Monday, February 16, 2015


                   PHOTO OF "THE WILDEST" BY PAUL ROTH

Turn your entertainment clock back a multitude of decades from the 1920's to the 1960's to celebrate the legendary Louis Prima.  As a bandleader, singer, songwriter, actor and trumpeter, Louis Prima transformed his musical career to match all the trends that changed every decade.

In the beginning in the twenties, Prima conducted a seven-piece band that specialized in New Orleans jazz.  By the 1930's, he had moved his rhythm to the current swing tunes and by the 1940's he turned his attention to the big band.  Las Vegas lured him and with the edition of a new female vocalist, Keely Smith,he  created a lounge act that was wildly successful.  In the 1960's, Prima transformed his genre again, this time into a pop-rock band.

Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury is focusing on this musical duo in the late 1950's in "The Wildest! Hip, Cool and Swingin! The Musical Sounds of Louis Prima and Keely Smith" until Sunday, March 8.  Conceived and written by Randy Johnson, Thomas Porras, Luanne Prima and Toni Elizabeth Prima, the show concentrates on the music, unfortunately with no patter or anecdotes about the pair and their relationship.

Married in 1954, they were hired for a two week gig at the Casbar Lounge at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, an engagement that escalated to five shows a night, six nights a week, from midnight to dawn.  The two weeks morphed into a fantastic six years.

Come hear the energetic and exciting talents of Lizzie Wild, Kristy Merola, Jillian Wallach, Mike Nappi, Paul Binotto and James Donohue as they rock the house.  Their enthusiasm is contagious as they belt out, in song and lively dance, tunes like "The Lip," "How Are You Fixed For Love?," "Everybody Loves a Lover," "Fever," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "That Old Black Magic," "I Wish You Love," "St. Louis Blues" and "When the Saints Go Marching In."  Fun songs like "Hey Ba Ba Re Bop," "Nyow, Nyot Nyow! (The Pussycat Song)," "Bim Mam," "I Beeped When I Should Have Bopped" and "I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" are a pure delight.

Semina De Laurentis directs this nostalgic song fest, a tribute to this iconic singing duo.  For tickets ($39.50-52.50, children and students $25), call Seven Angels, 1 Plank Road, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at  Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come listen to this sextet as they make "That Old Black Magic" and "Sing, Sing, Sing" because they know its "All or Nothing at All."

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