SURREY — Direct from Vegas comes a show featuring four guys singing pop songs made popular several decades ago.
If it sounds familiar, “Four By Four” has it covered.
The music of the Beach Boys, Beatles, Bee Gees, Motown – it’s all performed in the touring show, currently crossing Canada prior to stopping at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre on Friday, Nov. 11.
The hit-filled production is very much rooted in Sin City, a place that cast member Taylor Campbell has called home since birth.
The Now caught up with the singer/actor/dancer during a phone call last week, in a bid to learn more about “Four By Four” and the art of singing such golden-oldie songs.
“We were put together here by a production company called Chapquist Entertainment, the same one that does ‘Oh What A Night!,’ the successful Frankie Valli tribute show,” Campbell explained.
He’s very familiar with ‘Oh What a Night!’ because he’s in that production, too, and performed it at Surrey’s Bell in November of 2013.
“(Chapquist) decided to keep a similar blueprint and expand it a bit to include other music of the ’60s and ’70s, with more variety,” Campbell continued.
“I was lucky to be asked to be in the original cast of ‘Four By Four,’ which has been going since May of last year. I know they’re really trying to get it on cruise ships like they did with ‘Oh What a Night!’, which will very likely happen soon, but the first big exposure for ‘Four By Four’ was last year when we did a huge six-week, coast-to-coast tour of Canada, and it was really well received, and that’s why we’re back this year.”
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The show’s current tour, presented by Rocksland Entertainment, began in New Brunswick on Oct. 27 and rolls through a number of B.C. cities over the coming week.
With such a Baby Boomer-pleasing show, it can be difficult to rise above the many competitors out on the road.
“I think what’s fun about our show is not just the variety and how we hit on each of these groups who were so wildly successful and have so many great hits, it’s that we’re not necessarily trying to imitate them, not trying to be them,” Campbell said. “You know, we use our own names on stage, we play ourselves, but it’s still a scripted show. We tell jokes, we tell stories about how some of these songs came to be, so I think all of that makes it kind of personal.
“The other thing is,” he added, “I’m lucky enough to work with three really, really talented actors and singers and dancers, and we all genuinely like each other and get along offstage and onstage and try to make a unique connection with the audience each and every night. Because we use our own names and honestly really love the music we’re performing, it makes a personal connection with our audiences.”
Campbell caught the song-and-dance bug before he enrolled in the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts, where he learned the craft well enough to make a career of it.
“I was born and raised here, but my parents were both transplants – mom was from Kansas and dad from Utah. They were both from small towns and wanted to come to a new place and start over, and that’s what brought them here,” Campbell related.
“I did have the luxury of having parents who appreciated the arts and I did have the chance to go to some amazing shows on the Strip, but I don’t know if that’s exactly why I got into performing arts. It definitely helped, and I got into doing community theatre here when I was eight or nine years old, and it went from a fun hobby and exercise into something I wanted to do as a career.”
With “Four By Four,” costume changes are required for the show’s four sections.
“The challenging part,” he said, “is vocally going from one section to the other, because each of the groups is so different, stylistically and in terms of range, so going from the mellow sound of the Beatles into the high falsettos of the Bee Gees and onto the beautiful complex harmonies of the Beach Boys, that can be difficult, especially when you’re performing almost every night.”
For Campbell, a show highlight is when he has the spotlight for “Yesterday.”
“I grew up a huge Beatles fan and I love Paul McCartney,” he said. “That’s one of the first songs we come out of the gate with, and it’s just such an introspective, soft song, and I enjoy connecting with the audience on that one.
“We like to stress too that it’s a family-friendly show,” Campbell added. “Obviously it’s going to appeal the most to people who grew up with this music, but these songs are everywhere in pop culture now, on the radio and TV, so even the youngest audience members know and enjoy the songs.”
Tickets for “Four By Four” are $60 each via the venue website, Bellperformingartscentre.com, or call 604-507-6355. Show time on Nov. 11 is 7 p.m.