Imagine the ups and downs of life and love playing out to classic rock songs from the 1960s and ’70s.
Harley Hay’s latest creative effort, The Time Machine, A Retro Rock &Roll Revue: A Love Story melds golden oldies music with a fresh love story. The locally conceived stage show promises to be one part nostalgia show and one part tour-de-force rock musical when it launches on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Scott Block theatre in downtown Red Deer.
It involves live performances by local musicians, singers and actors and a loose story line about a guy and a girl whose fates romantically intertwine.
Stage lights will come up on two solitary people (cue: I’m Just a Lonely Guy by Little Richard, One by Three Dog Night, Can’t Get No Satisfaction— by the Rolling Stones).
The two singletons eventually meet and feel emotional fireworks (cue the hot and heavy beat of Come On Baby Light My Fire by The Doors).
They gradually open their hearts to each other and fall in loooove (You’re The One That I Want from the musical Grease and a whole ream of other sappy songs).
But there are bumps in their road (R.E.S.P.E.C.T. by Aretha Franklin), and they go through a painful breakup to the strains of Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac.
Up the classic song count to 28 tunes in total, add some narration to explain the story line, and you get the idea.
Hay, who previously produced a local musical based on the Blues Brothers, came up with this idea for a retro musical — eventually.
Initially, he was planning a whole different kind of “mash-up” concert of his favourite songs from 1965 to 1975. It would have been presented by somebody playing Ed Sullivan, choosing songs from a jukebox.
But the more Hay listened to lyrics by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Supremes, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, James Taylor, Carole King, Jefferson Airplane and others songwriters from the era, the more he saw a story line emerging.
The rock classic songs are all about people longing for love, finding love and losing love. Hay thought of Across the Universe, a film created around music by The Beatles, and figured, here’s another great soundtrack for a love story. Plans for The Time Machine began about a year ago. As producer and director, he began signing on his picks of local talent.
Powerhouse vocalist Kayla Williams from The Dirrty Show and Josh Baynes from the local band Oldbury will be playing the lead singers/star-crossed lovers.
Ryan Marchant from The KlamDaggers will narrate, and Michelle Colby and Laren Steppler will perform as the groovy, swinging backup singers.
Hay put together a six-piece all-star band of local musicians, and also signed on music director Morgan McKee and choreographer Lisa Nixon.
As a filmmaker, he created a video backdrop to help immerse the audience in the flower-power era. Folks will recognize some faces — including furry ones from Sesame Street. “There will be some little fun clips,” promised Hay. A disco dance floor will be available for anyone in the audience who wants to boogie during the show.
“Will there be dancers? I hope so,” added Hay, who will be playing drums for the show, alongside his longtime friend and organist Dave Parfett, his fellow bandmate in the early ’70s in the Gaetz Avenue Band.
Other musicians in the show are McKee on sax, Scott Wiber on bass, Jeremy Doody on lead guitar, and Rob Goodwin also on drums and percussion.
Hay believes the The Time Machine will be a real blast for everyone who lived through the era, as well as younger people who love its music and wish they did.
The Time Machine is being presented by Bull Skit until Nov. 12. Tickets are available from bullskitcomedy.com. (All veterans can get their tickets for half price on Nov. 11.)