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The group Riders in the Sky has been entertaining crowds since 1977 with cowboy music. In other words, you could say the band is knowledgeable about what they call the “cowboy way.”

It’s fitting that the group will bring a show saluting Roy Rogers to the McCallum Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Riders in the Sky includes Ranger Doug (Douglas Green), Too Slim (Fred LaBour), Joey the Cowpolka King (Joey Miskulin) and Woody Paul (Paul Chrisman). The group has also been a hit with children thanks to a contribution to the Toy Story soundtrack, an appearance on Barney and Friends and TV shows of the group’s own.

During a recent phone interview, Ranger Doug said the salute to Roy Rogers is based on a recently released album.

“We have a new album coming out called Riders in the Sky Salute Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys. We’ve been doing the whole tour this past summer and fall with that theme in mind,” he said. “We’ll be doing a lot of material from his movies and recording career. We’ll be showing two-minute clips of the movies and mixing that all in with our regular humor and the regular songs people have heard us play through the years.”

Riders in the Sky has done similar salutes to other figures in cowboy music and has covered a variety of classic cowboy songs. It makes sense the group would do the same for Roy Rogers.

“He was the king of the cowboys and our boyhood hero,” he said. “He and Gene Autry were pretty much the demigods of the singing cowboys. We saluted Gene Autry 10 years ago with an album of his tunes, and we felt it was the time to do it for Roy. A lot of people don’t realize that he was one of the founding members of the Sons of the Pioneers. He was with the group for four years before he broke into movies and as a solo artist.”

As for the show, he said many of the songs picked are from Rogers’ films.

“The focus will be on Roy Rogers, and some of the songs will be very familiar,” Ranger Doug said. “Don’t Fence Me In was the title of one of his movies. They didn’t have what you’d really call country music then, but he had more country hits than Bing Crosby had pop hits. There will be some more obscure things, too, and those are fun. We have a couple of real enjoyable things like ‘Hawaiian Cowboy’ and ‘A Gay Ranchero,’ which are movie titles from the ’40s. We started out with about 20 songs to choose from that we thought were interesting and fun.”

Ranger Doug said the members do all they can to keep shows fresh and new to them and to fans.

“There’s a lot of interplay that goes onstage that keeps it fresh for us,” he said. “We also rotate the material, and we don’t do the same show night after night—maybe a little bit more (of the same) in the case of the Roy Rogers tour, but there’s still plenty of flexibility. We take requests, and we feed off the audience; if someone says something funny or something strange happens, and we just roll with it. We always like to ad lib and be flexible. We like to play and we appreciate the fact that each of us does. Joey and Woody are brilliant improvisers, so there’s always some new musical candy you haven’t heard before.”

Each of the members of Riders in the Sky has a unique history. Fred LaBour (Too Slim) has a master’s degree in wildlife management from the University of Michigan, and was also a co-author of a satirical article about Paul McCartney that started the “Paul Is Dead” urban legend. Joey Miskulin (Joey the Cowpolka King) was a close friend of polka legend Frankie Yankovic; he formed a professional relationship with Yankovic when Miskulin was just a teenager. Paul Chrisman (Woody Paul) has a doctorate in physics from MIT. Ranger Doug has a master’s degree in literature from Vanderbilt University. In fact, he recently read his way through 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.

“Too Slim got me this book, 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, for Christmas one year. He knew I liked to keep a list of books, and I said, ‘I have a master’s, and I’ve read most of these things.’ Well, no,” he said with a laugh. “I had only read 249 of them. It became somewhat of a mission to knock them all down. I’m glad I did, because I’d never read any Charles Dickens before, except for A Tale of Two Cities. I ended up getting a whole lot of Dickens under my belt, and George Elliot; and I had read some of the hard stuff like James Joyce, but it was fun. Some of them I loved, and there were some new authors I found who were really fun, and some were like pulling teeth.”

The list includes four books by Thomas Pynchon, known for his unorthodox and confusing writing style.

“That’s a hard one to get your brain around. I fought that battle; yep, I sure did,” Ranger Doug said about the author’s works, with a laugh. “If I hadn’t been on this quest, I would have given up on it.”

Ranger Doug said it’s been a while since the Riders in the Sky went into the studio to record the group’s own works.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve done an album without a theme,” he said. “We recorded an inspirational album; we recorded an album with a symphony; and we recorded an album with Wilford Brimley, but we haven’t done just a regular Riders album in a number of years—an album where we mix our own tunes with stuff we’ve discovered, or the well-known stuff. … I’d like to do that again.”

“Riders in the Sky Salute Roy Rogers” takes place at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 15, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $17 to $47. For tickets or more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Previews

October is finally here, and that means the valley is starting to churn back to life after its summer slumber.

