Musical and theatrical tribute to Nat ‘King’ Cole sure to attract large crowd in Osoyoos

By on January 29, 2014
Vancouver-based singer, actor and performer Don Stewart will be bringing the acclaimed show Unforgettable: A Tribute to Nat ‘King’ Cole to the Osoyoos Secondary School theatre on  Thursday, Feb. 13. The production showcases Cole’s amazing tunes and also tells the story of his life growing up the son of a preacher in America during the turbulent 1960s. (Photo supplied)

Vancouver-based singer, actor and performer Don Stewart will be bringing the acclaimed show Unforgettable: A Tribute to Nat ‘King’ Cole to the Osoyoos Secondary School theatre on Thursday, Feb. 13. The production showcases Cole’s amazing tunes and also tells the story of his life growing up the son of a preacher in America during the turbulent 1960s. (Photo supplied)

The name of the show is “Unforgettable” and that’s exactly what organizers from the Osoyoos Concert Series are hoping will be the reaction from music fans who attend the special tribute to the legendary American crooner Nat “King” Cole in two weeks.

The critically-acclaimed singer and performer Don Stewart, who has called Vancouver home for the past several years, will bring his unique style and rich voice to what promises to be a very memorable night of music, said Pat Philpott, the secretary with the Osoyoos Concert Series.

“Nat ‘King’ Cole was one of the greatest singers in history and we’re thrilled to have landed this show,” she said. “We booked him way back in March of last year and we’re really looking forward to the performance in Osoyoos.”

Born in Amherstburgh, Ontario, Stewart was one of nine children. He began singing at the age of nine in church and at family gatherings.

By age 13, he was performing in his first band and shortly thereafter provided the winning entry in a talent contest with his acapella group called The Welcome Changes.

The Salem School of Art in Detroit provided new challenges for Stewart and opened the door to his new interests in drama and comedy. After his studies at Salem, Stewart toured extensively throughout eastern Canada and the United States with various theatrical productions where he honed his singing and acting skills.

Stewart continued his life on the stage, appearing in numerous plays, films and television shows.

Promotional material says his most satisfying accomplishment has been his starring role in “An Evening With Nat King Cole”, which has played to sold out audiences across North America that continually shower their appreciation with standing ovations at almost every show.

Stewart’s satin smooth, four-octave range allows him to perform the role he was born to play by revisiting and honouring the unique and incomparable Nat King Cole.

Unforgettable: the Music of Nat King Cole delivers an extraordinary evening of music showcasing one of the most beloved performers of all time, but it’s not a tribute act.

It’s a theatrical performance about the man and his music, says Stewart.

“Nobody can be Nat King Cole”, said Stewart. “So I don’t even want to try. I just present what happened.”

Stewart first produced the Unforgettable show in 2009 and continues to perform to the delight of audiences everywhere.

On stage, he serves as narrator and moves in and out of character as required to tell the story of Cole’s life through scenes, stories and nearly 40 memorable songs, including popular hits Sweet Lorraine, Mona Lisa, Rambling Rose, Unforgettable, and others.

Cole’s legacy endures to this day because of his contribution to American music, his smooth jazz style, charisma and his success as an African American during the turbulent 1960s.

Stewart brings Cole’s unmistakable music and musical biography to the stage from Cole’s piano-playing days in dives and honky tonks across the American southwest through to his breakthrough contract with Capitol Records.

Stewart not only sings beautifully, but emotionally narrates Cole’s fight against racism at the studio and in his very own Hollywood neighbourhood.

The show takes the audience on a fascinating musical journey and details the incredible odds that the song of an Alabama preacher overcame and how an unknown young jazz pianist became a worldwide singing sensation.

Perfectly times as a prelude to Valentine’s Day, the concert will be held on Thursday, Feb. 13 at the Osoyoos Secondary School theatre.

Tickets are available at Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and Sundance Video in Oliver. Tickets are $23 in advance and $25 at the door.

Bus service to your door and back is being offered to those attending the show in Oliver and Osoyoos.

Those planning to use the bus service must book in advance by calling Philpott at 250-495-8082.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

 

 

 

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