1964 - THE TRIBUTE Celebrates The Beatles at PlayhouseSquare Tonight
Rolling Stone magazine calls 1964 - The Tribute "the best Beatles tribute on earth!" 1964-The Tribute, has been thrilling audiences around the globe since the early Eighties by taking them on a journey through a quintessential moment in music history that will live forever.
Now celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles' debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, 1964-The Tribute returns to PlayhouseSquare for a one-night-only concert, tonight, Feb. 21 at 7:30 PM. (Tickets are $35.50, $29.50 & $10 Smart Seats.)
Over 20 years of researching and performing have made "1964" masters of their craft, hailed by critics and fans alike as THE most authentic and endearing Beatles tribute. "1964" recreates an early '60s live Beatles concert with period instruments, clothing, hairstyles and onstage banter with an accuracy that is unmatched.
Mark Benson: Mark Benson was introduced to music playing drums and piano at age eight. At age 17 he started playing guitar. Interested in becoming a luthier, Mark began his internship at Lay's Guitar Repair in Akron, Ohio where he learned to build, repair, and restore guitars as well as other stringed instruments. He went on to make guitars for Eddie Van Halen and Jackson Browne and continues to rebuild, repair, and restore all of the instruments for "1964?. Mark has sold vintage instruments to The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bad Company, Hall and Oates, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, The Cars, David Lindley, Cheap Trick, and the Doobie Brothers.
Mark played guitar in the local Ohio bands Ashes, Raintree, Coconut, Mr. French and Bock (with Gary Grimes). In 1984 Mark, with Gary, started "1964?. He currently produces all aspects of the show and produced the 1964 CDs, "All You Need Is Live", "Nine Hours In November", and "Bootleg Vol. 1?.
Mark says, "1964 shows the audience what it was like to attend a Beatles concert in the early Sixties and generates the same feeling of happiness that is still generated by the music of The Beatles. We get so much of this positive energy back from our audiences, it reassures us that for now, we are where we are supposed to be".
Ricky Vacca: Ricky Vacca fell in love with music at a very young age from listening to his Mom and Dad's 45 RPM records of '50s music, The Beatles and Motown. He bought his first guitar when he was 9 years old from a friend for 5 dollars, and being left handed, he had to play the guitar upside down and eventually taught himself to play and sing all the songs he so loved. Not satisfied to just sing and play, he also learned how to modify, repair and restore guitars and amplifiers and is currently the owner of his own business doing just that.
At age 14, he started singing in the streets and subways of New York City and by 21 had established himself as a solo artist in the New York folk music scene. He opened shows for folk artists, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, and David Peel at the Village Gate, Folk City, and the Bitter End nightclubs in New York's famous Greenwich Village. He also studied acting at New York's American Arts Theater and performed in off Broadway musical comedy and drama productions while earning a living as a studio session musician at Cove City Sound and Cloud Nine studios on Long Island.
Ricky's Beatle career began at the age of 27 when, like Paul McCartney, he moved from guitar to bass, realizing that more bands needed bass players than guitar players. His look, his voice and his ability to play bass left-handed quickly landed him a spot in the "Beatlemania" Broadway road tours and has since been hired by many of the top Beatle shows to improve their casts.
Ricky says, "There's no greater joy for me than making people smile and sing along to some of the greatest pop music ever written. I am blessed."
Tom Work: Tom began playing guitar in 1961, but contrary to what most 1964 fans say, that isn't all that happened that year. Also in 1961...JFK challenged Congress to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. By the end of the decade the Space Race was over, but Tom was still playing guitar. Construction of the Berlin Wall began...then 28 years later the Wall was torn down, but Tom was still playing guitar. George Clooney (the world's most handsome man) was born in '64...and -50 years later Tom is still playing guitar
Over these past 50 years, Tom has experienced challenges and obstacles of his own. "Some of them seemed literally like brick walls," he said, "but while I've had my share of failures (Darn you, George Clooney!), I've also enjoyed a great deal of good fortune."
Tom is a founding member of 1964 - The Tribute, but he has other creative outlets, too. "Performing in this act hasn't left me much free time, but I freelance when I can, and a while back I sang with the barbershop quartet, Popular Demand." Tom also worked in over 20 musical theater productions, both in leading roles, and behind the scenes as Producer/Music Director. "Performing onstage is a riot, although conducting the pit orchestra, to me, is much more fun. But the most rewarding experience is helping extract top-notch performances from people, guiding performers to their pinnacle. There's nothing quite like being perched on the edge of your seat on opening night and hearing an actor deliver his or her best-ever performance!" In 2006 Tom returned to 1964 - The Tribute, ending a 12-year sabbatical.
"By far, my most gratifying experience has been fatherhood," he says, "and I'm thankful for my wonderful family-the love and support of my parents, my sister, my wife, and my four children has been my mainstay my entire life." Tom lives with his wife and their two children in Ohio, and he would like to thank the late Gary Grimes for the thousand gigs and the million memories
Bobby Potter: Bobby was born in Indiana. He started taking snare drum lessons in the 5th grade and got his first set of drums in the 7th. Later, when The Beatles arrived on the music scene, he made it a personal goal to be like Ringo. He played in three bands during high school - a Tijuana Brass band, high school pep band and a top 40 band. He helped form a popular local band that performed in his hometown and surrounding area teen clubs. He later moved to Champaign, Illinois and joined a band that performed in-and-around the tri-state area.
Wanting to spread his wings he then set his sights on the west coast and moved to Los Angeles where he helped form The Finders, then Shake, Rattle N' Roll and played are nightclubs for 10 years. He then moved to Las Vegas, playing the Nevada casino circuit. Capitalizing on his experience he backed such greats as Chris Montez, Billy Swan, Jewel Akens, Al Wilson, J.J. Jackson, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Del Vikings, 7 show/lounge acts and too many Elvis impersonators to mention.
Still wanting to achieve his personal "Ringo" goal, he joined two Beatles tributes, spending eight years in this endeavor. His personality shines onstage as he authentically reproduces every beat and moves his head to the music portraying Ringo with precision and style. This accomplished artist transports the audience to the carefree, magical era with his voice when he performs "Yellow Submarine" and "Act Naturally". Bobby is thrilled to be a member of 1964-The Tribute! He states, "In the tribute world, you can't get any closer or higher up than this for authenticity, style and sound... the same way The Beatles performed live."
(Tickets for 1964-The Tribute's Feb. 21st 7:30 pm show at PlayhouseSquare's Palace Theatre are on sale at the Ticket Office, online at playhousesquare.org or 216-241-6000. Prices are $39.50, $29.50 & $10 Smart Seats.)