With help from the Independent and Chill Bar, I will once again be throwing a concert series to benefit the Community Food Bank at the LGBT Center of the Desert. The Oktoberfest Concert Series Benefiting the Community Food Bank at the Center will take place every Thursday in October at 9:30 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 1, Palm Desert band The Flusters will performing a modern take on vintage rock ’n’ roll and ’60s surf rock. On Thursday, Oct. 8, EeVaan Tre and the Show will be bringing its fantastic R&B and hip-hop sound back to Chill. On Thursday, Oct. 15, the high desert’s Gene Evaro and the Family will take the stage. On Thursday, Oct. 22, Tribesmen will play with special guest Venus and the Traps. On Thursday, Oct. 29, Hollace—winners of the recent Hood Bar and Pizza Battle of the Bands—will perform with special guest Johnny Elsewhere. A $5 donation is suggested; 21 and older. Chill Bar, 217 E. Arenas Road, Palm Springs; 760-327-1079; www.facebook.com/ChillBarPalmSprings.

You know season is here when the McCallum Theatre is open again, and the McCallum has some great events scheduled for October. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 11, Comedy Central’s Daniel Tosh will be performing. He’s calling his performance the “Tosh Saves the World Charity Show,” and proceeds will go to various charities. Ian Edwards, Tom Papa, Greg Hahn and Lachlan Patterson are also scheduled to appear. Tickets are $75. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23, prepare yourself: Bill Maher is coming back. Just a friendly warning: If you’re in the Fox News-viewing demographic, stay away from this show. Also, if you’re easily offended, Bill Maher will probably not be a good time. Tickets are $57 to $107. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24, get out your Stetsons, and shine up your boots, because Jason Petty is returning as Hank Williams in Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes. You’ll also be hearing tunes from Jimmie Rodgers, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb and George Jones. Tickets are $22 to $52. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino had a fabulous summer, and has a lot of other exciting things booked through the rest of the year. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 10, there will be a performance by Latin singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas. Venegas is a big name in her native Mexico, and has also found success internationally. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, sitcom star and comedian George Lopez (above) will be appearing. While Lopez has been wildly successful, he’s also known for explosive tweets on Twitter, including a “Fuck you!” response to a fan. Tickets are $49 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is definitely the place to be in October. While the Duran Duran show on Oct. 3 might be sold out, there are other events to consider. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, Blue Collar Comedy member Ron White will be appearing. “Tater Salad” has had quite a successful career—because he’s freaking hilarious. Tickets are $70 to $245. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, country singer-songwriter Frankie Ballard will take the stage. His career started after he won Kenny Chesney’s “Next Big Star” competition, and he has been rising steadily ever since. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23, The Tonight Show house band The Roots (above right) will be appearing. The Roots built their legacy on hip-hop and were an indie success; they are one of the few hip-hop acts to feature live instruments. They were the first hip-hop act I ever saw live in 1996. If you go see them, you’ll be blown away. Tickets are $55 to $75. Stay tuned to CVIndependent.com in October for an interview with The Hit Men (appearing Oct. 16) and a live review of Duran Duran’s show. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has a couple of events worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, Latin sensation Don Omar will perform. Billboard named Omar one of the top-selling Latin artists. He also appeared alongside Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in the Fast and Furious film franchise. Tickets are $54 to $84. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 10, check out a somewhat interesting event called Brenton Wood’s Love Jam. Wood was a modestly successful R&B/soul singer in the late ’60s. Also appearing will be the Zapp Band, who Dr. Dre sampled several times; Rose Royce; GQ; Atlantic Starr; Candyman; and Peaches and Herb. Tickets are $40 to $60. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has a busy month ahead. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, there will be another celebrity music show by The Kiefer Sutherland Band. That’s right—you read that correctly. After Macaulay Culkin’s rather awkward appearance last year at Pappy’s with his band The Pizza Underground, I hope Kiefer puts on an excellent show. Tickets are $15. Speaking of awkward … at 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 8, Daniel Romano and the Trilliums will be performing. After Romano’s excellent performance at Stagecoach in April, I had the opportunity to interview him—and, well, he was strange, distant and didn’t seem to like anything or anyone that particular day. He’s a brilliant performer, but skip trying to talk to him on the back patio at Pappy’s. Tickets are $12. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31, it’ll be that time of the year again: Gram Rabbit takes the stage at Pappy’s for the group’s usual Halloween shows. While Gram Rabbit has basically been on hiatus, front woman Jesika Von Rabbit recently toured with Eagles of Death Metal in the Midwest. Buy your tickets now, because it will sell out, and there will be a large crowd. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs is preparing for a busy fall. At 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 10, the “Gay Don Rickles,” Jason Stuart, will be performing with special guest, local (and friend) Shann Carr. Hopefully Stuart’s material isn’t as offensive as Rickles’ live album. Tickets are $25. Purple Room Palm Springs, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-322-4422; purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Tryst Lounge continues to host local bands. At 10 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13, Derek Jordan Gregg will be performing. At 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24, Spankshaft will take the stage. At 10 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 27, an act calling itself the Techno Hillbillies will play. All shows are free. Tryst Bar and Lounge, 188 S. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 760-832-6046; www.facebook.com/Trystpalmsprings.

