is kind of neat is; it's really a ladies night out because when these women are singing there's somebody in the audience who can relate; I'm that girl or I'm that girl, she's 50 and still kicking ass. This isn't a show about four young, up and coming singers, it's about four girls who still believe in themselves and are still reaching for that brass ring. I think that's true inspiration-ally to a lot of people in life where they're a mother, the diva in their life. They could be a mother who is changing their child's life which makes them the diva in their family so we're trying to portray that diva is not a bad word, I mean Mother Teresa could be a diva as she changed the way people feel about each other; these girls are empowering each other and we want that story of empowerment to radiate to the audience."
To purchase tickets to "Calling All Divas" please go to www.monmouth.edu and to discover more about Franke Previte, please visit www.frankeandtheknockouts.com .
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That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
This week's event listings
Arts Council of Princeton
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton
Thurs. 10 a.m. Farm Market and "Summer Courtyard Concert Series" feat. (6 p.m.) Big Country and the Finger Pick'n Good Band ( Takes place at the Princeton Shopping Center located at 301 N. Harrison St.)
Bill's Olde Tavern
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
Thurs. 9 p.m. Trivia
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton
Sun. 7 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Jam
Wed. 7 p.m. Karaoke
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Andrea Carlson Trio
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 7 p.m. David Dales Trio
Sun. 6 p.m. Lorenzo
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. Gary Reed & Arturo Baguer
Wed. 6 p.m. Chris Lelli
Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
19 E. Union Street Burlington
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Ronny Rayz
Sun. 1 p.m. No Diving Duo
Wed. 7 p.m. Quizzoholics
Broken Goblet Brewing
2500 State Road Bensalem, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. Mike Estabrook
Wed. 8 p.m. Quizzo
23 North Union Street Lambertville
Fri. 7 p.m. Russell Norkevich
24 Passaic Street Trenton
Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam
Sat. 3 p.m. (TBA) $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet)
Tues. 6 p.m. "Tuesday Jazz Jam" Open Session feat. James Stewart / Tom Littwin Trios. $5 (Lite appetizers)
931 Chambers street Trenton
Sun. 7 p.m. Groomers, Farseek, Snacking, No Legs, Magic Ghrelin
Mon. 8 p.m. "Art Chill Night"
Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor
Sat. 8:30 p.m. South Side Wanderers
Mon. 9 p.m. "Malibu Mondays"
Tues. 9 p.m. Trivia w/ Jessie & Chelsea
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich Genoval
Clubhouse at Mountain View
850 Bear Tavern Road Ewing
Wed. 5:30 p.m. 80's Undercover
125 South Main Street Hightstown
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Painted Young
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Thirsty Thursday" w/ DJ Jimmy Giambrone. Ages 21+ (Ladies free before 10 p.m. w/ college ID)
Fri. 3 p.m. Paradise Happy Hour
Sun. 11 a.m. "Sunday Brunch"
215 West Philadelphia Avenue Morrisville, PA
Wed. 8 p.m. Quizzo
Diamond's of Hamilton
661 Route 33 Hamilton
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Sat. 9 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch" feat. David Dzubinski (8 p.m) Wurl
Sun. 11 a.m. "Sunday Brunch" feat. Keli Vale
Tues. 7 p.m. 90's Trivia
Fedora Bistro Cafe
2633 Main Street Lawrenceville
Wed. 6 p.m. Jerry Monk
116 South Main Street New Hope, PA
Fri. 8 p.m. Asylum Choir
Sat. 9 p.m. Orion
German American Society
215 Uncle Pete's Road Hamilton
Fri. 7 p.m. "Fire Pit Friday"
90 South Main Street New Hope, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Musicians Night Out Hosted by Lovelight
Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night Hosted by Sam Ryan Music
Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia hosted by Duane Dunlevy
Grounds For Sculpture
80 Sculptors way Hamilton
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Sing Along with Sculpture" w/ Seward Johnson
Grover's Mill Coffee House
Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Anker
Hamilton Tap & Grill
557 US Route 130 North Hamilton
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 8 p.m.Trivia Challenge
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Rocky & Friends
Fri. (8 p.m.) Police Tribute w/ "Roxanne." Doors open at 6 p.m., $20 (11 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (8:30 p.m.) Big House. $8 (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sun. (6 p.m.) Somebody Else's Minty Thing. (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Mon. (10 p.m.) "Lipstick Mondays" Drag Show. (12 a.m.) Karaoke
Tues. 8 p.m. Funk 'N' Blues Jam Hosted by Sidewinder Blues Band
Wed. 8 p.m. "Local Original Music Showcase" Hosted by Pat Foran feat. Palmer Jan Wade
Hopewell United Methodist Church
20 Blackwell Avenue Hopewell
Fri. 6:30 p.m. First Friday Open Mic
Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn
15 East Broad Street Hopewell
Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
Thurs. 6 p.m. Karaoke / Open Mic.
