Woodstock to Waltham: Sha Na Na at Reagle Sat.
WALTHAM – Yes, like everyone else in the Northeast who was in their late teens at the time, I almost went to Woodstock in 1969.
And like everyone else, I might have been scratching my head when the good-time Doo Wop group Sha Na Na took the stage.
But the former a capella singing group from Columbia University were a surprise hit, perhaps because they were so different from the 31 other mostly grittier acts that filled the stage at the famed Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969.
Sha Na Na performed a 35-minute set just before guitarist Jimi Hendrix closed the three-day festival with his electrifying reinterpretation of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Unlike more grittier acts that appeared at Woodstock, Sha Na Na was a throwback to more innocent times. Yet their unique combination of talent and flair got them noticed at Woodstock and earned them their first recording contract.
Saturday, Sept. 22, the Woodstock veterans return to the area to kick off the Reagle Music Theatre’s fall concert series 2 p.m. in the Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham.
|Quincy native John “Jocko” Marcellino leads
Sha Na Nan into Waltam Saturday/
Original band members Jocko Marcellino, a Quincy native who also has Milton connections, Donny York, and Screamin’ Scott Simon lead the seven-member band in a performance that is part concert, part song and dance party and that according to the release “should have audience members of all ages twisting, strolling, and hand jiving in the aisles.”
Trust me, folks, You don’t want to see this Baby Boomer hand-jiving’. Audience members also get involved during a sing-along, a dance contest, and the hilarious “Greaser Olympics.”
“Sha Na Na has become synonymous with vintage rock ’n’ roll,” says Robert Eagle, producing artistic director of Reagle Music Theatre. “Their outstanding musicianship, extraordinary harmonies, and free-wheeling theatrical style simultaneously celebrate and spoof the great era of the 1950s.”
Original members Marcellino, York and Simon have been leading the group since Woodstock and still going strong.
Sha Na Na rode the Woodstock wave through the film documentary “Woodstock” and the movie musical “Grease,” and then the group had its own syndicated show, also called Sha Na Na, from 1977 to 1981.
Other current band members are Tim Butler, vocals, bass and guitar; Paulie Kimbarow, vocals, drums; Randy Hill, vocals, guitar; and “Downtown” Michael Brown, saxophone.
The parade of classic hits Saturday will include “At the Hop,” “Peppermint Twist,” “Tequila,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Come Go with Me,” “Sandy,” “Hand Jive,” “Get a Job,” “Lucille,” and “In the Still of the Night.”
If you go, beware the Boomers dancing in the aisles.
Sha Na Na, tickets $35, $38, $43 and $50 for adults. Seniors (60+) receive $3 off adult prices. Youth tickets (ages 5-18) are $20 for any seat. Student rush seats at 50 percent off are available at the Box Office one hour before curtain; a valid college ID is required. For groups of 10 or more, call 781-894-2330 or 781-891-5600. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 781-891-5600 or in person at the Box Office during regular business hours, Mondays through Fridays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and performance days 9 a.m. to curtain. Tickets may also be purchased online anytime at http://www.reaglemusictheatre.org.