Comedian Jay Pharaoh
|Port Chuck, a band comprised of male actors from ABC daytime soap “General Hospital,” played at The Wilbur Theatre Aug. 26, 2011. (Colette Greenstein photo)
|Norm Lewis (Porgy) stands with Dana Parker, special services concierge at Winston Flowers, at the opening night of “Porgy and Bess.” (Colette Greenstein photo)
|Chris Tucker will be in town on Saturday for a comedy show at the Citi Performing Arts Center. (Photo courtesy of MSG Entertainment)
It was my first time seeing Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharaoh and I absolutely loved his impressions! I must admit, I’m a sucker for impressions in general, but Pharaoh’s Denzel was so on point!
I was blown away — from his body movements to his facial expressions, and of course, the voice. If I closed my eyes, I would have thought Denzel was standing right in front of me. His Denzel is just that good and so are his impressions of Will Smith and Chris Tucker. Absolutely uncanny!
Port Chuck at The Wilbur Theatre
Did I ever mention my long-standing obsession with GH (or General Hospital to non-fans)? It goes back to the days of Luke and Laura. Now, if you’re a true soap fan, then you know what I’m talking about.
So, you know I had to go see this show. The crowd of approximately 700 screaming women were beside themselves seeing “Jason,” “Johnny,” “Spinelli” and “Steve” all on stage, live and up close.
The four actors have a band called Port Chuck and they perform around the country doing cover songs by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and others. Between the music and the constant flashing of cameras, you would have thought the Biebs was in the house.
It was campy and just so much fun. Fittingly, the show’s encore was the song “Jessie’s Girl” (a classic 1980s song and one of my all-time faves), by Rick Springfield, who played Dr. Noah Drake on GH back in the day. I was in soap heaven!
‘The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess’ opening night
What a fantastic show! I had never seen a production of ‘Porgy and Bess’ before and had heard snippets about it over the years including the song “Summertime” but never gave it much thought, until I heard it was coming to town a few months ago. I thought it would be a great way to catch it while in was in town and boy, was I right!
I’m so glad I had the chance to go see it. The acting and singing are superb! Led by Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald (you may know as “Naomi” from the ABC show “Private Practice”) and actor Norm Lewis, they brought such life and depth to their respective roles as Bess and Porgy. Plus, they’re supported by a very talented cast including my friend and actor/comedian, David Alan Grier who stars as “Sporting Life.”
He is absolutely perfect in the role and I may be a bit biased but it’s true. After opening night, my friend Dana and I went to the cast party and we got a chance to speak to some of the cast including Phillip Boykin who plays “Crown” in the show.
I told him that when he walked onto the stage for his final bow, I wasn’t sure if I should boo or applaud him because he was so devilishly good in his role. Wilkie Ferguson who was one of the fishermen was sweet as pie and very talented and I can’t forget Norm Lewis, who is a true gentleman and was so gracious. He brings so much depth and emotion to Porgy, whereas in a lesser skilled actor, the character could have been a caricature, and he’s not.
“Porgy and Bess” is “famazing” (my new borrowed word). It’s a great show and you must see it before it moves to Broadway later this year. It’s playing now through Oct. 2nd at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge.
And finally, I had the chance to interview actor and comedian Chris Tucker. Best known for the blockbuster movie franchise “Rush Hour,” opposite Jackie Chan, the Atlanta native rose to fame with his explosive comedy and high-energy appearances on Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam. Tucker returns to his comedic roots with an 18-city tour that hits the Citi Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Sept, 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s a sneak peek of what he’s been up to and what you can expect from the show.
When [Jerry] Seinfeld decided to return to stand-up he wrote all new material and hit the local comedy clubs. How did you prepare for your tour?
I did the same thing. I went back to the clubs and did a lot of soul searching about what I wanted to talk about. You have to dig deep.
How has comedy changed for you?
Comedy is always evolving. You have your set pieces, but it’s still in the moment.
How has the reception been from your fans during the tour?
Every city is different and every crowd is different. All the cities have been great and my fans do miss me. I can feel that and I miss being on stage. It’s been a lot of fun.
It’s been some time we’ve seen you on the big screen. Where have you been? Can you tell me what kind of projects you’re working on?
I’ve been here. I’ve been doing a lot of things … [like] developing projects … [doing] stand-up … I’ve just been focusing on that.
Who makes you laugh?
Regular people make me laugh. I just like to [sit back] and observe.
What can we expect when your tour comes to Boston?
Expect [Tucker pauses] … something you’ve never seen before.
Tickets are still available for Chris Tucker at www.telecharge.com.
This Friday, Sept. 9, Avant and 1990s R&B group Silk perform at The Strand Theatre at 8 p.m.
The Rock the Bells Festival comes to the Comcast Center this Saturday, Sept. 10 featuring Lauryn Hill, Common, Erykah Badu, Nas and more!
The 24th Annual Steppin’ Out for Dimock Gala will be held on Oct. 29 at the Westin Copley Place. Tickets and more information are available at www.steppinoutfordimock.org.
If you would like me to cover or write about your event, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.