King’s Wharf Theatre Welcomes Vibrant Musical Revue

King’s Wharf Theatre Welcomes Vibrant Musical Revue

Friday, June 28th, 2013

PENETANGUISHENE – Start spreading the news! Big Band Legends, a dazzling production that honors the great crooners and songbirds from Bing Crosby to Michael Bublé, is entertaining theatregoers of all ages at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene through July  13th.

Spanning multiple decades, this musical extravaganza pays tribute to those iconic singers whose biggest hits were enhanced by the sound of their stellar bands.  Some of these performers are synonymous with the big band era; others have captured the spirit with a modern take on the grand orchestral style of the period.

Backed by an all-star orchestra, this fun-filled production features a hit parade of songs from such icons as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney to Tony Bennett, Neil Diamond and Bobby Darin, along with Harry Connick, Jr. and more.

As the Creator and Director of this production, Alex Mustakas has done an exemplary job of integrating the elements of music, dance, and visual effects to create a stunning spectacle that will have audiences singing their way out of the theatre.

Mustakas gives each artist a special moment to shine and the great musical songbirds of the past 80 years are represented by Canada’s own enchanting trio, The Mantini Sisters. Sandra, Barbara and Ann Mantini showcase fantastic harmonies covering such classics as The Boswell Sisters’ “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” The Andrews Sisters’ “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön,” and The Maguire Sisters’ “Sugartime.”

The Mantinis are equally strong individually. Ann Mantini channels Doris Day in “Que Sera Sera” and Vera Lynn in “We’ll Meet Again”, while Barbara Mantini is suitably sassy in Helen Ward’s “Goody Goody” and Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” Sandra Mantini delivers a playful version of Sarah Vaughn’s “Lullaby of Birdland” and a heartfelt rendition of Connie Francis’ “Where The Boys Are.”

Numerous beloved crooners from the early years of jazz and big band through the popular music of today are embodied by a dynamic group of male performers. Harry Connick Jr.’s “It Had To Be You,” is delivered by the vocal prowess of Michael Vanhevel, who continues to wow the audience with Frank Sinatra’s hits “I’ve Got The World On A String,” and “Fly Me To The Moon.” A native of Grand Bend, Ontario, Mustakas first discovered the young singer on YouTube when Vanhevel posted videos of himself singing various Sinatra tunes.

Demonstrating remarkable versatility in this upbeat production is Yvan Pedneault. This superb singer shines in his rendition of Michael Bublé’s pop hit “Everything,” as well as Bob Hope’s “I’ll Be Seeing You” and Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head On My Shoulder.”

Chris Sams stands out in Bing Crosby’s “Learn To Croon” at the very top of the show, setting the appropriate tone for what is to come.  His interpretations of “Don’t Fence Me In,” Perry Como’s “Papa Loves Mambo” and Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” are spot on.

When Vanhevel, Pedneault and Sams effortlessly croon together during a triple play of Bobby Darin’s hit songs “Mack the Knife,” “Dream Lover” and “Beyond the Sea,” the result is magical. The final set, a musical medley honoring the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, encapsulates the charisma and sheer enthusiasm that sustains the entire production.

While Big Band Legends is a celebration of music, it also boasts captivating dance routines courtesy of Choreographer Gino Berti. Sarah Matton and Chad McFadden show off impeccable timing and graceful transitions in a variety of demanding dance genres.

Distinguished composer, arranger and conductor Howard Cable has masterfully created the orchestrations and vocal arrangements for the production, which includes over 70 songs.
A Member of the Order of Canada, Mr. Cable also received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Big Band Legends also pays tribute to World War II veterans in a unique segment that salutes the Canadian Forces with a medley of songs from the Department of National Defense Entertainment Shows for The Navy, The Army, and The Air Force. Audiences have the rare opportunity to hear the music that was integral in three Canadian Services Shows: “Meet the Navy,” “The Army Show with Wayne and Shuster” and the “RCAF Captains of The Clouds.”

An expert nine-piece live band is steadily guided by Music Director Elizabeth Baird. The talented “big band” includes Baird on keyboard, Kevin Dempsey on drums, Mike Herriott on Trumpet, Peter Hysen on Trombone, Matthew Lima on bass, and Harvey Kogen, Bobbi Thompson, Paul Pacanowski and Barry Usher on Reed instruments.

The understated yet elegant Set Design by Simon Day, complementary Lighting Design by Kevin Fraser, and eye-catching Costume Design by Nicole Del Cul convey a whimsical spirit for this production, packaged with panache by Dan Payne’s visual elements.

Big Band Legends is the fifth instalment in the wildly popular ‘Legends’ series created by Mustakas. The series began in 2006 with the smash-hit Twist and Shout: The British Invasion, one of the most successful productions in the company’s history. After Twist and Shout: The British Invasion, other ‘Legends’ shows Legends, Country Legends and Dance Legends all followed suit with critical acclaim and record-breaking ticket sales. The 2012 world-premiere of Big Band Legends received rave reviews with sold out performances in Grand Bend and St. Jacobs. This year’s production in Penetanguishene is poised for the same success.

Big Band Legends Orchestra Sponsor is Music Plus. Media Sponsors are Chay Today @93.1 FM and Barrie Advance. The Design Sponsor is H.S. St. Amant & Sons Inc. The 2013 Season Media Sponsor is CTV. King’s Wharf Theatre’s 2013 Season is sponsored by John & Terry Hamilton.

Big Band Legends plays for three weeks only until July 13th. Tickets can be purchased online at, in person at the Kings Wharf Theatre Box Office, or by calling (705) 549-5555 or toll free 1-855- DRAYTON (372-9866).

For more information please contact: Valerie O’Brien, Marketing Manager
(519) 638-5511 ext. 235 or email