Fri. 6 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Bad Hombres
Sat. 6 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Craig Leach & Friends
Sun. 2 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Hazelrigg Brothers
Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill
7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paul Kircher
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula & Sam
Irish Rover Station House
1033 Bellevue Avenue Langhorne, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 9:30 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
Fri. 6 p.m. Bud & Maggs
Sun. 2 p.m. The Fog
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 9 p.m. Blind Lemmon Pie
Sat. 9 p.m. Asylum Choir
All shows 21+
869 Bustleton Pike Richboro, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Ladies Night"
Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia Night
Jimmy's Firestone American Grill
140 Route 130 South Bordentown
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Bar Games and Trivia"
John & Peter's
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa
Sat. 9 p.m. Chris Harford and Band of Changes. $10
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
Thurs. 5 p.m. Joanna Caruso
Fri. (4 p.m.) Roundabout (10 p.m.) DJ Bay Nice
Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Jimmy G
Mon. 7 p.m. "Paint Nite"
Wed. 8 p.m. Drop the Beat Bingo
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
Thurs. 12 p.m. "Laurita's 4th of July Celebration"
Wed. 6 p.m. "Girls Night Out"
10 West Ferry Street New Hope, PA
Sun. 11 a.m. "Jazz Brunch"
572 Klockner Road Hamilton
Wed. 7 p.m. Karaoke
Marcellos Coal Fired Restaurant & Pizza
206 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Sun. 10 a.m. "Blues Brunch"
3535 U.S Highway 1 Princeton (Center Courtyard)
Wed. 6 p.m. "Broadway Duo" Danielle & Jennifer
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Thurs. 10 p.m. "Beer Pong Night"
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Wed. 9 p.m. "Karaoke Time" w/ Kirchner Entertainment
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase
New Jersey WeedMan's Joint
322 East State Street Trenton
Sun. (2 p.m.) "Old School Sunday" (4:20 p.m.) "Sugar Magnolia Sundaze"
Wed. 8 p.m. "420 Game Night"
2043 Route 130 South Florence
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Tuesday w/ Quizoholics
9 Mercer Street Hamilton Square
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. Karaoke w/ Super Dave Curtis
Fri. 9 p.m. Paul Plumeri Blues Band
Sat. 9 p.m. Small Potatoes Band
Old Town Pub
135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Thurs. 8 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia
Fri. 9 p.m. Gypsy Mothe
Old York Cellars
(Quakerbridge Tasting Room)
3320 Brunswick Pike (US Rte 1) Lawrence
Fri. 5 p.m. Bill Shannon
Sat. 4 p.m. Milan Lazistan
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Road Hamilton
Thurs. 8 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21 +
1339 River Road Titusville
Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Sean Cavalier
Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo"
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
Fri. 9:30 p.m. The Suspects
Pj's Pancake House & Tavern
19 Main Street Robbinsville
Fri. 8 p.m. Joe Sweeney & The Dangerous Duo
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Sat. 7:30 p.m. The Ramoms. $10
River Cat Cafe`
142 South Main Street New Hope, PA
Mon. 6 p.m. "Monday Night Jazz"
Robbinsville Community Concert
Town Center Lake Gazebo, Robbinsville
Tues. 7 p.m. Gumbo Gumbas
Salt Creek Grille
1 Rockingham Row Princeton
Fri. 8 p.m. Keith Franklin
Sat. 8 p.m. Tim Brent
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-4377 x2
Sat. 8 p.m. Milan
(Trenton Community Store)
102 South Warren Street Trenton
Sat. 3 p.m. Open Mic
101 Scotch Road Ewing
Fri. 8 p.m. Americana Chickens and Such. $20
