“Motones vs Jerseys” musicians are in fine form as Midtown audience cheers

mvjAbout 50 songs are included in the “war” of opposing performers at MAC

Reviewed by Tom Jones

It is “Fight Night” at Midtown Arts Center. All gloves are off, but two teams of amazing vocal cords are in combat as “Motones vs. Jerseys” offer the audience a grand duel for more than two hours of superb music.

Jalyn Courtenay Webb singing "A Natural Woman." Photo by Tom Jones.
Jalyn Courtenay Webb singing “A Natural Woman.” Photo by Tom Jones.

Referee and Emcee for the event is Jalyn Courtenay Webb. She stirs up support for both teams, while the audience provides the scoring! It is obvious early-on, that this is an unusual show. At the pre-performance announcements, the audience is normally reminded to turn off all cellphones, that taking of photos is strictly prohibited, etc. Not here. Webb announced that cellphones are to be left on to help with the scoring process, and that photographs are encouraged, but without flash.

The Motone four arrive with white training robes, while the Jerseys are in bright red. They spar from opposite sides of the stage, while an enormously effective orchestra remains on stage to keep the music rolling.

The show, referred to as “The Ultimate Music Battle of the 60’s,” was conceived and created by Narrative Creative and Starkey Productions, with this version directed by Kenneth Moten, Jr.

Photo by Tom Jones
“Joe Callahan rocks and rolls” Photo by Tom Jones

The gamut of exciting melodies from the past haunt the stage – pop, gospel, rock and roll, country, and even opera. “O Solo Mio” brought down the house late in the evening as The Jerseys brought it to life. The audience’s enthusiasm for the production was evident from the outset. While looking back at the 60’s sensational music, it is almost as if “the grayer the hair, the greater the audience support.”

There is virtually something for everyone – including “Under the Boardwalk,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Yesterdays,” and “Stand by Me.” Music represents such recording artists as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Frankie Valli, The Four Seasons, the Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Beach Boys, Rick James, The Platter, The Flamingos, Herman’s Hermits – and more!

Photo by Tom Jones
Photo by Tom Jones

Performers are unanimously talented. Most of the singers are new to MAC audiences. Bing Crosby look-alike Joe Callahan is back, with his ever-delightful charm and agility. Jalyn Courtenay Webb not only serves as the show’s emcee, but is also musical director. Wearing yet another hat, she brings down the house late in the show with a full throttle version of “A Natural Woman.”

Choreography is by Jessica Hinsley. The on-stage instrumental music is performed by Paul Falk, Larry Bridges, Ryan Millard, Michael Rinko, Tanner Robison, and either Dave Lunn or Kate Vincent on saxophone.

Only downside for me is the limited printed program. I am usually able to follow a show’s progress, showing what musicals numbers are included. This is a new generation, however, where Smartphone owners have complete knowledge of the show’s progress. But why worry, the non-stop music is a delight for every generation – with or without a Smartphone!

“Motones vs Jerseys – the ultimate 60’s music battle”
Where: Midtown Arts Center, 3750 South Mason Street, Fort Collins, CO 80525
When: To November 5, 2016
Information: Box Office: 970/225-2555
Internet:  midtownartscenter.com