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Aiken Performing Arts opens season with ‘One Night in Memphis’

September 23, 2018

Aiken Performing Arts, or APA, will open its 2018-19 season with a flashback to the 1950s.

“One Night in Memphis: The Music of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash” is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27-28 at the AECOM Center for the Performing Arts at 126 Newberry St. S.W.

The musical is “a high-energy concert that takes you back to Dec. 4, 1956, the night when four of the biggest names in early rock and roll – Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash – gathered together for an impromptu jam session at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis,” according to APA’s website

The performance will feature rockabilly, country, gospel and “pure” 1950s rock’n’roll.

“APA is thrilled to bring this iconic music to Aiken,” said Cathy Traver, the arts administrator for APA, in an email. “Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash were trailblazers and gave us some of the most famous songs of all time. We know every word! Young or old, this will be a night to remember, just like the night the four stars jammed at Sun Studios in 1956.”

The cast of “One Nigh in Memphis” will present an educational outreach program for local school children Sept. 28.

Ethan Bortnick

Ethan Bortnick – an American pianist, singer, composer, songwriter, actor and musician – will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8-9. Recognized by the Guinness World Records as “The World’s Youngest Solo Musician to Head-line His Own Concert Tour,” Bortnick has performed around the world, according to his website.

He has appeared on PBS specials and other national television shows, including multiple appearances on “The Tonight Show,” with Jay Leno; “Good Morning America”; and “Oprah,” on which he was named one of Oprah’s All Time Smartest, Most Talented Kids.

Bortnick has the ability to hear a song once and play it back note for note – the musical equivalent of a photographic memory, according to his website.

Masters of Soul

The Masters of Soul will celebrate “the legendary songs and performers that defined Motown and soul music” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2019, according to APA’s website. The show will feature “stylishly costumed, fully choreographed performances of both male and female groups backed by a live band,” according to the site.

Helen Welch

England-born Helen Welch, a Grammy-nominated vocalist, entertainer, producer and band leader, will headline “Superstate: The Songs … The Stories … The Carpenters” at 7:30 p.m. March 28-29.

Richard Carpenter, the brother and musical partner of the late Karen Carpenter, gave Welch his blessing to bring the show to life, according to APA’s website.

The performance is not a tribute act but “a one-of-a-kind docu-musical featuring world-class musicians, fresh arrangements and fascinating and rare back-stage stories about the number one selling act of the 1970’s – The Carpenters,” according to the site.

Ultimate Eagles Experience

7 Bridges: The Ultimate Eagles Experience will present “a stunningly accurate” tribute to the music of The Eagles at 7:30 p.m. May 2-3, 2019, according to APA’s website.

Using no backing tracks or harmonizers, 7 Bridges will re-create the experience of an Eagles concert from the band’s most prolific period with some Don Henley and Joe Walsh surprises sprinkled into the mix, according to the site.

For more information and tickets, visit www.apagonline.org.

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