(This review appeared in Critics at Large last week, but the show was so good...here it is again!)
I never would have dreamed it. So how in the world did this happen? These guys weren’t even speaking to one another for years, decades even. Felix Cavaliere played a short set of familiar tunes in front of a band of hired guns at last year’s Hippie-Fest. Five or six songs is all, and he sounded in great voice. You-Tube videos showed Eddie Brigati re-tuning his vocal cords; and Dino Danelli together with Gene Cornish was on tour with The New Rascals. But this was the four guys together on one stage, like a real band, playing the hits (and the not quite hits) from fifty years ago. Felix, Eddie, Dino and Gene on stage at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. How in the world did this dream come true?
It’s all down to Steve Van Zandt, that’s right, Bruce Springsteen’s guitar playing pal, Tony Soprano’s right hand man, radio host, and all round music lover Miami Steve. After inducting the original four Rascals into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 by wearing the “Little Lord Fauntleroy” suits the band wore for their first television appearances, Van Zandt had an idea to get the band back together. It took him some time, funding the project with Kickstarter, and writing the show with enough political correctness to get the four feuding band members to agree to do it (but more about that later).
The show is called Once Upon a Dream and Van Zandt’s pitch for funding read like this: "To do justice to the Rascals importance, I've written a show for them that is just as unique as they are. It’s called "Once Upon a Dream". It's a combination of a Rock Concert and a Broadway show that will include their own live performance by the original four Rascals - Felix,