‘A Musical Celebration’ to run at Dickens this Friday and Saturday
The band is getting back together. And they’re headed to Millville.
For the third consecutive year, the Bethany Area Repertory Theatre (BART) will present Eileen Stamnas and Jim Gibney live at the Dickens Parlour Theatre. The career musicians will follow up last year’s “Music to Warm a Cold Winter’s Evening” with an entirely new setlist — ranging from ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, to Frank Sinatra, Chaka Khan and even a little Motown.
“We just cover a lot of bases,” said Stamnas. “It’s sort of something for everyone. Regardless of what your musical tastes are, there’s probably gonna be something that will hit your sweet spot.”
Considered in the song selection process are the strengths of the group, many of whom — like the brother/sister duo of Stamnas and Gibney — hold musical talents far more unique than the assortment of last names featured on the program.
Gibney’s son Danny Gibney is a Louis Armstrong Award recipient and is on the guitar. Michael Gibney is on the drums. Stamnas’ daughter, Alex Stamnas, will join her for a duet.
“Last year, at the last minute, our guitarist had a family emergency and could not make the show, and Jim’s son came aboard and learned the show in the back seat of the car driving into town,” Stamnas recalled of how Danny Gibney ended up joining the “Music to Warm a Cold Winter’s Evening” performance. “He played the songs one time during the soundcheck and did the show that night, and he was great. He’s a real wunderkind — he plays many different instruments and he plays them all really well.”
Along with Jim Gibney, the show is produced by Stamnas’ husband, Gregory Stamnas. Her sister, Salisbury Symphony Orchestra flutist Sally Hendon, will play the flute and add to the vocals.
“My siblings and I used to be on the road together for a number of years,” Stamnas said of past gigs in Washington, D.C., nightclubs, as well as out in California. “We don’t play together that often anymore — we kind of pick and choose what we like to do these days. “They’re performing professionals in their fields, and they have to come into town to do this, but they’re doing it because they know I believe in it.”
Group members without family ties still bring plenty of their own experience and accolades to the performance. Bassist/vocalist Bob McCoy has 40 years of experience playing in D.C. bands such as Nowhere Men, Classified and The Main Event. Keyboardist/vocalist Richard Whiting has equal experience playing in Fringe and Lifetime and currently with Charlie Plunket. And tenor sax/flutist Bob Shuman has played with both McCoy in The Main Event! and Whiting in Fringe, as well as currently with several Baltimore-based jazz bands.
Despite the array of other venues played, however, Stamnas said that the entire cast always looks forward to their yearly reunion at Dickens.
“The show we write for the Dickens is specific to the Dickens. We won’t be doing them at other venues,” she said. “We start by thinking about what we love to do, what makes us happy and what we think is gonna connect with the audience.
“It really is a unique venue. It’s you and the audience gathered closely, rather than being in a big amphitheater — it’s wonderful for the performers, because they have this connection with the audience.”
Added to the unique venture each night will be magic shows by Rich Bloch.
Locals will get two chances to experience it all, with performances on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Dickens Parlour Theatre. Tickets and more information are available at www.dptmagic.com or by calling (302) 829-1071. Dickens Parlour Theatre is located at 35715 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) in Millville.