The Date Shed has one intriguing event worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, post-grunge band Puddle of Mudd (below) will perform. During the early part of the last decade, the group had 15 minutes of fame. Alas, today, frontman Wes Scantlin is known to perform heavily intoxicated, or to lip-sync an entire show. Many of the band’s original members have run away from Puddle of Mudd. I will say that you should go to support local opening acts Mighty Jack and the Rebel Noise, given they both put on great shows. Tickets are $20 to $25. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

CV Rep Writers’ Drop-In Group

Andy Harmon facilitates this group for all writers who are interested in becoming better storytellers, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 13 and 27. $15 at the class. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

Doris and Me!—From CV Rep’s Cabaret Series

Back by popular demand, this tribute to Doris Day features Scott Dreier singing from the Doris Day songbook, at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20; and 2 p.m., Sunday, June 21. $25. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

A Funny Little Thing Called Love—From Desert Theatreworks

This Jones Hope Wooten comedy, featuring four tales, is all about that four letter word: L-O-V-E; at 7 p.m., Friday; and 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, from Friday, June 19, through Saturday, June 27. $26 regular; $24 seniors; $16 students with ID. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455; www.dtworks.org.

McCallum Theatre Institute’s 2015 Summer Session Festival

During the SHUFFLE Concert, a genre-bending chamber-music celebration, the audience chooses what pieces will be performed, at 3 p.m., Monday, June 15. $10 to $15. Argentine twin brothers Martin and Facundo Lombard are joined by five tango musicians for a concert experience based on Astor Piazzolla’s spirited Nuevo Tango in Lombard Plays Piazzolla, at 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 17. $10 to $15. David Gonzalez conjures up jazz-infused narratives in Mytholo-Jazz, at 3 p.m., Friday, June 19. $10 to $15. Three-performance pass $20 to $35. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood—From Theatre 29

This musical ends differently every night, depending on what the audience decides. A rowdy ensemble of actors mounts a staging of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel, and everyone is a suspect in the murder of young Edwin Drood; at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, June 27; there are also 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sunday, June 7 and 21. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Nicky as Carol—From Desert Rose Playhouse

Carol Channing impersonator Nicky Ciampoli performs a tribute show at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 6; and 2 p.m., Sunday, June 7. $25. At 69620 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

Sundays in Summer Series

Tish Oney performs in Divas and Masters of Jazz at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 7. Keisha D sings Keep Calm, It’s Just Love at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 14. We’re Still Here is a cabaret revue featuring Noni Lambertson, Marge Harris, Pat McCann, Patti Gallagher and Jean Sorf, at 2 p.m., June 21. Jeanne Page reworks the Great American Songbook in Reboot Live at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 28. Each show is $11; cash only at the box office. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-325-2731.

Published in Theater and Dance

La Cage Aux Folles—From Palm Canyon Theatre

Georges manages the Saint-Tropez nightclub, featuring drag entertainment. When Georges’ son brings home his fiancée’s ultra-conservative parents, things get crazy; at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, May 15, through Sunday, May 24. $32 to $36. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

CV Rep Writers’ Drop-In Group

Andy Harmon facilitates this group for all writers who are interested in becoming better storytellers, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 9 and 23. $15 at the class. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

Fiddler on the Roof

College of the Desert presents Fiddler on the Roof at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 30; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2; and 2 p.m., Sunday, May 3; $20 to $45. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Hold These Truths—From CV Rep

During World War II, university student Gordon Hirabayashi fights the U.S. government’s orders to relocate people of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. Gordon begins a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumph—and a confrontation with its failures; at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, through Sunday, May 3. $45. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

The Little Dog Laughed—From Desert Rose Playhouse

Mitchell Green is a movie star on the verge of hitting it big. One problem: His agent can’t seem to keep him in the closet; at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, May 17. $28 to $30. At 69620 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

The Magic Show

Dean Apple performs magic and illusions with FlowBox, Chazz and Minnie at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 22 and 23; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24. $20 to $25. At the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., Indio. 760-775-5200; www.indioperformingartscenter.org.

The Miracle Worker—From Desert Theatreworks

The classic play about the life of Helen Keller is performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday, from Friday, May 8, through Saturday, May 16. $26 regular; $24 seniors; $16 students with ID. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455; www.dtworks.org.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood—From Theatre 29

This musical ends differently every night, depending on what the audience decides. A rowdy ensemble of actors mounts a staging of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel, and everyone is a suspect in the murder of young Edwin Drood; at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from Friday, May 29, through Saturday, June 27; there are also 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sunday, June 7 and 21. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

The Sleeping Beauty—From CK Dance

CK Dance presents the storybook ballet at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 22; and 3 p.m., Saturday, May 23. $20 to $30. At the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www.psmuseum.org.

Wait Until Dark—From Theatre 29

An apartment in 1960s Greenwich Village becomes the site of theater’s most terrifying game of cat and mouse, at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, May 9; there is also a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 3. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Published in Theater and Dance

It’s been a fine year for the McCallum Theatre.

“This is one of the best seasons we’ve had in terms of artists—and financially, as well,” said Mitch Gershenfeld, the president, CEO and longtime booker of the McCallum. “Ticket sales have been very, very strong this year, considerably stronger than last year.”

The McCallum is winding down its wildly successful 2014-2015 season this month with just a handful shows, most notably the theater’s popular Open Call local talent competition (Thursday through Saturday, April 14-16). But all this leads to a question: How can Gershenfeld and the McCallum raise the bar next season?

The answer came over the weekend, when the McCallum released the schedule for the 2015-2016 season. Tickets went on sale today, and to raise that figurative bar, Gershenfeld looked east—specifically, all the way to Broadway.

The McCallum’s new season features eight Broadway and Broadway-style shows, with musical comedy classic 42nd Street (Nov. 24-29) and newly revived hit Pippin (Jan. 12-17, 2016) leading the way, followed by the ever-popular Jersey Boys (Feb. 16-21) and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (March 25-27).

Joining those shows are shorter runs of the 20th anniversary tour of Riverdance (Jan. 23 and 24), one-man comedy show Steve Solomon’s Cannoli, Latkes and Guilt (Feb. 12), the now-legendary The Producers (Feb. 27 and 28), and a brand-new McCallum production, Tribute to the Follies (March 10-11).

“This one of the strongest Broadway seasons we’ve ever had,” Gershenfeld said.

In particular, Gershenfeld said he was proud to nab Pippin, on its first national tour after winning four Tony Awards—including Best Revival of a Musical—in 2013.

“The production is so brilliantly done,” he said.

As for that Tribute to the Follies: Gershenfeld said the folks at the McCallum wanted to pay tribute to—and not imitate—the legendary Palm Springs Follies. Therefore, they assembled a show honoring not only the Palm Springs Follies, but theatrical revues including the Folies Bergère and the Ziegfeld Follies. Performers from the Palm Springs Follies will play a big part in the show.

“We’re doing three performances,” Gershenfeld said. “If people like it, we’ll do more next year.”

For a second year, Gershenfeld is offering his series of “Mitch’s Picks.” These are his personal selections of shows featuring unfamiliar or under-the-radar artists. (For what it’s worth, several of his picks for the soon-to-conclude season ended up being wildly successful: Tickets for 2Cellos and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain sold out well before show time.)

In something of a contradiction, his first pick features a fairly familiar name: Jane Lynch, who will be taking the stage on Nov. 14. The Glee star, known best for being a comedic actor, will be bringing to the McCallum stage her new solo-concert show, “See Jane Sing!”

“She has a wonderful cabaret act,” Gershenfeld said. “People don’t know her as a cabaret performer.”

Mitch’s other picks: Rebel organist Cameron Carpenter (Feb. 3); the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, a long-performing ensemble that plays songs from the 1920s and 1930s (Feb. 10); The von Trapps (yes, those von Trapps; March 2); and comedy violin-and-piano duo Igudesman and Joo (March 18).

Gershenfeld compared Carpenter to 2Cellos, but in reverse: While the 2Cellos guys look traditional, and use traditional instruments to play non-traditional (read: rock) music, Carpenter looks non-traditional, and uses a (sort of) traditional instrument (a souped-up organ, in his case) to play traditional (read: classical) music.

“He is known for his technical brilliance,” Gershenfeld said. “He plays Bach on an organ—but he is kind of a rebel and a bad boy. He’s very flamboyant. He’s … developed an organ that has electric elements to it. It’s like an organ on steroids.”

All of the usual McCallum staples are back for another year, including five shows as part of Fitz’s Jazz Café (curated by Easy 103’s Jim Fitzgerald), four “Keyboard Conversations With Jeffrey Siegel,” and McCallum’s season-opener, the Fourth Annual Family Fun Day, starring lots of animals and ventriloquist Kevin Johnson, on Sunday, Oct. 18.

Something new this year: Frank Sinatra would have turned 100 in December, so the McCallum is celebrating the legend with several shows, including Frank Sinatra Jr. in “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” (Feb. 5 and 6), and Steve Lawrence paying tribute to his longtime friend on Feb. 14.

“More than any other singer alive today, Steve Lawrence is the personification of the Great American Songbook,” Gershenfeld said.

Of course, Gershenfeld is not done with the 2015-2016 schedule; in fact, he’d booked another show on the day we spoke to him, he said.

“I’ve pretty much filled the calendar,” he said. “There will probably be another six to 10 shows added to the season.”

In other words … stay tuned.

Tickets for the McCallum Theatre’s 2015-2016 season are now on sale. Visit www.mccallumtheatre.com for details.

Published in Local Fun

August: Osage County—From Palm Canyon Theatre

The Weston family members are all intelligent, sensitive creatures who have the uncanny ability to make each other miserable. When the patriarch mysteriously vanishes, the Weston clan gathers to simultaneously support and attack one another; at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, April 3 and 4; and 2 p.m., Sunday, April 5. $28. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

Buyer and Cellar—From Coyote Stageworks

Emerson Collins (Sordid Lives) stars in the comedy Buyer and Cellar, which focuses on the price of fame, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, through Sunday, April 5. $45 to $60. At the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-318-0024; www.coyotestageworks.org.

Diva Dish! The Second Helping—From Desert Rose Playhouse

Luke Yankee stars in this one-man show featuring anecdotes about various celebrities, at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4; and 2 p.m., Sunday, April 5. $28 to $30. At 69620 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

Hold These Truths—From CV Rep

During World War II in Seattle, university student Gordon Hirabayashi fights the U.S. government’s orders to relocate people of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. Gordon begins a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumph—and a confrontation with its failures; at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Wednesday, April 15, through Sunday, May 3. $45; $40 previews on April 15 and 16; $55 April 17 opening night; no matinee on April 18. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

The Little Dog Laughed—From Desert Rose Playhouse

Mitchell Green is a movie star who is on the verge of hitting it big. One problem: His agent can’t seem to keep him in the closet; the show takes place at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, April 17, through Sunday, May 17. $28 to $30. At 69620 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

Man of La Mancha—From Palm Canyon Theatre

While awaiting a hearing with the Inquisition, Cervantes presents a play as his defense in a mock trial for the prisoners; at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, April 17, through Sunday, April 26. $32 to $36. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

McCallum Theatre

Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye takes place at 8 p.m., Monday, March 30, through Saturday, April 4, with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 4; $35 to $95. College of the Desert presents Fiddler on the Roof at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 30; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2; and 2 p.m., Sunday, May 3; $20 to $45. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Miss Gulch Returns—From Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

Jerome Elliott stars in this Palm Springs premiere of “a musical comedy valentine to the romantically disenfranchised,” at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, April 17, through Sunday, April 26. $22, with discounts. At the Pearl McManus Theater in the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-565-2476; www.detctheatre.org.

Psycho Beach Party—From Desert Theatreworks

It’s 1962, and Chicklet just wants to be a surfer—but her multiple personalities keep getting in the way; at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 19. $25 regular; $23 seniors; $15 students with ID. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455; www.dtworks.org.

Seventh Annual Play Reading Festival—From Dezart Performs

After screening submissions from around the country and world, Dezart Performs offers staged readings of selected plays—and the audience helps choose which one will receive a full production next season; at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from Friday, April 3, through Saturday, April 11. $10; $34 for a festival pass. At the Pearl McManus Theater in the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179; dezartperforms.org.

That Cancer Show!—From Script2Stage2Screen

Joni Hilton’s comedy-musical about cancer is directed by Gina Bikales; at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 3; and 2 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 4. $10. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage. 760-345-7938; www.script2stage2screen.com.

Wait Until Dark—From Theatre 29

An apartment in 1960s Greenwich Village becomes the site of theater’s most terrifying game of cat and mouse, at 7 pm., Friday and Saturday, from Friday, April 10, through Saturday, May 9; there are also 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sunday, April 19 and May 3. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Published in Theater and Dance

It’s that time of the year again: Coachella and Stagecoach are here, and things are crazy before the season begins to wind down. Consider April to be last call before the summer heat comes.

I will be throwing my third NestEggg Food Bank Benefit Show, this time at the Coachella Valley Art Scene, at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4. On the bill: John Robbins, The Rebel Noise, Alchemy and CIVX. There will also be a closing DJ set by Pedro Le Bass. The Rebel Noise and CIVX have recently had to reshape after changes to their lineups—but both bands are back and sound great. There will also be raffle items. Admission is $10, and all proceeds go to the NestEggg Food Bank. Coachella Valley Art Scene, 68571 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City; www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com.

The McCallum Theatre is concluding its season with a couple of great locally focused events. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 11, the McCallum will host a special anniversary gala for the The Desert Symphony. The gala will be hosted by Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame. Tickets are $65 to $125. At 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, Jewish Family Service of the Desert will be presenting Michael Childers’ production of One Night Only, which features music from the ’60s. Tickets are $75 to $195. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino will host Marie Osmond at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4. She performed with her brother Donny under the name “Donny and Marie”; that led to a variety show during the late ’70s. She’s recorded 35-plus albums and has appeared on Broadway. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25, Earth, Wind and Fire (first below) will be performing. One of those disco groups that defied “Death to Disco,” EW&F has been inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, earned eight Grammy awards and sold 90 million albums worldwide. Tickets are $49 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa only has one big music event scheduled in April, but it’s a good one: At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4, it’ll be time to boogie with Kool and the Gang. Since 1964, the band has sold 70 million albums worldwide. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has a couple of events worth mentioning in April. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 3, you can enjoy a personal evening with Barbara Eden (above right), of I Dream of Jeannie fame. The actress has had an acting career for six decades—and she has a lot of stories to tell. Tickets are $25. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 18, R&B singer Keith Sweat will be stopping by. With several hit singles in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Sweat became a household name. Tickets are $30 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is the place to be in April. At 9 p.m., Friday, April 3, Lily Tomlin will be performing. She’s as busy as ever, with rumors of a possible 9 to 5 sequel and various television appearances. This is a great time to see her live. Tickets are $49 to $59. You’ll be happy to know Margaret Cho will be returning to the area at 9 p.m., Friday, April 24. The Korean comedienne includes anecdotes from her family and personal issues in her comedy. Just a warning: She can get raunchy. Tickets are $35 to $45. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace looks ready to open the outdoor stage for the spring/summer season, so there are probably some great outdoor shows coming. At 7 p.m., Saturday, April 11, The Evangenitals will be returning to Pappy’s for a free show. If you missed them back in December, don’t miss them again. I can guarantee there will be plenty of laughs. At 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, Jenny Lewis will be performing in between Coachella performances. Tickets are $25. At 7 p.m., Thursday, April 16, Jamie xx from The xx will be performing. Tickets are $35 to $45. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The LED Day Club will be featuring performances during both weekends of Coachella at the Hilton Palm Springs. On Thursday, April 9, Chromeo will be doing a DJ set; on Friday, April 10, Panda Funk will be appearing; on Saturday, April 11, Odesza will be doing a DJ set; on Sunday, April 12, Flosstradamus will be appearing. On Thursday, April 16, CHVRCHES will be doing a DJ set; on Friday, April 17, Porter Robinson will be doing a DJ set; on Saturday, April 18, Skrillex and “friends” will be appearing (that guy has friends?); and on Sunday, April 19, DJ Snake will perform. A four-day pass to the event is $125 per weekend (which is really not bad); day passes vary. Hilton Palm Springs, 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; leddayclub.frontgatetickets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has a couple of notable events taking place in April. At 6 p.m., Thursday, April 9, Fishbone will be performing at an outdoor show. The Pedestrians, which now features Machin’s David Macias on guitar, will be opening. Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door. My suggestion: Get your tickets now! Remember McLovin from Superbad? Or “The Motherfucker” in Kick-Ass? Well, Christopher Mintz-Plasse will be bringing his band Bear on Fire (second below) to The Hood at 9 p.m., Saturday, April 18. Local bands Caxton and War Drum will also be on the bill, and admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews

The Broadway production of Jekyll and Hyde helped launch the career of Linda Eder—a career that has taken her to venues such as Carnegie Hall and includes 15 solo albums.

Eder will be appearing at the McCallum Theatre on Wednesday, March 25.

Born in Tucson, Ariz., Eder was raised in Central Minnesota. As a child, she discovered Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Eileen Farrell as inspirations. She began singing in clubs in the late ‘80s and found herself competing on Star Search in 1988—where she won 12 weeks in a row.

“I started singing professionally right out of high school, so I had been singing for about six years when I did Star Search,” she said during a recent phone interview. For me, it was excellent, because I never lost, and I went undefeated. I was very lucky, and it felt as if it was meant to be. It’s hard to explain, but my goal originally was just to win one show, and it just kept rolling along and rolling along. It just felt like that was the course I was meant to be on.”

Eder said the pressure on Star Search was at times overwhelming.

“There’s a lot of pressure, and what’s really unnatural about it is it’s hard enough to perform in front of an audience, and when you know you have four judges out there … with the idea of putting you through or eliminating you, it just magnifies that so many times over. It’s quite a horrible experience, in many ways. … I watched so many people lose.”

Eder said she would not want to be a performer on American Idol or The Voice.

“That would be really hard. When I was on Star Search, they could only judge you with one through four stars, and they wouldn’t talk to you or criticize you, or anything like that. Nowadays, with having to draw a fan base and deal with judges like Simon Cowell, that has to be horrible.”

Thanks in part to Star Search, Eder caught the attention of Frank Wildhorn, the playwright of Svengali and later Jekyll and Hyde. Eder appeared in both, and she signed her first record deal with BMG Records.

“Frank … was starting work on Jekyll and Hyde. He asked me if I was interested in doing theater, and that’s how that whole thing got going,” she said. “Again, it felt like a natural progression. I loved theater, and that was like stepping into it without going through the ranks, going to auditions—fighting to get your chance and your Equity card. That was all handed to me on a platter and was written for me. That was a fairy-tale way of being introduced to Broadway.”

Eder shined in the role of Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde.

“How could I not enjoy being in the role? They created it for me when I came on board; the songs were written for me, and the role was very much tailored around me,” she said. “It was a wonderful experience. … I started singing right out of high school. We did this year long pre-Broadway tour, and I believe those are my college years, because I was part of a group of people my age, and we were traveling around the country, playing a week in each city. It was a wonderful and fun time in my life.”

Eder released her first album in 1991.

“It’s very ’70s pop,” Eder said with a laugh. “This whole career for me was just a pipe dream for me. I never thought I’d be singing professionally in a million years and that I would get the nerve to do it. For me to even have a career is pretty amazing to me. I didn’t think in those terms, and I always thought, ‘What’s the next big mountain to climb?’ or, ‘What’s the next small mountain to climb?’ … I guess I wasn’t really looking at it in that bigger sense.”

Eder said there’s one song in life that she’s very passionate about, which she always includes in her concerts: Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“I do that song at the end of every show, and that’s my encore,” she said. “I do sort of a sad version of it, but that’s just a classic song. That one gets me every time.”

Outside of music, Eder hosted a special on Animal Planet called Trail Mix that featured her talking to various musicians who were horse-lovers, including Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sheryl Crow, LeAnn Rimes and others.

“I’ve always been a horse-lover, and I’ve had horses all of my life. Years back, I met a woman who was running Animal Planet, and she wanted more horse programming on there, and she was a fan of mine,” Eder said. “We became friends she said, ‘… Why don’t you come up with an idea?’ I thought about it more and more, and I came up with the idea of interviewing people who are singers who are horse-lovers. … You get their story, and they’re talking about the horse, and it gives them a sense of freedom, and you see them differently.”

Today, Eder is releasing all of her albums independently.

“I’ve been part of labels for so long, and the last few records that I did, I almost wish I wasn’t with a label, because it’s just not lucrative any more, and they’re really not putting a lot of money behind promoting it. I really wasn’t that happy,” she said.

