Upcoming January Shows
Thursday January 24th - Raue Center, Crystal Lake, Illinois
We have the opportunity to play in many beautiful American theaters. And we do not for a second take that opportunity for granted. In fact we feel quite lucky to Be a part of the American tradition of the Local theatre. Each theatre we get to perform at, plays a special role in it’s own community. Many have played that important role for many decades. The rich history of who’s appeared on these stages of the years and who has attended is astounding if you think about it. Theatre and music are the things that make life exciting and tie us all together. And not only do we get to travel around this big country playing our music, but we get to showcase what we do in beautiful surroundings that continue the American arts tradition. And the Raue Center is a perfect example of one of those theaters. The building opened in 1929 as El Tovar, a title simply picked up by one of the theatre’s founders on a trip out west. It became a welcome addition to northern Illinois. As a movie and vaudeville theatre, it showcased the thrilling new “talkies” and the troupes who wheeled into town on tour with their exotic, entertaining gear and costumes.
While the name did not translate into any specific Spanish phrases, it did translate into the site of first kisses, marriage proposals, farewell dates before shipping out, and class trips. People came to simply escape daily frustrations. The theater embraced the golden age of movie musicals, film noir, love stories, comedies, cartoon festivals and adventure serials. During the 1960s, area theatre groups used the theatre for musicals and plays between film showings. El Tovar eventually became The Lake, and then turned into the downtown Showplace, with fewer viewers than in years past.
Architecturally, the building was on its last legs, but the memories of those who had loved the theatre were still present. New life, a renaissance of sorts, was just waiting to flourish. It was at this point that Lucile Raue, who had lived and worked most of her life in a four-square-block area in downtown Crystal Lake, left a generous monetary gift to go towards renovations in downtown Crystal Lake. After extensive review by an advisory group, enough money to completely restore this historic gem was given to the building. Now named for its shy benefactor Lucile Raue, the Raue’s Center’s rebuilding began. Ground was broken in November 1999 and local craftsmanship took the building through the two-year reconstruction process. In August of 2001, this dame of a building was painted, polished and suited in newly upholstered rich russet seats. if we have time perhaps we’ll take a historic tour that they offer. If you’d like one you can contact them at email@example.com. Hope you’ll take an opportunity to check out this wonderful building, especially while we’re playing some music in it!
Friday January 25th - Lerner Theatre, Elkhart, Indiana
On March 31, 1923, Harry E. Lerner, an Elkhart business man, announced that he planned to construct a modern "theatrical palace" on the corner of Franklin and Main Streets in downtown Elkhart. It had it’s Grand Opening on November 24, 1924. With 2000 seats it was the host to a variety of vaudeville, big band and theatrical reviews as well as the exciting new movies! 87 years later, in June 2011 the aging theater, after changing hands and names over it’s long history was reopened after an extensive restoration. Drawing rave reviews and capturing national attention. It has been described as a project that has truly put the “heart” back in downtown Elkhart. This absolutely gorgeous theater, that has hosted generations will host Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on January 25th. We love playing Elkhart, It’s history as the main home of American band instrument manufacturing, made it an integral component of the American swing era. Come out on January 25th and check out this amazing theatre and celebrate America’s music with us in one of it’s birthplaces.
“SWING LEGENDS BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY TO PERFORM WITH THE TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA”
While we can most certainly be accused of tooting our own horns, at least in a literal sense, we typically shy away from figurative tooting so to speak. However when I saw the following headline on The Toledo Symphony’s website, I had to smile. “SWING LEGENDS BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY TO PERFORM WITH THE TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA”
Wow, “Swing Legends!” Now, I don’t know for sure how, or when someone crosses the imaginary line from an ordinary band to a “Legendary” one. We have been at it for 25 years, and have certainly learned a few things along the way. At the end of the day, we’re just doin’ what we do. We’re going to let everyone else determine our “status,”, be that legendary or not. That being said, Seeing our name adjacent to an adjective like “legendary,” does feel pretty darn good.
There’s one thing I do know for sure, The Stranahan Theatre sure looks like a place a “legendary” band would play. And the fact that we will be accompanied by the talented and legendary Toledo Symphony is pretty highfalutin in its own right. Come join us on January 26th for a highfalutin, legendary evening.
Thursday January 31st. Fox Tucson Theatre, Tucson, Arizona
Our classic American Theatre tour continues in Tucson Arizona on January 31st. The Fox Tucson Theatre opened on April 11, 1930, as a dual vaudeville/movie house. The Fox featured a stage, full fly-loft, and dressing rooms beneath the stage. The combined effects of “talkies” and the Depression limited the opportunities for live performance, and the dressing rooms were never completed. Opening night, April 11, 1930, proved to be the biggest party the small community of Tucson had ever seen. With Congress Street closed and waxed for dancing, four live bands, a live radio broadcast and free trolley rides downtown, the party was not-to-be-missed. So began the Fox Tucson’s 40-year reign as the “crown jewel” of downtown Tucson’s entertainment world. Over the years the theatre served as Tucson’s most revered “Classic Movie Palace,” In the 1950s The Fox was particularly renowned as the venue for Saturday morning screenings put on by the Tucson Chapter of the Mickey Mouse Club!
Competition from new theaters and the decline of downtown shopping led to the theatre’s closing in 1974. Following a six-year, $14+ million rehabilitation, the theatre reopened on New Year’s Eve 200. The Foundation was finally able to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its unique “Southwestern Art Deco” decor as well as its world-class acoustics. The impact of the re-opened historic theatre on downtown, the larger community of Tucson, and on Southern Arizona as a whole, has been profound. This gem of a theatre is a fantastic place to play and we’re excited to add out own little slice of history to this storied venue. See you there January 31st!
Big bad voodoo Daddy
Together for over 25 years, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy — famously named after an autograph by blues legend Albert Collins — has appeared in concert venues across the world, sold millions of records, and had their music appear in hundreds of movies and television shows. With sold out concerts from the Hollywood Bowl to Lincoln Center, appearances with many of the country's finest symphony orchestras, and television appearances ranging from Dancing with the Stars to Superbowl XXXIII, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy continues it's decades long mission to celebrate and revitalize jazz and swing music — America's original musical art form — and bring joy to audiences around the world.