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December 2017

Event Preview – Vicki Lawrence and Mama

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One of the most beloved television personalities of her generation, Vicki Lawrence is best known for her endearing character “Mama” from the legendary “Carol Burnett Show” and the top-rated, long-running spin-off “Mama’s Family.” On stage, the multi-talented entertainer easily demonstrates her versatility, as we will detail below. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is thrilled to welcome “A Two-Woman Show” to the Bankhead Theater in late-January.

About Vicki Lawrence

Acting

Born in Inglewood, California, Lawrence had originally planned on being a dental hygienist. But things changed in high school when she auditioned for and got into the musical group “The Young Americans.” Lawrence gained much experience from touring, performing at the Oscars, coming into contact with the likes of Johnny Mathis and Louis Armstrong, as well as performing on the Andy Williams Show. Soon after completing high school, Lawrence entered the Miss Fireball of Inglewood contest for the local firefighter’s ball. Interestingly, a newspaper reporter wrote a story about the contest and stated that Lawrence resembled a young Carol Burnett. Lawrence’s mother urged her to write a letter to Burnett, which she did. As it turns out, Lawrence won the contest with Burnett in attendance to crown her. Ironically, Burnett was looking for an actress at the time to play her younger sister Chrissy in the “Carol and Sis” sketches. Both Burnett and Harvey Korman would take Lawrence under their wings, which Lawrence refers to today as the “Harvard school of comedy.”

Lawrence and Burnett were the only cast members to stay on the show from 1967 to 1978. Her portrayal of the Mama character on The Carol Burnett Show’s “The Family” sketches was so popular that NBC created the sitcom Mama’s Family to elaborate on the character. The series ran from 1983 to 1985 and then again from 1986 to 1990.

Lawrence has made appearances on other programs such as Laverne & Shirley, Major Dad, Roseanne, Hannah Montana, and Yes, Dear. In 1985, Lawrence starred in the comedy pilot Anything for Love, which co-starred Lauren Tewes and Rebecca Arthur. Not only that, but Lawrence has appeared with Burnett, Korman, and Tim Conway in the Burnett show retrospectives that were broadcast in 1993, 2001, and 2004.  

Music

In terms of music, Lawrence is most known for her number-one hit, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” a song first written by her first husband Bobby Russell. The song sold over two million copies after being released in November 1972 and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America the following April. Lawrence received her gold record by surprise from Burnett during the last episode of the sixth season of The Carol Burnett Show. Lawrence’s “He Did With Me” reached as high as number 75 in the U.S. and number one in Australia. She followed it up the next two years with “Ships in the Night (1974) and “The Other Woman” (1975). In 1979, Lawrence released a disco album called Newborn Woman in 1979.

The Performance

On Friday, January 26th, you have the chance to see Vicki Lawrence & Mama at the Bankhead Theater. Ticket prices range from $50 to $100. Keep in mind that the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center offers student and active military prices for all performances. If you’re interested in booking these tickets, please call or visit the box office. We are happy to help.

The Bankhead Theater

There’s no other venue in the area quite like the Bankhead. For more than a decade, it’s welcomed a wide range of artists and audiences. Whether it’s live music, comedy, or theatre, the Bankhead provides a truly intimate experience for everyone. Our team at LVPAC understands that exposure to the arts has the potential to transform lives. It’s why our center for performing arts is dedicated to making the arts affordable and accessible.

The LVPAC Presents series includes more than 40 incredible performances throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in authentic western swing, classic rock, smooth jazz, world music, dance, acrobatics, or comedy, our performing arts center definitely has an event for you in 2018! Now is the perfect time to start taking in the arts.

Check out our events calendar for more upcoming performances.

Event Preview: Marc Cohn

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In a singularly intimate concert experience, Marc Cohn will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Grammy Award-winning debut album by performing it in its entirety, from the iconic opening track “Walking in Memphis,” to “True Companion,” accompanied by photos and video from his personal archives. Cohn, one of this generation’s most compelling singer/songwriters, is a natural storyteller with the precision of a brilliant tunesmith and the passion of a great soul man. He has the ability to balance the exuberant with the poignant and distill universal truths from real-life tales. Together with his special guests, legendary gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama, Cohn will share songs that have stood the test of time and have remained audience favorites for decades. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is excited to welcome Cohn to the Bankhead Theater in mid-January.

About Marc Cohn

Cohn learned to play guitar and started writing songs when he was in junior high school. He later taught himself to play the piano while attending Oberlin College. After transferring to UCLA and performing in Los Angeles-area coffeehouses, Cohn moved to New York City. He got started demoing songs for writers such as Jimmy Webb, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller. In 1987, Cohn performed two songs on the Phil Ramone-produced concept album of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, Music and Songs from Starlight Express.

Cohn served as a backing pianist for Tracy Chapman on her second album, which led him to his debut solo album two years later. Hit song “Walking in Memphis,” which was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal at the Grammy Award, put Cohn on the map. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in 1992 and certified Platinum in 1996. “True Companion,” a popular lovers song, even became the soundtrack to a marriage proposal aired on US television’s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. That year, Cohn won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

In 1993, Cohn released his second studio album, The Rainy Season. It included notables such as David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt. The album reached as high as number 63 on the charts. Two years later, Cohn wrote the song “My Great Escape” for the 1995 Peter Horton film The Cure. The song can be heard during the film’s opening sequence. Cohn released his third solo, Burning the Daze, in 1998. He was joined by several popular artists, including country music’s Rosanne Cash.   

Cohn had quite the year in 2005. For one thing, he compiled and self-released a live album called Live 04-05. In August, he was shot in the head during an attempted carjacking in Denver while on tour with Suzanne Vega. Cohn had to be hospitalized for observation but was released after eight hours. Doctors told Cohn he was “the luckiest unlucky guy they had met in a long, long time.” Such adversity, along with the events of Hurricane Katrina, contributed to the emotion that he introduced in the track “Dance Back from the Grave,” in Join the Parade.

From 2006 to 2016, Cohn released three compilations:

    • The Very Best of Marc Cohn (June 2006)
    • Listening Booth: 1970 (2010) – This was a collection of cover songs that were originally released during the titular year. The album peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200 chart. Cohn crosses genres from rock to soul to folk and pop in this album.
    • Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities (2016) – This was a collection of demos written and recorded more than 25 years before.

The Performance

Together with special guests Blind Boys of Alabama, Cohn will be appearing at the Bankhead Theater Friday, January 19th at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $60 to $110. Our center for performing arts is proud to offer student and active military prices for all performances. Please call or visit the box office to book these tickets.

From theatre performances to live music, the Bankhead provides a truly intimate experience for audiences and artists alike. Get your tickets today for Marc Cohn & Blind Boys of Alabama, as they’re expected to sell out quickly.

Don’t forget to check out our events calendar for other must-see performances in 2018!

Upcoming Events

Sat 20

Art & Wine Intertwined

Sat, October 20 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Sat 20

“Red” by John Logan

Sat, October 20 @ 8:00 pm
Sun 21

“Red” by John Logan

Sun, October 21 @ 3:00 pm
Wed 24

Showboat (1951)

Wed, October 24 @ 7:00 pm

Call 925.373.6800 or email websales@livermoreperformingarts.org for tickets and information