Flashback is one week away…check out this awesome video from one of our final blocking sessions and gives you a sneak peek at what we have in store for the show at the Bloomington Center for the Arts starting June 8!
Welcome to Flashback
This show begins with stuffed peppers. My stepmom, Cyndy would make them every weekend – and they were good, people – blue-ribbon-at-the-state-fair good. To this day, even though Cyndy is gone, whenever I smell the rich, herbal aroma of stuffed peppers, see one behind the counter of deli, or read about them on a restaurant menu, I think of Cyndy: carefully lifting one out of the pyrex with a spatula and a fork to put on my plate. That is what I call a Flashback: something simple that brings back a memory or a story. For me, it’s Cyndy’s stuffed peppers. For others, it might be a butterfly in the garden or the sound of rain on an attic roof. Memories are potent, powerful things.
Not only will you hear the A&K members’ heartwarming and touching personal Flashbacks but we will be honoring the memory of brilliant artists who left us to soon: think Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin, John Lennon or Amy Winehouse – artists whose legacy lives far beyond their years on earth.
2017 Show: “Unsung Heroes” — A MUSICAL THEATER EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER!The rockin senior ensemble, 65-92 years young, presented an ALL NEW show, that was an eclectic blend of popular songs from contemporary artists combined with heartfelt, honest and raw emotion-filled personal stories from our senior cast. It truly was an ethereal experience that captivated and exhilarated!
Click the picture below to see footage from the show:
Many, many thanks to those who joined us and to those who were with us in spirit. It was a show we will never forget. We honored our personal HEROES and lifted voices to celebrate the personal hero in all of us. Several of the cast members were able to pull off the ultimate surprise on their heroes who came to see a performance only to learn they too were part of the show! We met many new friends, reunited with some of our “#1 Fan Clubs” (LOVE THAT!), AND rocked the socks off nearly 3,000 audience members! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We can’t wait to do it again!
THANK YOU! AND PEACE OUT.
“The 60’s” was a powerful vibe of music, touching personal stories about living in the 60’s and being over the age of 60. Alive & Kickin performed to more than 2,800 people over the two-week run. Every performance was a sell-out audience with multiple standing ovations and many first-time visitors. We are left humbled and inspired. We have heard from many of you – in emails, after the show and on our Facebook, this was a “MUST SEE” experience that touched hearts of all ages. Many thanks to our amazing sponsors who made this one of our best shows yet, Bloomington Center for the Arts, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Very Special Arts, Lunds/Bylery’s, Hubbard Broadcasting/myTalk 107.1fm, Dunn & Semington Printers, and most importantly THANK YOU for joining us at the theater and online for the ride. We WILL show the nation that SENIORS ROCK!
Michael, Heather & Jason
“Heartwarming & Inspirational.”
“An Experience Like No Other.”
Connecting with our fans is just one more perk of leading a rockin roll senior ensemble. The interesting characters, the talent, the stories and kindness keep us all motivated to bring our inspirational message to the masses. We are continually trying to find ways to connect with fans and an event that continues to be super successful each year is the Cast Party.
This is a hot ticket event and can only be won through a drawing at our annual June show at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. Last summer 16 lucky winners joined the rowdy A&K cast & crew for a night on the town.
Bunny’s was the place to be – good food and music and the joint felt an electric vibe. Each table was filled including a noisy bunch of sharply dressed black, white and red dressed seniors in the VIP lounge. Alive & Kickin welcomed our guests, shared good stories and had a night to remember.
One of our winners, “Superfan Roseanne from Cologne”, said “I think I was supposed to be there that night. I was so honored to hang out and get to know the cast. It really helped me opened up my quiet life to a group of people filled with joy.”
After much laughter and a few slices of pizza later, a connection was made. Alive & Kickin was getting set to do a photoshoot and needed a space. “How do you feel about chickens?” Roseanne asked, “Love them,” Michael replied.
