Buddy Holly Unplugged.

13524394_1210328419001105_9053302471883597078_nIn a couple weeks I’ll be taking the stage at Crown Centre in Kansas City to perform in A Night On the Town Cabaret series at Musical Theatre Heritage.  The three night stand will explore some highlights from my stage career including Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Phil Ochs as well as share some of my own stories and songs. Think Buddy Holly/Zachary Stevenson unplugged.

For tickets and more info, please visit http://www.musicaltheaterheritage.com/

Buddy Holly at the Grand Theatre

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“Stevenson is so comfortable, so focused and so believable as Holly, lovers of rock ’n roll, music history or Buddy Holly should run to buy tickets. He’s that good.” – Joe Belanger, London Free Press

Thank you, Joe.  Buddy “rave’s on” in London, On until May 7th.  The LFP also gave us a 4/4 star review calling it a “must-see show that will not disappoint”.  Get your tickets NOW!

Enchantment Under the Sea Dance in KC

If you’re in Kansas City this Valentine’s Day there is only one place to be: The Living Room!

Enchantment

Inspired by Back to the Future, the Living Room’s Enchantment Under the Sea Dance will be rockin’ all the way back to the 50s this coming Valentine’s Day. Featuring live music to twist, hop, and jive to from Zachary Stevenson & the Satellites, there will be everything you loved about your high school dances with none of the stuff you hated. Dancing? Yes. Spiked punch? You bet. A crowned King and Queen? Absolutely. Throwing up in the bathroom? We sure hope not. So put your dancing shoes on and leave the “heavy” stuff behind. It’s your density.

Specializing in 50s and 60s pop, Zachary Stevenson has rocked his retro stylings in sold out theatres across North America for the past decade. You’ll hear the best of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Richie Valens, Eddie Cochran, The Everly Brothers, Elvis – and more.

Before Zach and the Satellites, you’ll see “The Love Birds” AKA “A La Mode,” an authentic jazz band built upon Kansas City’s rich heritage of swing and blues.

”A La Mode builds upon that heritage and adds their own playful spin that is classic-meets-contemporary. Led by classically trained guitarist Clayton DeLong and enchanting songstress Jesica Poell, A La Mode takes the authentic smooth, bluesy and improvisational Kansas City jazz style and blends it with Latin, French and Gypsy Jazz.”,”You’ll think you have been transported back in time”- -The Record KC Magazine. A La Mode performs all of the old favorite jazz standards along side a few modern tunes with jazz flavor.

Tickets $20
February 14th
Doors open at 7pm
Zachary Stevenson and the Satellites at 8pm
Period or contemporary dress.

Back to ’59

B&W Buddy

I just want to give a quick thanks to Pete Paquette and everyone at Paquette Productions for a wonderful experience on my first tour in Ontario in several years.  The photo above was shot backstage in Chatham, ON.  The following three weeks will see me and the stellar cast of Class of ’59 touring Alberta and BC.  Check the sidebar for ticket info and dates.  Hope to see you there!*

*Please note: we are not selling any merchandise on this tour. If you are interested in purchasing a CD please visit my STORE.

And it burns, burns, burns: The Ring of Fire!

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Ring of Fire: Project Johnny Cash opens tomorrow night.  This dramatized tribute to the late, great Johnny Cash features a cast that really lights up the stage.  Chemainus audiences are in for special treat with the debut of Jonas Shandel as young Cash and Tim Brummund as the “Man in Black” (as he called himself in later years).  Both performers capture the spirit of Johnny with grace, reverence and powerful musicality.  Samantha Currie‘s June is spot on. As Johnny would say, “she is beautiful and she is funny!”  To top it all off I got to assemble my dream band to join me on guitar: Kraig Waye on Bass and Scott Carmichael on drums, with Mark MacRae and Andrea Cross rounding out the ensemble playing every instrument that we could throw at them.  I’m so very proud to make my debut as Musical Director with such a talented cast, crew, and creative team. I’m really looking forward keeping the fire burning at the Chemainus Festival Theatre from now through April 11!

Get your tickets here.

Hey you coastal cats – from Vancouver to St. John’s!

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It seemed I had no sooner taken my final bow on Granville Island that I was boarding an Air Canada flight to the furthest reaches of our country.  All summer we honoured the legacy of one of the most important icons of west coast – Red Robinson.  What better time to honour my own family’s legacy on the east coast by tracing our ancestral roots in Newfoundland.

In Elliston, NL

It’s easy to forget just how vast and expansive our country really is.  We’re closer to Paris than Vancouver pictured here in Elliston, NL.

Along with my mom and siblings, we worked our way up the coast from St. John’s to a the small, fishing village of Elliston where we met some distant relatives and saw some ancestral homes.  We payed tribute to one of our relatives, William Oldford who perished in the great Sealing disaster of 1914 by visiting memorial site and the Sealer’s Museum.

