The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Does anyone rate The Monkees as a favorite band? I don’t know.
We were always told it was a contrivance, a band put together for a TV show to catch a whiff of that Beatlemania. Don’t take these guys seriously.
I wasn’t in on the first draft of history with The Monkees since Daydream Believer became the No. 1 single the week after I was born – to save you the math, I am 44. Like most of my friends, I got in on the Monkees in syndicated reruns of their sitcom in the late afternoon on UHF stations in the days before cable.
But we watched those reruns, didn’t we? We enjoyed the hijinx and we got to know the band and their songs. Do we just write off Daydream Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone, I’m a Believer, Pleasant Valley Sunday and, of course, (Theme from) The Monkees? Sometimes, people are given an opportunity, and they do a lot with it.
It is sad to say that often you really don’t know how much some people meant until they are gone, and that is some of what I see today as I log on to Facebook and see friends taking a moment to remember The Monkees’ ever youthful frontman, Davy Jones, who died of a massive heart attack at age 66. The tributes may not be Beatle-esque, but they are heartfelt, coming from people who sang the songs, enjoyed the shows, and some who even developed a crush on the singer who first caught attention in productions of Oliver! as the Artful Dodger.
Jones passed away after doing something many Kentuckians can appreciate: visiting with his horses in Florida. And now, the songs keep running in my mind off that copy of More of the Monkees I bought at a garage sale when I was in junior high school – an album I realized both me and my wife owned the first time I went to her apartment.
Yes, the Monkees were not formed under the most rock ‘n’ roll of circumstances. But the songs endure, and sometimes I think this world would be better if we lived by a line from their theme song:
“We’re too busy singing, to put anybody down.”
The Rep musical theater, which made its debut in December with the original show Smackdown for the Christmas Crown at the Lyric Theatre, has announced its second production: Bye Bye Birdie Aug. 3-5 at the Lexington Opera House.
The show has special significance to co-artistic director Robyn Peterman-Zahn and executive producer Steve Zahn, who met on a national tour of Bye Bye Birdie in the early 1990s and married in 1994. The musical is based on the time when Elvis Presley received his draft notice into the Army in 1957.
The Rep was formed after the dissolution of Paragon Music Theatre, following the departure of music and executive director Ryan Shirar to accept a prestigious scholarship at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Paragon stage director Peterman-Zahn and choreographer Diana Evans Pulliam formed the core of the company with Zahn, a versatile film actor, coming on board. Pulliam is co-artistic director of The Rep.
Paragon’s most successful show was a summer 2010 production of The Sound of Music at the Opera House, so The Rep directors were excited to get back there for a summer musical. Auditions are at 8 p.m. March 19-21 at Diana Evans School of Dance.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich