Alhambra Theatre After Dark Review: WILLIE, REBA & The Boys!

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW

WILLIE AND REBA AT ALHAMBRA After Dark Theatre, Jacksonville, Florida

Alhambra Theatre and Dining continues its popular Alhambra After Dark Series with six evening performances of “Willie, Reba & the Boys!” which opened September 27, 2017, and will remain on-stage through October 1, 2017. The opening performance was sold out. To purchase tickets for the remainder of the run, call 904-641-1212 or visit alhambrajax.com. Availability is limited.

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This tribute show featured Roger Hegyi as Willie Nelson and Corrie Sachs as Reba McEntire. Roger Hegyi has been performing as a singer and guitarist for forty years throughout the United States. Corrie Sachs frequently performs in Las Vegas and other Southwestern venues and was inducted into the Las Vegas Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2011. Both are considered among the best of the tribute artists in the business and we truly felt we were listening to Wille and Reba in person.

The first act featured Sacks as Reba in fourteen songs which included such favorites as “Rocky Top,” “Fancy,” and the iconic “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia.” She has an assured voice and is a dynamic and versatile performer, whose work delighted the audience.

The act included Debra Hammons Bailey Rider as a backup singer. She has local ties, as she graduated from Fletcher High School, and received a music degree from the University of North Florida. She has an impressive resume that includes touring and singing backup with rock bank Lynyrd Skynyrd. She joined Sachs in “Does He Love You,” and can those ladies SING!!!

WILLIE AND REBA AT ALHAMBRA After Dark Theatre, Jacksonville, Florida

The second act featured Hegyi as Willie in nineteen songs which included such well-known hits as “Always on My Mind,” “City of New Orleans,” “Crazy,” and “Georgia.” During one of his musings, Hegyi featured bass guitarist Cliff Saunders in a duet “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.” The other members of this outstanding band were Johnny Higgins (Keyboards), David Terry (Drums), and Mike Fleetwood (Guitar).

Both Willie and Reba know how to work an audience and the performers had us laughing at humorous stories and ad-libs. On a more serious note, as Willie paid tribute to the American Flag (displayed on stage) the audience rose to join him.

When you think of the Alhambra you always think of great entertainment, but the food is equally impressive and Chef DeJuan Roy cooked up a great menu for this show. Entrée choices included Cajun Chicken Pasta, Fried Shrimp Dinner, BBQ Pulled Pork, and Roasted Vegetable Pita.

WILLIE AND REBA AT ALHAMBRA After Dark Theatre, Jacksonville, Florida

The evening was thoroughly enjoyable, and a bargain as well. Out of curiosity, we checked on the current pricing for shows by Willie and Reba, both of whom are performing in several concerts. In venues as intimate as the Alhambra’s, the ticket price hovers around $100 for tickets, which unlike the Alhambra, doesn’t include a great gourmet dinner.

The next Alhambra After Dark program features Rainere Martin as Donna Summer and Jourdan Carroll as Barry White on stage during November 15 – 19 in a trip back to the disco and soul era. The cost is $64 for the show and dinner; parking is free. The run includes two matinee performances. For reservations, call 641-1212 or visit alhambrajax.com.

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.

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