As Roseanne proceeded to describe her fantastic rolling landscape complete with wooded walking trails, overlooking beautiful Beven’s Creek, we knew her farm could be a perfect location for us. The location ended up to be even better setting in real life. In the meantime, the rest of the team worked on the details – gathering costumes, organizing rides for the cast, craft services and more…then we were set for our adventure.
As a side note, part of the success of organization comes from the professional and business community who go out of their way to donate their time and talents. They all tell us they do it to show to the world that seniors have something to say and that their voice matters. It’s inspirational and humbling to say the least. We will let you know more about these amazing people in weeks to come. For now, back to the story…
Nearly an hour south of the cities, we arrived on the farm on a crisp autumn Saturday and got right to work. Roseanne welcomed us into her entire home plus the 60 expansive acres, complete with barn, chicken coop, Isa the dog, and a super cool 1960’s motorcycle. Our motley cast and crew arrive with 7 costume bins, three make-up bags, thermoses filled with coffee and a first aid kit, “Just in case”.
The day unfolded like a well oiled machine as we had worked to have all the details laid out ahead of time. (This is especially important when your cast has mobility challenges.)
We left some room for creative expression and ideas from the team and found ourselves in pathways, sitting on boulders, holding chickens and laughing by the fire. “I came outside to let everyone know lunch was ready and found 9 senior citizens laying on the ground in the middle of my sunflower patch,” said Roseanne.
Tom and Jeffrey were the masterminds putting together the shot at the last stop in the day and it turned out to be a favorite amongst the many shots. Ladders and laughter and more. It ended with Michael saying, “Who’s going to help Darrel up?” Good times.
Photoshoots are labor intensive and costly but we believe it’s worth it for a few reasons. One, we couldn’t resist once we saw what our friend, Rich (another angel we will tell you about later) had put together for the costumes. Second, it’s hard to capture in words what a moving and surprising experience the show is for audience members. We tried to capture this through visual expression this year. Not to mention…how can you resist an outing to the farm!
Thanks for reading about our adventure. Our next one is coming up in May. Click here to JOIN US!! Also, we’d love to hear from you – any time and about any thing…Seniors Rock and we want to hear what you have to say! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more behind the scenes shots follow us on Facebook.
To purchase tickets to the June show, please click here or call 952. 563.8575
On Stage with Alison Scott
We rocked the house last night at “Alison Scott’s Soulful Christmas”, a holiday tradition for fans across the midwest. The wonderful experience started from the moment our directors, cast & crew walked in the door. Michael helped set the stage and warm-ups ran smoothly as well. Alive & Kickin was in the house and we were ready to shake the rafters as Alison’s guests.
All of us were blown away by the show’s beautiful mix of real soul music and Christmas cheer. It’s true, that audiences can’t get enough of her flavor. Alison had great new original holiday songs mixed with creative reinterpreted classics, and touching real life Christmas stories. We accompanied her on several songs and also performed a few Alive & Kickin favorites as well.
We wrapped the show and it was a night we soon wont forget. Many thanks to our musician friends, new fans, superfans who came to see us and our invaluable volunteers!
Alison’s BIO: Alison Scott is the strongest voice to come out of Minneapolis in many ye
ars and her soulful, organic sound has quietly built a very large and loyal following. True music lovers have always responded to an amazing voice singing great songs, and they always will- from Aretha to Adele, this is timeless music that transcends style and fashion, something for the silent majority of listeners who aren’t interested in fluffy pop OR the trendy flavor of the month. Working with multi-platinum guitarist/producer Kevin Bowe (Paul Westerberg, Etta James, Jonny Lang), drummer Peter Anderson (Polara, Honeydogs), bassist Justin Rieken, Alison has become one of the most popular live acts in Minneapolis; she has sold out the Dakota Jazz Club over a 15 shows in a row, and is now filling 500 seat theaters. Alison’s releases have sold over 15,000 units and counting. She has 5 albums out to date, including the holiday album she released in conjunction with her first holiday tour in 2013. Since then Scott has spent a lot of time in the studio crafting her newest album, STONE COLD LOVE, which she released on August 21st and 22nd to sold out crowds at The Dakota Jazz Club. For more on Alison Scott click here.