Eder said the freedom of being an independent artist has been liberating.

“I finally did it. It’s been very successful, and it’s so much fun,” she said. “I just put out one last summer that’s my first live CD, and I never did a live CD before. It’s sort of like a version of (the 1987 film) Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, where we’re doing it ourselves. I have some help from friends who work for me on my website and help me get the records out there. But I would say that three quarters of these CDs, I’m taking to the post office myself. It’s really fun, and I charge good money for them. It’s been very successful, and I’m planning to do several more.

Linda Eder will perform at 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $35 to $85. For tickets or more information, call (760) 340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Previews

Laurence Luckinbill was originally supposed to perform his one-man show Teddy Tonight! at the McCallum Theatre a year ago.

That didn’t happen.

“I broke a bone in my foot—a nothing bone, a tiny bone,” Luckinbill told me over breakfast at The Palms Café in Rancho Mirage on a recent windy morning. “That transmuted into a four-inch tear of the lateralis muscle in my thigh. I would up spending two weeks in the hospital, right when I was supposed to get going.”

As a result, Luckinbill, 80, had to cancel the show, during which he plays Theodore Roosevelt on one of the former president’s most trying days. However, Luckinbill has now recovered—and he gained a greater understanding of himself in the process, he said.

“My own spirit said, ‘You need to take stock. You need to change,’” Luckinbill said.

He’s slated to finally perform Teddy Tonight! at the McCallum on Thursday, March 19.

The one-man show is one of five in his arsenal; these shows mark the latest chapter in a long and fruitful career by the actor and author, who not too long ago made the Palm Springs area his home, along with his wife, Lucie Arnaz (the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz).

Luckinbill has been acting since the 1960s, and has had success in movies, on TV and in the theater world. He may be best known as one of the stars of the groundbreaking 1970 film The Boys in the Band; he also has an Emmy Award win and a Tony Award nomination to his credit.

However, Luckinbill’s career did not make him a household name—and he’s OK with that. He said that whenever an opportunity came along to take his career to the next level, “various things in (his) nature” kept him from doing so. For example, he decided he wanted his children to go to school somewhere besides Los Angeles, so that meant moving away from Hollywood.

“I did what I could have done,” he said about his career.

He got his start doing one-man shows in the mid-1980s, when producer David Susskind challenged Luckinbill to play President Lyndon B. Johnson in a PBS special. He initially refused.

“I hate the son of a bitch,” he said he told Susskind. “He responded, ‘You’re going to change!’”

Luckinbill indeed changed, and came to an “understanding” regarding Johnson, he said. Luckinbill would go on to have a great deal of success with the LBJ show, and later began doing a second show as Clarence Darrow, the famous defense attorney in the Scopes Monkey Trial. He performed both of these shows at the LBJ Presidential Library, and gained the respect of Harry Middleton, the library’s director. When the library decided to do a show on Teddy Roosevelt, Middleton called Luckinbill, and asked: Got anything?

“There were a couple of plays out there. They were really unexciting, basically chronologies,” Luckinbill said.

Luckinbill decided to research Roosevelt himself, and headed to the library; he wound up with 35 books. However, he could not find any inspiration, he said, until he opened the last book, My Brother Theodore Roosevelt, by Roosevelt’s sister, Corinne Roosevelt Robinson.

“I thought it would be nothing but treacle,” Luckinbill said. “I started reading it, and that’s truly what it was.”

Well, that’s mostly what it was: Turns out the book included an anecdote that would become the motivation for and provide the plot of Teddy Tonight!

In July 1918, Roosevelt was slated to give a speech in Saratoga, N.Y. However, before the speech, Roosevelt received word that the plane flown by his son Quentin had been shot down over France, during World War I.

“When he got to the place to speak, he had his speech written out … but he didn’t finish it,” he said. “He put it aside and spoke from his heart about what we owe to veterans, these young boys who go out to die for us.

“I thought: This is the motivation. This is what motivates the man.”

Luckinbill said he now considers Roosevelt to be his “inspiration.” Luckinbill noted that when Roosevelt was in the White House, his children would sometimes interrupt cabinet meetings—and that Roosevelt would actually cut short those meetings so he could play with his kids.

“This is a man to me,” Luckinbill said. “This is the real thing.”

In addition to the shows on Johnson, Darrow and Roosevelt, Luckinbill also does a one-man show as Ernest Hemingway, and is working on refining The Abraham and Larry Show, in which he plays both himself and the biblical figure. He hinted that he’s also thinking about another biblical figure for a possible sixth play in his one-man-show arsenal.

But for now, Luckinbill is focusing on Teddy Roosevelt. He promised his McCallum audience would develop a greater appreciation for the man who was our 26th president.

“(The audience) will see Teddy in full oratorical mode, and … the most intimate and hurting side of Roosevelt,” Luckinbill said. “They will see a man fighting to keep his composure and do his public duty as the foundation of his family has been challenged in the most fundamental way by the death of his son.”

Teddy Tonight!, starring Laurence Luckinbill, will be performed at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 19, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $15 to $65. For tickets or more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Theater and Dance

Singer-songwriter Don McLean is best known for his 1971 hit single “American Pie”—but he’s enjoyed a string of other hits throughout his career.

