Theater owner Hanney plants his flag on The Cape

Bill Hanney, the producer of the new Cape Cod Live Concert Series, at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center. Photo: Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times

HYANNIS — One of the busiest men in the theater business has decided to add another hat.

Bill Hanney, the award-winning owner-producer of the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly and Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck, RI, will launch a five-show series this summer called Bill Hanney’s Cape Live Concert Series at the 1400-seat Barnstable Performing Arts Center.

“I guess I was getting a little bored,” laughed Hanney during a recent phone interview.

Hanney said he has been trying to get a foothold on Cape Cod in the summer for about 12 years, but negotiations didn’t work out until recently. Now he has such a foothold, and if this summer’s test run is a success, he expects it to pave the way for bringing in full stage shows from his Theatre by the Sea next summer.

He said the Arts Center at 744 West Main St. in Hyannis  is a comfortable air-conditioned venue, large enough that it allows him to keep prices reasonable.

“There’s one million people on Cape Cod in the summer and this just makes sense,” he said.

The summer schedule includes:

  • July 13 Broadway Spotlight. a new concert event created exclusively for this BPAC show Produced and hosted by New York Casting Director Stephen DeAngelis, five of Broadway’s finest vocalists will recreate some of their most memorable and favorite musical moments as they celebrate the spectrum from classic to contemporary Broadway.
  • July 20 Harvey Robbins will present his Royalty of Doo-Wopp Concert. Experience classic hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s: Starring Shirley Reeves, original lead singer of The Shirelles; The Marcels; The Jackie Wilson Show with international star and son, Bobby Brooks Wilson; and Tony Funches, former long-time lead of Herb Reed’s Platters.
  • July 27 Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show! They were style with substance, swing with swagger, and everyone wanted a piece of their non-stop party. Experience the timeless charm of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joey Bishop in Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show, the most successful live theatrical production of its kind. Priding itself on its uniqueness and originality, this show makes you laugh, cry, and leaves you wanting more! 
  • August 3 Dance To The Movies starring celebrity guest, Lesley Ann Warren, from the beloved 1965 TV movie Cinderella! Miss Warren will be joined by Dancing with the Stars Celebrity Pros including Anna Trebunskaya and Tristan MacManus performing with finalists from So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol’s Von Smith! It’s Hollywood’s best musical moments – celebrated and reinvented live, on stage with dances from movies like West Side Story, Grease, Chicago, and Moulin Rouge and with new, stunning dances to scores from such movies as Singin’ In The Rain, Titanic, The Matrix and Willy Wonka.
  • August 10 Bill Hanney’s Cape Live Concert Series closes out with An Evening with The Celebrity Housewives! Are you ready for the ultimate ladies’ night out? Enjoy this intimate, fun-filled evening with some of your favorite Television Housewives from New York and New Jersey — onstage live in person! The night will feature three dazzling Housewives – Teresa Giudice, Margaret Josephs, and Sonja Morgan, with special guest host, Tricia Leigh Fisher, talking all about their sensational personal lives, cherished families, amazing businesses, and how fame has changed their lives forever.

“We’re excited by this,” said Hanney. “We’ve begun a big advertising campaign and I see this as my future.”

Bill Hanney, left and Harvey Robbins, right, will team up to present The Royalty of Doo-Wopp Concert as part of the Cape Cod Live Concert Series. Photo: Steve Richard

Robbins’ Doo-Wopp  Concert is one of many the promoter has put together through the years. He was a singer himself in the talent shows at the former Roxbury Memorial High and has been known to still take the stage today and even bust a dance move or two. Robbins long ago decided to add an extra “p” to the name of the musical genre so it wouldn’t coincide with an ethnic slur.

The former sportswriter worked with retired Celtic legend Dave Cowens, a close friend, to help save the Prowse Farm in Canton – he is still involved with the farm —  and later got involved in promoting fund-raising concerts for the New England Sports Museum, which Cowens was also involved with. Robbins came up with a show featuring Hall of Famers Roy Orbison and Bo Diddley that sold out Symphony Hall in 1984.

Later, after Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme pulled out of a gig at the Cape Cod Melody Tent, Robbins was asked if he could come up with a replacement show, and in four weeks time he came up with a Doo-wopp show that sold 1500 seats in August of 1985. He was off and running.

Many of Robbins’ concerts have been held in Symphony Hall but now his venue of choice is Hanney’s North Shore Music Theater, where he’ll have his Doo-Wopp Hall of Fame Concert and Induction Ceremony on Oct. 13. He held the first Hall of Fame concert at Symphony Hall in 2000.

“They’re very humble and down-to-earth people,” said Robbins about the stars of the 50s, 60s and 70s he works with.   “They’re grateful and very emotional at being able to perform for their audiences again.”

He’s been around long enough he’s now working with the sons of legends, such as Bobby Brooks Wilson, son of Jackie Wilson, and Ron McPhatter, son of the legendary Clyde McPhatter.

He created the Doo-Wopp Hall of Fame of America in 2001 to give some additional recognition  to the legends he grew up with.

Robbins is also promoting the Sept. 8 Superstars of Vegas at NSMT on Sept. 8 featuring tributes to such stars as Liberace, Sammy Davis Jr,. Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

Barnstable Performing Arts Center (BPAC) is located at 744 West Main Street in Hyannis, MA.  BPAC is air conditioned and has plenty of free parking on site.  For more information and tickets, please visit, or, call 855-577-LIVE.