Sat. 8 p.m. Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio. $20
Sun. 2 p.m. Contemporary Benefit for Notre Dame Cathedral and The 1867 Sanctuary Sanctuary feat.(4 p.m.) The Trenton Makes Band (5 p.m.) Jerry Monk. FREE event donations accepted
Wed. 8 p.m. Bob Beloff and Scott Hallock
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
Fri. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G
Sat. 10 p.m. Axis w/ Eddie Lambert
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night
5 South State Street Newtown, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. Blues Open Mic Hosted by Steve Guyger
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo
330 Cold Soil Road Princeton
Fri. 5 p.m. "Sips & Sounds Friday" feat. Jerry Steele
Sun. 2 p.m. "Winery Sunday Music Series" feat. "Blueberry Bash"
812 Route 33 Hamilton
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke
The Birdhouse Center For The Arts
7 North Main Street Lambertville
Tues. 7:30 p.m. Not Just Nyckleharpa Orchestra
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. Unleashed
The Cure Insurance Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
Check website for upcoming events
The Deck Restaurant and Bar @ the Bucks County Playhouse
70 South Main street New Hope, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. Ed Wall
34 North Main Street New Hope, PA
Sat. 7 p.m. Seamus Kelleher
Sun. 3 p.m. "Traditional Irish Session" Hosted by Corey Purcell
The Five Four Bar & Grill
8919 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Fri. 9 p.m. The Bambu Weasels and Randy
Wed. 7 p.m. "Lyrical Conundrums" w/ Cara & Righteous
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street Bordentown
Fri. 8 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Tues 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau Street Princeton
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
Fri. (6 p.m.) DJ Darius the 1st (10 p.m.) DJ Bob E Luv
Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Fatha Ramzee
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Pines Tavern
6217 North Radcliffe Street Bristol, PA
Sun. 3 p.m. "Sunday Funday"The Roost
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
Sat. 8 p.m. Tour de Force
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke
The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday" w/ DJ Chillio
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke
The Sycamore Grill
255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA
Thurs. 3 p.m. Rachel and Tyler
Fri. 8 p.m. Stage Left
Sun. 3 p.m. Dan Ward
The Union Firehouse
18 Washington Street Mount Holly
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Local Thursday"
Fri. 4 p.m. Acoustic Happy Hour
Tues. 7:30 p.m. Open Jam w/ Blue Light Digital Sound
Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night Hosted by John & Jerry Monk
All Shows 21+
702 Pine Street Trenton
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic.
Sat. 10 p.m. "Buzzed Saturdays" w/ Bockman
449 South Broad Street Trenton
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Happy Hour" Hosted by Jay Kountree
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night
Triumph Brewing Company
(New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia
Fri.10 p.m. The Burns. $5 (cover charge)
Sat.10 p.m. Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers. $5 (cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage
All shows 21+
Villa Rosa Ristorante & Pizzeria
41 Scotch Road Ewing
Sat. 6 p.m. Grace Field
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock Night
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
Tues. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson
Working Dog Winery
610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown
Sat. 1 p.m. Jerry Steele
Yardley Inn Restaurant & Bar
82 East Afton Avenue Yardley, PA
Sat. 8 p.m. Mike Meade
Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.