Ultimate Interviews

Ultimate Interviews

Monday, February 17, 2014


A musical extravaganza that will stimulate your heart and mind.

Depending on where you were born, and who's definition you tend to believe, you could be a Baby Boomer. The term, that first appeared in print in 1970, was penned to refer to an increase in birth rates. While there seems to be some discrepancies between countries and history buffs, generally if you were born between the years of 1946 and 1964, then congratulations: you are a Baby Boomer. 

Collage by LZUFP
Boomers were individuals who experienced first hand some of the most memorable events in history. The first group of Boomers born between 1946-1955, got to experience the peace and love of Woodstock, first man on the moon, many rights movements. Sadly they also witnessed tragedies like the Kennedy brothers assassinations, Martin Luther King assassination, risk of being drafted to the Vietnam war, and protests and riots. They are said to have been more free spirited, experimental, individual and aware of social causes. 

The second group of Boomers born between 1956-1964, appear to have experienced more negative than positive moments in history. Cold War, Vietnam War Watergate, Nixon's resignation, inflation, gasoline shortages and Carter's imposition of registration for the draft. Sadly, these Boomers, were less free spirited, more distrust for their government and had more cynicism. 

Despite the politics behind the label, the Boomer generation were witnesses to some of the most memorable entertainment of the time. They grew up to 'The Brady Bunch', 'Gilligan's Island', 'Happy Days', 'The Twilight Zone' and the highlight for any musician 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.  Many Boomers, with their tiny transistor radios, would hear such rock and roll acts from America and across the vast ocean. From The Beatles, The Rolling Stones to Motown, and everything in between, teens would grow up to some of the best music of that time, in fact, of all time.

What do you get when you combine great music, talented musicians and people with incredible visions?  An amazing live musical show, paired with visually appealing props, complimented by the music of the generation, all presented by Syltom Productions - 'Boomer'. Coming to The Newmarket Theatre, in Newmarket, Ontario on March 8, 2014.

Courtesy of Boomershow.ca 
I was excited to hear that a friend of mine, Robert Miniaci, singer for Canada's Coda~The Raw Led Zeppelin Experience, was going to be appearing in 'Boomer' representing the Led Zeppelin aspect of the show. Thanks to Robert, he put me in contact with the producer of the show, Mr. Brian Walker, who agreed to do an interview for our page. He was very generous to take time from his schedule to answer some questions regarding the production. The following is the result of that collaboration. 

LZUFP~Can you provide a little history of how 'Boomer' came to be? Who's vision was it and who are some of the people involved in making this production come to stage?

BW: Actually, 'Boomer' started out as different coloured sticky notes on my bedroom wall. Initially, I was trying to map out the most significant events of the 1960s and '70s and understand how they converged to produce such dramatic social change. What evolved from that exercise became the underlying theme of the show, the conflict between the baby boomers and their parents. I wove the script around it and then hired Paul DeCourcy and Vivian Hisey, two  outstanding voice-over artists, to record it. All that was left then was to pair the audio commentary with complimentary documentary video footage.

LZUFP~Once you had the vision and script, how did the music selection process begin? Were the bands and songs selected your personal favourites, and how do you feel that each band and their music will compliment the show?

BWThat's a great question. Actually each song performed during the show represents a particular period or genre of music. So for example, 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' by the Rolling Stones represents the British Invasion. 'Black Dog' by Led Zeppelin is arena rock, and 'Ziggy Stardust' represents glam. For those who pick up on it, it is also interesting to note how many and what kind of songs combine acoustic and electric guitars and what that says about the evolution of popular music during the 1960s. This theme is also explored in the show.

LZUFP~Can you speak a bit about the cast and musicians that were selected, their roles and contributions to the production? Were you involved in the audition and selection phase?

BW:  Casting was extremely important. Many people who come to 'Boomer' lived during the 1960s and '70s and are familiar with the history and the music of that period. So it is important that the show not only recreate the events and music but also evoke the same emotions. One thing we noticed immediately was that no singer, no matter how gifted, could capture the essence of all the songs included in the show.  Consequently, 'Boomer' uses six different singers to cover ten songs, something you just won't see anywhere else - certainly not for less than the price of a movie ticket. It was the only way that we could bring these songs back to life, to produce the same effect that they had when originally performed. It's actually one of the things I am most proud of. You really have to hear it to believe it. I know the singers are not the original artists and yet I still find myself looking over my shoulder every so often just to make sure.

LZUFP~The show includes many dimensions: live action, documentary footage, music. What was the most challenging part of combing all these elements into one production?

BW:  It's an ongoing challenge. Our drummer, Mark Johnson, who like most of the cast is a multi-talented artist, said from the onset that we need to be careful to evenly develop each aspect of the show; the video production, music and live action. I don't believe we have reached that balance yet. I think it is a work in progress, but we are aware of it so I'm confident we'll get there eventually.

LZUFP~The following description is taken from the website, 'Boomershow.ca'    'Boomer is a large scale, multimedia, Broadway style extravaganza'. Can you provide any little hints on what the audience can expect at the show?

BW:  Boomer blends live music, actors and documentary footage to tell the story of the Baby Boomer generation. The show is purposely designed to over-stimulate the viewer. You could see it ten times and still not take everything in. It contains a lot of symbolism.

The story is told principally on the main screen. Three supporting screens are used to provide context. The songs performed during the show trace both the effect that the music had on the times and that the times had on the music. The live action parts are designed to bring home to the patrons what it really felt like to be there.

LZUFP~Although the baby boomer generation may be able to relate more to the production, are you hoping and/or expecting a wide range of ages in attendance? Do you think this would be a great family outing for different generations to experience together?

BW:  Definitely. Boomer may be a period piece but it holds lessons for all of us. Most of all, I think that it is a positive story told in a very positive way. Of course the modern world has problems. They had problems in the 1960s and '70s too. But we faced those problems together and overcame them. The Cold War ended peacefully, we eradicated polio and small pox. We went to the moon and back. I think Kennedy said it best when he said: 
"...Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable-that mankind is doomed-that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade--therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable -- and we believe they can do it again."                                                                                         JFK-Commencement Address at American University-June 10, 1963
Boomer creatively reaffirms this basic truth and that makes it pertinent for every generation.

Whether you're a baby boomer or not, this production will surely entertain your mind, heart and soul. Allow to be taken back to your youth, relive old memories, all while creating new ones that you might take with you while walking out of the theatre. 
This would be a great opportunity to take your children and/or grandchildren to the show and share in the history of so many ground breaking and news making events. Personally, being a member of Generation X, I am still excited about seeing this show. Always a fan of the music from that time period, as well as being fascinated by the events of decades that I was never able to experience, I look forward to being taken back in time and living it through the eyes of others who have worked hard to put ideas into production. I intend on taking my teenage son for an evening of history, all set to some great music. A review will follow after the show.

Show Details:
Syltom Productions Presents: 'BOOMER'
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Newmarket Theatre
505 Pickering Crescent
Newmarket, ON, Canada
All tickets: $12.00

Extra special thanks to Mr. Walker for the informative interview and an insight into a show obviously very special to his heart.

For more information about 'Boomer' and how to purchase tickets see the links below.

Many thanks to Robert Miniaci. Follow Coda - The Raw Led Zeppelin Experience on:
Official Coda Website
Official Coda Twitter
Official Coda Facebook Page

Follow Led Zeppelin~Ultimate Fan Page on:
Official LedZepUFP Facebook Page
Official LedZepUFP Twitter
Official LedZepUFP Tumblr

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