After appearing at Stagecoach last year and stopping in Riverside last summer for a show, he’ll be returning to the area—specifically, the McCallum Theatre—on Tuesday, March 17.

During a recent phone interview, McLean was quick to answer my questions; in fact, he often started answering before I finished asking—hinting that after 45 years in the music industry, he feels like he’s heard it all.

McLean has been open about the fact that he suffers from asthma.

“If you have asthma, you’re always an asthmatic,” McLean said. “Some people have bronchial asthma when they’re young. In my case, I had bronchial tubes that were not the proper size. When they spasm, you have terrible attacks, and it leads to pneumonia, and sometimes, you can die. I’ve had that happen many of times, and a few times, I was close to death. When you get to puberty, if you’re lucky, the bronchial tubes enlarge to the proper size, and you can outgrow the asthma. You still get spasms, but it doesn’t close everything off.”

McLean said that despite his asthma, he was involved with a swim team. That led, indirectly, to an interest in singing.

“I was on this swimming team at a beach club we belonged to for a few years. I had these very difficult workouts, and I learned to suffer doing these workouts,” he said. “… It changed the whole breathing situation, and I also gravitated toward opera and singers like Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins and people who could really sing. I wasn’t interested in the singing of Bob Dylan and people who talked lyrics. I loved the breathing, and it all sort of came together.”

While McLean was at Villanova University, he met the singer-songwriter Jim Croce, and the two became close friends before they entered the music industry.

“I think about him sometimes,” McLean said. “Two guys who I knew pretty well were Jim Croce and Harry Chapin. Harry Chapin, and I never want to disparage the dead, but he was not a great artist; he was a very aggressive, hard-working person who wanted success very much. He was very image-conscious. He did very well, and he had a good heart. Jim Croce was a real star. He was very humorous, and he knew what a hit record was. In my guess, if he would have lived as long as I have, he would be bigger than most people—he would have 30 to 40 hit records. A hit record is a special thing, and he knew what it was.”

McLean emphasized that Croce was a unique and kind person.

“He was still in Philadelphia when I was No. 1 on the charts,” McLean said. “… He was a very nice person, and he was also a very humane individual. He actually had a degree in psychology, and maybe even a master’s in psychology. He wanted to work with troubled children, and he had such a big heart. It was a big loss.”

Croce died in a plane crash in 1973 at the age of 30.

On the subject of “American Pie,” McLean has probably heard every conceivable question about the famous song. I brought up the subject of the song’s manuscript heading to the Christie’s auction block in April, with an estimated price of $1.5 million, and I mentioned the song has references to topics beyond Buddy Holly and “the day the music died.” McLean stopped me right there.

“I’ll just tell you this: All these years, people have made ‘American Pie’ like a parlor game: ‘Who is this and who is that?’ And if you see the manuscript … you’ll see that I’m just writing this image and this stream. I don’t have anything like, ‘This is this person, and that is that person.’ It’s poetry. … Romance and poetry are under attack in the world by technology. It’s happening very fast. The beautiful English language—words, subtlety and also the dramatic things we use these days, they’re all being destroyed by this Pac-Man of technology, aided and abetted by rap music, which is a cultural virus of some kind. That’s where we are now. We’re in a very dark place, and it will in the future put us in a dark age that can last for a very long time, artistically.”

Another one of McLean’s well-known songs is “Jerusalem,” a 1981 work about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I sing it every night,” he said. “You might say Jerusalem is the blasting cap for the end of the world. Whatever goes on there will eventually determine what happens to the human race, which is interesting, because it’s biblical, and it gives the Bible a lot more power than you might think it has. When I was there, and when I was singing around there for a few years, I realized every type of religion has a home there. The Israelis try to make it theirs, and it isn’t really theirs; it belongs to every religion.”

McLean is not a “one-hit wonder,” as many people call him—and he wanted to make it clear he’s thrived artistically in the years since “American Pie.”

“I want to clarify that I’ve had other albums that went gold, and albums that have went gold around the world. In Australia, for example, my first 10 albums were gold,” he said. “The Best of Don McLean also went gold. The reason I bring that up is because that allows a lot of people to hear many songs that are on that record. They go to the concert when they see my name. I don’t sell out stadiums, but I do lovely theaters where it’s 1,000 to 2,000 seats, sometimes more than that. … (My fans) listen to all the songs on the record. They want to hear songs like ‘Sister Fatima,’ ‘Babylon,’ ‘Winterwood,’ ‘Dreidel,’ ‘Mountains o’ Mourne’ and so on. If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have a career. Just because everybody loves a certain song doesn’t really mean anything, and it never really meant anything to me. I never liked the Beatles’ ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’—I hated it, actually, but I loved some of the other songs, and I loved them.”

McLean said he enjoys touring and performing in front of audiences.

“I’m going to be 70 this year, and I’m going to keep going,” he said. “I sing hard, and I have hard songs to sing; I don’t sing easy songs. I have to keep in shape, but I’m enjoying every minute of it, and I enjoy bringing music to young people and having them hear songs I’ve written and the songs I sing.”

Don McLean will perform at 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $25 to $65. For tickets or more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Previews