I still remember the first time I ever heard “Piano Man;” I thought it was one of the most fascinating songs I’d ever heard, rollicking and melancholy all at the same time, the notes on the piano easily evoking emotion as the lyrics revealed moving stories. Billy Joel’s signature song, written while the music icon was working at a Los Angeles, California piano bar in 1972, remains a favorite almost 50 years later, confirming the rightness of my initial reaction. So, when I learned that Darke County Center for the Arts was presenting a show entitled “Piano Men” on Saturday, March 30 at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville, I was instantly interested; and the more I learned about the show, the more excited I became.
My reaction was apparently shared by many other music fans, as tickets to the upcoming DCCA presentation are almost sold out more than two weeks prior to the performance. How to explain the (well-deserved) excitement surrounding “Piano Men?” Well, one not-yet-mentioned factor about the attraction of the show may be that it also celebrates another piano-playing rock star, Elton John.
Elton John, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, demonstrated a natural affinity for the piano at a very young age, becoming a “piano man” for real in 1962 when at age 15 he worked as a piano player at a local London pub. The familiar litany of his hits beginning in 1970 and continuing to this very day include “Rocket Man,” “Crocodile Rock,” and “Candle In the Wind,” and extend to film and theatrical scores. Elton has earned Oscars and Grammys, and performed with diverse artists Celine Dion, Luciano Pavarotti, Stevie Wonder, and Billy Joel.
Craig A Meyer has throughout his career earned notice for his striking resemblance to Elton John, as well as his uncanny ability to sound like the rock and roll legend. Craig is considered the best Elton John tribute artist touring today, his strong vocals and amazing piano skills easily bringing to mind the days when rock was young. Meyer has created roles on Broadway, toured nationally in “Cats,” “Starlight Express,” and “White Christmas,” and appeared on TV and in movies; his current role generating the character and charisma of Elton John in all his costumed glory is winning accolades from sold-out audiences across the country.
Accomplished actor, singer, and musician Donnie Kehr assumes the persona of Billy Joel in this dynamic concert celebrating two adored giants of popular music. Kehr’s credits include originating roles in award-winning Broadway musicals such as “The Who’s Tommy,” “Billy Elliot” (scored by Elton John, by the way), and “Jersey Boys,” as well as in movie roles including the film version of “Jersey Boys.”
So, picture this: Two pianos facing off on the Memorial Hall stage, played by highly gifted performers accompanied by all-star musicians and backup singers, creating a magical night of unforgettable music! Doesn’t that sound like something to get excited about? Tickets for “Piano Men” cost $25 (half price for students); contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or [email protected] regarding ticket availability for the show, which starts at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.darkecountyarts.org.