Whitesidewalls bringing rock musical to Austin ThursdayPublished 4:08pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The Whitesidewalls are ready to take Austin on a trip down memory lane, equipped with a story that features laughs, love, nostalgia and plenty of hit songs from the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll.
The Whitesidewalls will bring their show “Love Potion No. 10” — named after the song, “Love Potion No. 9” — to the Paramount Theatre on Thursday. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door.
The show is a musical that tells the story of Michael Patrick “Records” Ryan, first as a small-town DJ in 1964 who plays all the hits of the day and receives love potions from a mysterious woman, Lenore.
In the first half of the show, the stage will be split with half the stage showing Ryan working as a DJ and half the stage showing the Whitesidewalls rehearsing to play for their 40th high school reunion on the other side. Ryan talks about the Whitesidewalls playing a concert in a few weeks as he wonders where they’ll be in 20 to 40 years.
“The plot is just a vehicle, a way of presenting the music in a different way while getting a whole lot of laughs,” said Pat Brown, who goes by the stage name Hound Dog.
In the first part, the band doesn’t acknowledge the audience, as it’s a scene of the group rehearsing hit songs.
That all changes in the second act, which takes place during the Whitesidewalls playing for the dance of their 40th class reunion. The audience even gets involved by playing the part of the classmates.
“We have a lot of fun with the audience in the second half,” Brown said.
The play was conceived by the Whitesidewalls, mainly by Dave Swanson, and written largely by member Brad Nelson, who goes by the stage name Gino.
“He did all the heavy lifting on that,” Brown said.
The potion wielding love interest, Lenore, is played by Nelson’s wife, Sharron.
Brown said the audience becomes involved and interested in seeing if Lenore and the Ryan will finally meet each in the second half.
Along with popular songs from 1954-1964, the performance features many one-liners, zippy wordplay and comedy.
While Ryan is actually a DJ in the Twin Cities and the Whitesidewalls have been a band for more than 40 years, Brown said the show is not autobiographical. It’s just a fun, new way to present the music. So far, audiences around the area have loved the show, Brown said, as the group sold out the Maplewood Performing Arts Theatre.
“We’re very, very encouraged by the response we’ve gotten,” Brown said.
Brown said it’s been a rewarding experience for the band, which frequently plays dances, to see audiences enjoying the chance to sit, listen to the music and share laughs during the performance.
For Brown and the Whitesidewalls, the show is a change of pace from playing dances and straight concerts, and it offers a new, unique way to present the music.
“I think what we love about it is that chance to do something very different as opposed to the concert where you play song after song after song,” Brown said.
On one hand, it’s nice to have a breather between songs, according to Brown. But during Ryan’s scenes as the DJ in the first half, Brown said, they stay motionless, which is challenging when Ryan comes up with new comic lines each night.
“Its hard for us to keep from laughing,” he said.
Brown said the band and performers are very proud of the show, and are hoping the audience in Austin enjoys it.
“We think we came up with something pretty fun,” he said.
“Love Potion No. 10”
The White Sidewalls:
Pat Brown, aka Hound Dog
Dave Swanson, aka Swanee
Brad Nelson, aka Gino (writer)
Bill Spalding, aka Bobbie
Erik Swenson, aka Rocky
The DJ — Michael Patrick (Records) Ryan
Lenore — Sharron Nelson