Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 • Variety show mimics the Ed Sullivan Show

It is becoming an annual favorite, and the sold-out seats prove it. The Ed Susanville Show is a nice break from the winter blahs and the Lassen Arts Council does a nice job bringing back the retro feel of the 1960s Ed Sullivan Show, a Sunday night TV favorite for millions of Americans.

Doug Sheehy hosts the show by impersonating the legendary newsman turned TV host, Ed Sullivan and for those in the audience who were old enough to remember Sullivan or have seen him in reruns, Sheehy does a very good job matching Sullivan’s mannerisms. At times Sheehy took artistic license adding to the already humorous memories of the stoic Sullivan.

The show started with the Susanville City Rockettes. The young ladies, who dance under the direction of Jessica Newton, did a nice job imitating the New York City Rockettes, a mainstay of early TV.

Because of last minute cancellations and illness of several acts, several Ed Susanville entertainers performed in both acts. The Blue Garter Gang took the audience back to the beginning of jazz or blue grass with their New Orleans style of playing. Most of the members of The Blue Garter Gang also play in the Susanville Symphony Society Orchestra. Young Country, a group made of early teens, did a nice job singing songs of from the days of early country.

8 O’clock Jazz also added foot tapping sounds to the Veterans Memorial Hall on Saturday, Jan. 23. Greg Dood, bass player for 8 O’Clock Jazz, showed extra talent when the group played his original composition “Por que Mio.” The song had a ripping drum solo that rocked the house. No doubt Todd “Doc” Murray can play.

Jason Wheeler, Stephen Cramer, Jon France and Julie Newton added their own flair to the show with solo performances that showcased their style of singing. Wheeler sang a country-style ballad about coming home from war. Cramer sang a folk tune with a humorous theme and France sang one of old-blue eyes Frank Sinatra’s famous tunes, “Luck Be a Lady.” Julie Newton filled in at the last minute singing a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Tallon Sandoval, an 8th-grader at Janesville School, showed the audience why he keeps winning at state and national fiddle competitions. What looks like a violin sure sounds different when Sandoval picks up the bow. Charlie Daniels and Doug Kershaw would be proud.

What was to be a battle of the trumpets turned out to be a trumpet solo by Ben Wade when his counterpart Christina Quigley couldn’t make the show. Wade had not more than two hours before hand flown in from Louisville, Kentucky.

Dance performers were always are part of the original Ed Sullivan show. Susanville has many dance performers that would have no trouble getting a spot on the legends show. Seane McElrath and Pandemonium performed amazing hip-hop moves. Their dance brought down the house. Jessica Newton and James Fegan performed a beautiful and sensual modern dance number.

Local talent doesn’t only include dance, music and singing. Talent includes comedy as well, and Pat Shillito made the audience laugh with his funny stories of Susanville.

Also, talent includes dramatic readings and Mark Sanders brought tears to many eyes as he read “High Flight” while Jason Wheeler played a on keyboard a piece of music he wrote. “High Flight” is a poem written by a Canadian Airman three days before he died.

A favorite of most who attended the Ed Susanville Show was a reading of an African sermon by Elgin Cannon. Cannon’s reading was on the creation of the world. Adding to the drama of the sermon, Cannon had Bob Souter on trumpet and Fred Walton on saxophone play improvisational sounds to the reading. Another crowd favorite is Penny Lane, a local Beatle tribute band.

Jeff and Matt Pregill provided the lighting. Dave Besancon engineered the sound. Tom Williams provided the sound. Corey O’Brien was the grip. O’Brien and Alyse Ashley set up the hall.