BWW Interview: Live It Up Productions' Jim Casey and Brandon Alameda Reveal Details on TOP ROCK; Opens 8/1 at Hard Rock Palm Springs
Live It Up Productions will soon bring their hit show TOP ROCK to the Hard Rock Hotel, in Palm Springs (150 South Indian Canyon Drive). With edgy, elaborate costuming, spectacular light design, "in your face" choreography, unforgettable arrangements and an ensemble of hard-core, exceptionally talented performers, this show embodies the true spirit of Rock 'n' Roll with hard-hitting highlights from both current and classic rock hits. Performances officially begin Friday, August 1 and are set to continue through September 20, 2014.
The show's Executive Producer Jim Casey and Live It Up's Co-Creative Director Brandon Alameda just chatted with BroadwayWorld about the exciting new production and you can check out the full interview below!
Let's start by talking about Live It Up Productions and how it got its start...
JC: Trini Garza, who is the President, Founder and Creative Director of Live It Up Productions, has a background as a performer. He performed for years all over the world and then went to work in Las Vegas at the MGM and Venetian creating and running shows. Then he moved back to Los Angeles a few years later, and that's when he started Live It Up Productions.
He and I met a few years back when I was chairing a fundraiser and had no idea of what I was doing. He said the forever-famous words: "I have friends who can sing! I'll help you." That's how we started working together. And with the talent that he has and the group of people that he has... one thing led to another and he brought Brandon into the picture and his talent has taken it to a different level. We've just been running it ever since then.
And it seems like things have really taken off since then!
JC: Yeah it has! We were actually just talking about everything that we have going on. We have the Hard Rock and corporate gigs, and a bunch of fundraisers coming up. There's a bunch of things happening.
And how did TOP ROCK come about?
BA: Basically Hard Rock reached out to us when they were opening to give them some ideas about entertainment and whatnot. We came up with a series called 'The Edge Series', which included several shows which were rock-based, so that they would fit in with the whole vibe, feel and energy of the hotel and their brand. That was great for us because, especially for me, that's my background. The production company is geared more towards Broadway-type reviews but with a rock influence. I sang with a lot of live bands and for live rock shows, so I was really excited to put that series together.
Trini and I sat down and tried to figure out what our inaugural show would be and we came up with TOP ROCK. We wanted it to be pretty broad. We thought: "Let's take the biggest rock bands and hits of the 80s and 90s and make it iconic and nostalgic. We came up with this whole list of stuff and really the hardest part was cutting. Our first list had over a hundred songs! We ended up with a great line-up of Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey...it's all of the most iconic rock bands of the 80s and 90s.
So we put that together with the live band and all of the technical elements like lighting and sound and we made a stage show. It's as if Broadway met a rock concert. It's very ROCK OF AGES-esque but without the storyline. It's very interactive, hot, sexy and cool!
It seems like a truly one of a kind experience...
BA: Yes! And we tried to stay away from making it, without lack of respect, cruise ship-like or theme parky. We set out to be edgy and to push the envelope with the content. Especially with what's out there right now, with stage shows like WE WILL ROCK YOU and ROCK OF AGES, which have a story, all of our performers have a laundry list of Broadway and television and film credits. They also have their own individual recording contracts and things like that. Everyone has an amazing background in performance, so we were able to take everyone's individual talents and access that on stage.
Everyone on their own is an amazing soloist and amazing dancer. When you watch the show and see the talent, one by one as the each performer opens their mouth they blow you away. You expect that there would be a couple of leads and then everyone else would be in the ensemble, but EVERY single person is a star of the show.
Does Live It Up have any other projects in the works?
JC: Oh, Lord yes! We're working on bringing our Christmas show back, which is ROCKIN THE HOLIDAYS. We also do customized corporate shows. We're doing a show for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation in New York at the end of September to kick off their celebrity golf tournament. We've also been hired again, I think for the fourth or fifth year, for the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards here in Palm Springs, benefitting the Desert AIDS Project. That's a 1600-person gala that we do a customized show for every year around the awards ceremony. We've got another Desert AIDS Project benefit called DINNER AT MY PLACE. We still have all of the shows at the Hard Rock and we've been in talks with a lot of people in Las Vegas to continue to grow!
It seems like you are a very good kind of busy right now!
BA: And we're so excited about our opening night! We went all out this time with our promo and whatnot. We're having a huge red carpet on Friday that Live Magazine is going to cover and host our mixer. We have a lot of VIPs coming and maybe even a couple celebrities. We're so excited about going back to the Hard Rock and doing our thing!
Live It Up Productions specializes in creating unforgettable entertainment for events of all sizes, and audiences of all varieties. As a full-service production company, Live It Up Productions has an array of Broadway-style song and dance shows, at-the-ready.
Based in southern California and led by a staff of accomplished producers, costume designers and choreographers, our team of national tour and Broadway Credited performers can travel anywhere in the world. Whether an intimate gathering in cabaret style, or a stadium-sized venue with thousands in attendance, Live It Up Productions can and has delivered the best in performance, spectacle and professionalism, time and again.
For additional information, visit: http://liuproductions.com/