Plenty to sing about in Natchez

Published 12:03 am Sunday, May 13, 2018

The British have invaded and Salsa heated up the night this weekend. We hope you attended those two great performances and are ready to keep the good times going with this week’s upcoming events for the Natchez Festival of Music. First, a thank you to two very talented board members, Bob Sizemore and Paromita Saha-Killelea, who composed the script for The British Invasion II, and Lynn Wentworth, who reprised his role as Ed Sullivan for this really “Big Shoe!”

At 7 p.m. Tuesday is another “Rossini, Puccini, and Martinis” showcase. RPM, as it has become fondly known, features a baker’s dozen of talented singers: Ibukun Babalola, Wesley Barnett, Eric Botto, Eli Brand, Alexandra Camargo, Grace Denton, Hanif Lawrence, Phitchaya Muangsukham, Harlan Mapp, Punyanuch Pornsakupaisel, Llettesha Sylvester, David Walker and Danielle Watson. Thanks to Jeanie and Bazile Lanneau for hosting this event at Waverly Plantation, located at 790 U.S. 61 South. Admission: $15

Wednesday, it’s fingerpickin’ fun with Rockin’ on the River at Bowie’s from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Natchez native Matt Willis is this week’s crowd-pleaser with his unique fingerpicking blend of blues, Southern rock, country and soul.

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Willis recently moved back to Natchez where he has established himself as a local favorite playing freestyle blues, country and folk with fast rockabilly leads and bluesy flair along with his booming vocals reminiscent of The Allman Brothers. He can be seen sitting in with various bands or solo across the Southeast. Admission: $8

At 7 p.m. Thursday, First Presbyterian Church, 400 State Street, will host “The Two Faces of Bernstein: A Centennial Celebration of America’s Preeminent Renaissance Musician.” The talented Maryann Kyle and Ellen Elder will take the audience on a musical journey of one of the most profound musicians in American history, Leonard Bernstein, who was born in 1918 and went on to become one of the most prolific American composers of the 20th century. He was a true Renaissance man in terms of being a great musician, conductor and lecturer. The impact he has had on the nation’s musical journey over the past 100 years has catapulted us to where we are today in American classical music and musical theatre.  Admission: $15

Join us Friday for an evening event at The Towers, 801 Myrtle Ave., for “Almost Like Being In Love: An Evening of Lerner & Loewe” at 7 p.m. Admission is $100 and includes entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, and adult beverages. (Must be 21+ to attend.) Lyricist/librettist Alan Jay Lerner and his partner, composer Frederick Loewe, enjoyed an iconic career that spanned an incredible three decades. The talented Elana Gleason, Christina Overton, Peter Lake and Andrew Wannigman will treat us to music from blockbuster Broadway musicals, producing such hits as “Brigadoon,” “Paint Your Wagon,” “Camelot,” the movie musical “Gigi,” and their adored classic, “My Fair Lady.” Seating is limited so act soon.

Musical theater fans, get your tickets early for Saturday’s winner of four Tony Awards, “A Little Night Music.” I will have the honor of directing Stephen Sondheim’s amazing Broadway musical. Full of witty humor and heartbreaking moments of adoration, regret, and desire, the show contains one of the most well-known songs, “Send in the Clowns,” and explores the tangled web of affairs centered on an actress and all the men who love her. When she performs in one of their hometowns, their passion rekindles. The jealousy and suspicion begin as all of them come together for a weekend at a country estate. With all of them in the same place, new romances and second chances bring many surprises. Curtain call is 7 p.m. at Natchez Performing Arts Center at Margaret Martin, 64 Homochitto Street. The show begins at 7 p.m., but come early and enjoy a beverage in the Grape Escape Club Room starting at 6 p.m. Admission: $30.

Great children’s events are scheduled each Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 400 State Street. Admission is free. This Saturday is “A Musical Instrument Petting Zoo,” an interactive, hands-on musical experience letting kids see, touch and hear a variety of musical instruments.

More information is available at, or by calling 1-888-718-4253. Shows are every night Tuesday through Saturday. Tickets range from $8-$30. All events offer $10 for student K-12, adult with K-12 student, college and active military with a current ID.

Rob Mulholland is stage director of “A Little Night Music,” Natchez Festival of Music.