The Adena Lions Club has been practicing, preparing and presenting minstrel shows in their tiny community for 62 years, and last Friday and Saturday was their 63rd- annual production.
"Viva Las Vegas" was the title, and it proved to be quite entertaining, with singing, dancing, instrumental music by the Dueces Wild band and comedy skits.
The most touching moment was the singing by Darrin Young and Drew Case to Garth Brooks' "Last Dance." It was a tribute to Theo Kanoski, a dedicated Lions member who had five years of perfect attendance in the club. He played Johnny Olson in a "Match Game" segment, was a new recruit in the Navy skit and delivered a belting yell of "Rawhide" to a "Country Gone Wild" show over the years. Kanoski died of cancer in June 2012.
SINGING — Darrin Young, Adena Lions Club president, was surrounded by young ladies when he sang “Uptown Girl” in the Billy Joel mode.
-- Esther McCoy
Bill Stephens, Buckeye Local band director, joined the jazz band in playing warm-up music, along with Ron Retzer, a noted musician throughout the area. Retzer and Joe Jancura were clowning it up when I took a photo, but I didn't get the best part captured on camera. The band played "Girl from Ipanema" as part of Act I, too.
John Parkinson, who grew up taking part in the old-fashioned shows when they were really minstrels, with endmen who made jokes and cavorted about, made a cameo appearance at the Saturday performance and likely Friday, but I didn't get to see it and received a standing ovation.
He served as announcer for many of the 62 years and on the 63rd year, had to take it easy after a heart operation. "You have been truly appreciated over the years and may your health start to bloom again, John." This is a thought from me.
Our Bradley neighbor, Megan Lecik, looked adorable as a female jailbird in black and white stripes dancing and singing to "Jailhouse Rock." Roger Warren made a convincing Frank Sinatra singing "Luck Be a Lady Tonight." Joe Jancura was in the chorus but sang a great Elton John song, "Crocodile Rock." Mike Zonkoski was Barry Manilow singing "This One's For You."
An act I took great delight in seeing was Kathy Oxley doing Tina Turner in "Proud Mary." She started in a slow mode, and I thought that she needed to jazz it up a bit. Just at that moment, she kicked it in high gear and went through Tina gyrations, belting out the song to even make Tina proud.
The West Elementary Singers, directed by Stacy Soos, did a tribute to the Jackson 5. There was a young man with a boa slung about his neck doing some fancy dance moves to "Rockin Robin."
Jessica Harr had a long, blonde wig to portray Madonna in singing "Borderline." Jessica is a nice addition to the show each year and has something different each time.
The chorus sang a Beatles, Frankie Valli and Four Seasons medley. Lamont has always been partial to the songs they sang "Oh What a Night," "Sherry" and "Walk Like a Man."
Rich Steffl sang "Danke Schoen" in Wayne Newton style and made a convincing show- girl in the "Hey Big Spender" segment, along with Young, Case, Dustin and Dennis Kinsey and Roger Moore.
Marty Packer does a wonderful job with whatever she sings, and this year it was Patsy Cline in "Walkin' After Midnight." Her daughter, Julie Erwin, sang the Connie Francis song, "Where the Boys Are." The Dueces Wild band played "Night Moves," with Dan Jones sounding like Bob Seger. He sang "Mr. Bojangles" in the Sammy Davis Jr. style and played the harmonica, along with the guitar.
Morgan Trouten sang a Shania Twain song, "You're Still the One." Rich Bolock did a nice job of "You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You" sounding like Dean Martin. Chris Krahel sang the Tom Jones song, "It's Not Unusual." Val Zamski was attired in a slinky, red sequin dress singing "Because You Love Me" by Celine Dion.
Dennis Kinsey did a magic act putting Young in a wooden stand-up box. He berated his wife a bit in the skit, and when he opened the box to release the Lions president, his wife was standing there instead, saying "We will talk at home."
The endmen did "The Gambler," with some of the gamblers' visors turned upside down, and the chorus did a medley at the end. One of the songs was "Hey Jude" with the lights lowered and all holding LED flashlights.
It was an impressive night.
(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff columnist and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily times. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)