A Really Big Show Arriving in Boyne City. Literally.
By Kristi Kates | May 20, 2017
Ed Sullivan is perhaps most famously known in music circles for having introduced The Beatles to American television audiences in 1964 with the simple phrase “Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!”
He also called Elvis Presley “a very nice person,” told rock band The Doors that they were great but ought to smile a little more, and said about Michael Jackson, when Jackson was performing with his brothers in The Jackson Five, “That little fella in the front is incredible!”
That hometown innocence is perhaps a big part of why the Boyne Country Community Center has chosen to sponsor a recreation of Sullivan’s variety show as a local fundraiser, with a combination of friendly small-town emceeing and a roster of tribute acts that are set to bring back the sounds and visuals of some famous musical celebrities.
Another reason, according to Jim White, president of the non-profit Boyne Country Community Center, is the simple fact that the venue where the show will be held, the Boyne City Performing Arts Center (aka, the PAC), is currently being underused. White would like to see the city make better use of the well-appointed space with bigger shows. The venue features a large stage, well-pitched seating, backstage dressing rooms, a green room, an afterglow area, a large scene shop, digital projection, and live video feed availability from the stage to the green room.
“The PAC is so great, and it seats 620 people — if it was in a bigger town like Traverse City, it would be busy every weekend!” White said. “Right now, it’s only being used for the Footliters’ plays, the firemen’s show once a year, and graduation ceremonies.”
Booking larger events into the PAC, like the one they’ve dubbed Ed Sullivan’s Really Big Show, is a start. Funds from this show will go toward renovating the Boyne Country Community Center’s own building, a second facility in Boyne City that’s sometimes overlooked for different reasons: It’s in need of improvements.
“It’s a 60-year-old building, so we want to upgrade its facilities and accessibility,” White explained.
To draw a big audience to the PAC, the Community Center worked with a talent agency from Toronto, Canada, that offers a full Ed Sullivan tribute show, with an actor portraying host Ed Sullivan, and celebrity performers taking on the roles of various musicians.
There was a snag in the plan, however: Turned out, the Canadian Ed Sullivan doesn’t have clearance to perform in the U.S., so local realtor and sometime actor Marty Moody will save the show and step into Ed’s shoes for this special event.
“Everybody knows Marty around here,” White said. “He’s always been involved in the local plays, and he and his whole family watched the Ed Sullivan show when he was a kid.”
Moody, who jokingly said he agreed to take the role simply because “a phone call from Jim will do it every time,” said he’s been preparing by watching a lot of old Ed Sullivan show episodes as well as some other variety show footage from the ’60s and ’70s.
“That’s really all we had to watch when I was growing up,” Moody said. “Milton Berle, The Colgate Comedy Hour, Sonny and Cher. Ed’s actually a pretty stiff host, so there’s not a lot of character to work on as far as portraying him! But we’ll interject some fun into it. And he pretty much just wore a regular suit on stage, so costuming is easy.”
The rest of the award-winning cast, who will be traveling in from Canada, will arrive in Boyne City the day of the show and are sure to turn a few heads.
The show’s lineup will include one-named actress Kara portraying ’70s singer Cher; Doug Varty as English rock singer Rod Stewart, who enjoyed hits throughout the ’70s and ’80s; Dave La Fame as campy Las Vegas lounge performer Tom Jones; and yet another musician/actor portraying the classic ’50s/’60s crooner singer Roy Orbison.
Each performer will be backed by a six-person band and two backup singers. All music will be performed live with no backing tracks or pre-recorded music. And a special fifth performer, a current pop diva who’s being left unnamed until showtime, is sure to draw out the local paparazzi once people find out who she is.
“We picked these four tribute performers specifically,” White said. “The show itself will be set in the 1960s, when Ed’s original show took place, and we’re hoping that the combination of these particular acts for the younger folks — and Ed for the older generation — will draw a really diverse crowd.”
Ed Sullivan’s Really Big Show will take place at 8pm on May 27 at the Boyne City Performing Arts Center in Boyne City. All seats are reservation-only. For tickets and more information, visit www.boynecc.com or call (231) 582-6532.