It may not be the Palace Hotel Ballroom, but the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center will soon be transformed into a house of blues, Blues Brothers that is.
Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi portrayed Elwood and Jake Blues in the film “The Blues Brothers,” which was released in 1980.
The Official Blues Brothers Revue, featuring Wayne Catania as Jake and Kieron Lafferty as Elwood, will be performing at
7:30 March 6 at the arts center located at 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.
The revue pays homage to Chicago’s rich history of blues, soul music and gospel in the spirit of the original Blues Brothers.
The show is produced by Judy Belushi Pisano, John Belushi’s widow, and Dan Aykroyd, who collaborated with musical director Paul Shaffer, who has been David Letterman’s musical director, band leader and sidekick since 1982.
“Our show is a live concert that is true to the music and mayhem that Jake & Elwood bring to the stage,” Catania said. “We do all our own singing and Kieron also is a very talented harmonica player.
He said when the signature fedora hats and sunglasses glasses go on, Jake and Elwood take over.
“I don’t consciously think about it, it just happens,” Catania said. “I believe the excitement and energy that our audiences have is the fuel that drives us. The energy exchange is reciprocal.”
Fans won’t be disappointed as the pair reprises all the hits from the movie, including “Soul Man,” “Rubber Biscuit,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Rawhide” and “Gimme Some Lovin’.”
Lafferty called all the songs showstoppers, with each having a soulful appeal.
“‘Minnie the Moocher’ is a crowd favorite and the classic Delbert McClinton rocker ‘B Movie Boxcar Blues’ gets a great response,” Lafferty said, “We might pull something out of the archives like Wayne Cochran’s ‘Going Back To Miami’ or The Contour’s ‘Do Ya Love Me’.”
The performers have been working together with Belushi’s widow and Aykroyd for the past 10 years, soaking up their knowledge of a Blues Brothers performance.
“We have been able to get an insight into how these guys think, their make-up, how they would react,” Lafferty said. “We’ve talked to Dan on several occasions about the Blues Brothers conception and influences, all of that information provides a good compass point on how to approach these characters.”
The men have performed in Chicago and was greeted with acclaim. The largest audience they have performed for was 55,000 fans at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, N.M.
The audience plays a major role in their show and audience interaction is welcomed.
“We don’t force it, but we do encourage them to sing, dance, get up on the good foot,” Lafferty said “No twerking in the front row please.”
Both men agree the show suitable for all ages often seeing three generations of families in the audience.
“These are the kind of characters that translate from one generation to another because there’s something appealing about their dysfunctional sociopathic tendencies and their dedication to the music,” Lafferty said.
Catania’s goal is to have the audience leave feeling more connected with the music and the artist who originally wrote it.
“Although these songs were written in a simpler time the positive message and energy they convey still applies today,” he said.
Catania and Lafferty are touring in support of their new CD titled “True Blue.”
“It was recorded live In Joliet, Ill., at the historic Rialto Theater,” Catania said. “We gathered there to celebrate the life of the late great John Belushi.”
The evening was filmed and recorded and features great music played by their band.
Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.