A Musical Salute To Paul Simon At The RTC
The Rockaway Café, has been an annual musical tradition at the Rockaway Theatre Company since 2000. This past weekend many of the talented singers, dancers and musicians, who have been part of this RTC tradition, joined together to honor musical great Paul Simon and to perform more than 30 songs spanning his 50 year career in the music industry.
The Rockaway Café features some of Rockaway's most talented youngster, many of whom are members of the RTC Children's Musical Theatre Workshops, who sang and danced along with Andrew Harwood and Matt Smilardi to Simon's "Cloudy" and "Was a Sunny Day." The children performed several other numbers.
The show featured a nine-piece band led by the talented Jeffrey Arzberger, who along with his wife and fellow musician, Heather, made all the musical arrangements for the show. The choreography was composed by Catherine Leib and Amanda Millwater.
When asked why the music of Paul Simon had been chosen as the subject of this year's Rockaway Café, director John Gilleece explained that he had been inspired by Paul Simon's music for years and had performed several of Simon and Garfunkel tunes with his twin brother over the years. "We all love the wide range of musical genres and vast array of musical influences incorporated into these songs," said Gilleece. "Given the personal connection that many members of the company feel to the man and his work, Paul Simon seemed a logical choice for this year's musical salute."
During the show, it is noted that Paul Simon is a graduate of Forest Hills High School, where four RTC Band members presently teach music. Almost all band members attended Paul Simon's Alma Mater, Queens College. Many of the tunes performed in the show are recognizable. Some of the obscure songs may not be as well known but are equally enjoyable. Rockaway Café '08: A Salute to Queens' Own Paul Simon can be seen at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden on Fridays and Saturdays, September 26 and 27, and October 3 and 4. There will be a matinee performance on Sunday, October 5 at 2 p.m. For more information or to make reservations, call the RTC hotline at 718-850-2450.