Mom in Bonavista

We saw some gorgeous coastal vistas in Bonavista; took a “Rugged Beauty Boat Tour” with Newfoundland’s “Bill Murray” a.k.a. Bruce in New Bonaventure and finally, danced a jig in a bar on George St. in St. John’s.

Rugged Beauty Boat Tour

Now I’ve left my coastal Newfoundland for the prairies in the heart of America, rooting on the Royals and trading Cod for BBQ here in Kansas City!

While here, I’m preparing with my crazy little woman, Molly D, to make our return to the west coast this October t0 play with “the Beatles” (Fab Fourever) on Vancouver Island.

Oct 9 - Sydney Oct 10 - Nanaimo Oct. 11 - Duncan

See you then!

Z

 

Good Rockin’ Tonight!

The Arts Club’s Red Rock Diner is now rockin’ Granville Island Stage until August 2nd.  It is a time capsule of 1950s Vancouver and explores the legacy of Red Robinson. I play Val, the greaser kid from Kitsilano who idolizes Elvis, sings and wiggles his hips.  I’m very proud of this show and the team that put it together.  Get your tickets soon before they are all sold out!

 

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City!

They’ve gone about as far as they could go…  Seriously, with this production.  I think they have.

Yes.  I am here in smolderin’ Kansas City where everyone teases me about (I mean… abowt) my little Canadian-isms.  I look at the weather in awe that it’ll be 37 degrees on Friday!  Which to Americans sounds like a frozen Canadian Christmas.

I am truly grateful to be here.  The staff at the theatre have been tremendously hospitable and the cast is overloaded with talent and energy.  The production value is second to none and the audiences are as enthusiastic as ever.  After logging hundreds of performances in Canada, it’s exciting to be closer to the source.  Kansas City is only a few hours from Clear Lake, IO where Buddy played his last show.

Zachary Stevenson Buddy Holly Kansas City Missouri
Taking Buddy to new heights in rehearsal

Fun fact:  When I was a shy, ninth-grader, my sister insisted I audition for the high school musical.  I fought off some serious nerves and flubbed my way through some kind of 90s grunge rock song.  Haha.  I think it was Nirvana.  Somehow some potential was revealed and I was cast as Will Parker in Oklahoma!  “Kansas City” was the first song I ever sang for a theatre audience.  Little did I know I had cut the first branch, carving a path for myself as a stage actor that has taken me all over Canada and, now, into the US.

I still recall some of the lyrics:

“I got to Kansas City on a Frid’y, by Saturday a learned a thing or two,

for up to then I didn’t have an I’dy of what the modern world was comin’ to

I counted 20 gas buggies goin’ by themselves almost everytime I took a walk.  

And then I put my ear to a Bell telephone and a strange woman started in to talk”

And I swear, it’s even more up-to-date then the song suggests 😉

Stampede Queen in Cowichan News Leader

Stampede queen targets the culture of small town B.C.

(Photo By David Cooper)

Zachary Stevenson steps away from his recent stint as Chemainus Theatre’s Buddy Holly to star in Never Shoot a Stampede Queen

An actor with roots in a small community taking his first run at a show based on a quirky small town shared on a stage in a community with that very same kind of feel.

It makes perfect sense to starring actor Zachary Stevenson.

Stevenson plays the lead role in his first performance in a three-night run of Never Shoot a Stampede Queen at the Duncan Garage Showroom starting May 3.

The former Parksville homeboy, Stevenson who now resides in Vancouver, is pretty pumped about leading this one-man show based on Mark Leiren-Young’s book and directed by TJ Dawe, and which follows rookie reporter (based on Leiren Young) tackling his first post at a small paper in Williams Lake.

Stevenson, who’s become quite accustomed to sporting cool, black-rimmed, coke-bottle glasses in his depiction of the great Buddy Holly for the Chemainus Theatre Festival Inn’s run, is now transitioning roles to a hick-town reporter.

“The crux of the story is it’s really a tale about growing up,” said Stevenson, 32. “He’s fresh out of university, in his early 20s, and he think he knows everything. He’s got it all figured out and he’s going to do some real damage in his first real job.

“It’s a comedy and it’s really quite funny actually,” said Stevenson, noting the name of the solo show is based on one of many debacles the reporter finds himself in, and that particular one him being assigned to shoot the town’s batch of Stampede Queen contestants, very much like Lake Cowichan’s Lady of the Lake contest.

“Williams Lake is known for their Stampede Queens,” explained Stevenson. “The girls there all aspire to be the queen. And it’s kind of like a joke on him when he’s assigned to shoot photos of all the girls and do profiles. It’s one of the many situations he finds himself in where he’s not quite understanding the culture.”

Stampede Queen may have its share of comical points, but the story also takes a more serious turn.

“It’s a comedy, but it does run deeper than that,” said Stevenson. “He sort of grows up a little. When he does eventually make his way back to Vancouver, he’s really become a bigger person.”

That rings bells for Stevenson.

I grew up in Parksville, so I’m a small-town kind of guy,” he said. “I live in Vancouver now and I’ve lived in Toronto as well. But I will always prefer living in a small town. That’s my eventual goal, to move back to the Island.”

The Duncan Garage Showroom couldn’t have been a better fit for Stampede Queen.

“Zachary is a rock star on Vancouver Island. I mean, he’s a rock star everywhere,” said Leiren-Young in an email. “He’s just coming off a sold out run of Buddy Holly in Chemainus, so when this came up it was pretty much perfect.

“This gives Zachary the chance to run the show before it arrives in Vancouver, but the goal of this show is to tour, a lot, especially in BC. So we’re hoping to bring the show back to Vancouver Island again soon. We’d love to bring it in for a run in Chemainus, Duncan, Victoria, one-nighters all over the island.

“This is a show about discovering rural B.C. and we all think it’s really going to hit a very special chord outside of the big cities.”

Stevenson, an accomplishes singer, song-writer, actor and multi-instrumentalist, has been skyping with with Vancouver-based writer/performer, film-maker Leiren-Young on sounding out Stampede’s script.

“It was different, that’s for sure,” Stevenson said of the preliminary phase Skype session with Leiren-Young. “Mark was really just listening to me read, and it was really about making sure the intentions, voices, meanings were right. The physical stuff comes a little bit later on.”

The Stevenson, Leiren-Young and Dawe, all Vancouver-based boys, make for a dream team, or “a force not to be reckoned with,” all having very different but at the same time similar backgrounds.

Stevenson has also starred in Urinetown, Assassins, Hair, Hanks Williams: The Show He Never Gave, and The Ballad of Phil Ochs.

Dawes is known on the scene for play Toothpaste & Cigars (co-written with Mike Rinaldi) which has recently wrapped shooting as a feature film titled The F Word, starring Harry Potter sensation Daniel Radcliffe.

He also directed and co-created The One Man Star Wars Trilogy and One Man Lord of the Rings with Charlie Ross, both of which have been touring the world since they debuted in 2002 and 2004.

Leiren-Young isn’t shy of credits either.

His resume includes plays Easy Money and The Year in Revue, as well as Shylock, which has been staged all over North America.

What: Never Shoot a Stampede Queen

Who: Starring Zachary Stevenson, Directed by TJ Dawe and written by Mark Leiren-Young

When: May 3,4, 5, nightly at 8 p.m.

Where: Duncan Garage Showroom

Why:  The island premiere of what is sure to be a hit show across the country!

Tickets: $18 advance $15 door

My biggest, little fan.

Acting and performing is a rewarding but often exhausting profession.  At the end of the run of the Buddy Holly Story, my muscles protested and my brain needed new batteries.  On that particular closing night, I had picked up my girlfriend early from the airport; I had flown to Victoria and back for an emergency a day before, it was the end of a long week at the end of a long run.

After I had greeted the audience in the lobby at the CDs table as per usual, the cast gathered in the lobby for a toast and some words of congratulations.  The crew began to tear down the set and we gathered our loose ends in the dressing rooms.  Mine was particularly bad.  At my station: hair sprays and brylcream, multiple pairs of glasses, greeting cards, towels, flowers, LPs, tonnes of coins and my “little Buddy” figurine.  On top of this, I had boxes of remaining CDs and my guitar to pick up.

With arms loaded with the aforementioned articles, my gal and I seized the opportunity to flag down a taxi at first sight.  We loaded in, loaded out at my apartment and took a nap.   There was just one thing- amidst the chaos I completely forgot that Bill (director) had asked me to meet a young fan in the lobby that had brought his guitar to sign!   By the time I remembered, it was hours later and too late.  I felt horrible.

Fortunately, everyone behind the scenes at the Arts Club were happy to help me try to amend the situation.  They were able to track down a phone number.  I called and got the young lads mom, Hiromi, on the line.  We set a time to meet outside the Stanley Theatre.


Meet Lance!   Turns out, he’s my number one fan!  He saw the show back in 2010 and has been a big fan ever since.  He even got a super-cool, Fender guitar only made in Japan that looks like Buddy’s Strat, only Lance-sized!  I was finally able to put my name on it.  I tuned it up and we jammed a little of “Rave On” on the street.  They were very gracious and even made me a custom “Buddy” bottle of wine!

I recently got to enjoy the Buddy wine at a romantic dinner.   Delicious.  It prompted me to write this little thank you note to Lance and his mom.  It’s for people like you that I do what I do.  Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift and for your appreciation of my performance.  And, Lance, next time I see you – I wanna see YOU rockin’ out Rave On on that sweet guitar!

Your Buddy,

Zach

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