Please consider a donation to Alive & Kickin today.
Seniors have laid the groundwork for me, for all of us, to enjoy the freedoms and social understandings that we do today. Please join me honoring their work and the lessons your grandparents have provided by financially supporting our next endeavors. We are looking to provide more senior programming and increased accessibility to underserved communities. We’ve set our goal at raising $50,000 before the end of this year. Here are some examples of what your dollars can do:
- $50 supplies a senior cast member with sheet music for the year
- $250 covers the cost of sponsoring 10 group home residents to attend our annual June show
- $500 partially covers cast transportation costs to performance sites outside the Twin Cities
- $1,000 allows Alive & Kickin to perform at an underserved senior care facility
- $1,500 would allow us to buy our own portable defibrillator, essential to cast safety
Please help us achieve our year-end goal and donate today. Thank you for supporting us in redefining what it means to be a senior, for touching so many lives, and for giving seniors a voice!
Michael Matthew Ferrell, Founder & Artistic Director
Tax deductible donations can be made online or by sending a check to:
Alive & Kickin, 1015 N. 4th Ave, #205, Minneapolis, MN 55405
ALIVE & KICKIN & BLOOMINGTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS PRESENT
“WINDS OF CHANGE”, JUNE 5-14, 2015
(MINNEAPOLIS)—Alive & Kickin, the beloved twenty-eight member senior ensemble, led by award-winning Artistic Director Michael Matthew Ferrell and Co-creator/Musical Director Jason Hansen, is set to launch their full-scale theatrical event, “Winds of Change”. The show is a heartwarming performance filled with captivating personal stories about social advancements set to inspiring music of the ages performed by a cast unlike any you’ve ever seen before.
Alive & Kickin is comprised of musically talented individuals that are as unique and special as the stories they tell. Cast members range in age from 65 to 91 years young and each member brings a unique look at the world as it was and is today.
“Winds of Change” is a captivating all-ages show that blends history and storytelling with music as eclectic as Lady Gaga, Queen and Cole Porter. The ensemble received raucous standing ovations during their performance with myTalk 107.1FM at the Pantages Theater last fall and rocked the house alongside numerous local music luminaries – including GB Leighton, Erin Schwab and Ben Bakken – at the Varsity Theater this past winter. Cherry and Spoon theater review reported: “..the women and men of Alive & Kickin are most definitely awesome.“
Alive & Kickin is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to give voice to seniors through live theater performances, community outreach and educational programming. The group, founded and led by Ivey award-winning Artistic Director Michael Matthew Ferrell, known for his work with Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company and Theater Latté Da, among others, brings together the top Twin Cities professionals in the theater and music scenes to support the cast.
The powerhouse production team includes Co-creator/Musical Director, Jason Hansen, of the Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things, and the Children’s Theater Company, among others, to work musically with the cast as well as the professional musicians who will perform at “Winds of Change”. The band’s members, comprised of saxophonist David Wright, bass guitarist Andrew Forman, rhythm guitarist Troy Hemmer and drummer Paul Hill, can be seen around town each week working at a variety of professional gigs. “The cast deserves the best”, said Ferrell, who works tirelessly to find and book the best videographer, lighting designer, sound designer and stage manager in town for Alive & Kickin.
The management team for the organization is just as impressive, with a working board comprised of Stan Rein, a Harvard Law graduate and retired Dorsey & Whitney partner; Wendy Blackshaw, Senior VP of Marketing/Sales, Super Bowl Minneapolis Host Committee; Jan Preble, VP of Programs for The Wasie Foundation; Dan Seeman, VP of Hubbard Broadcasting; and Peter Rothstein, co-founder and Artistic Director of Theater Latté Da.
Winds of Change is co-created and directed by Ferrell & Hansen, but the message and content is designed exclusively by the seniors themselves. “We concept the piece and determine the music a full year before the performance even takes place”, said Hansen. “Michael and I then begin the once a week, 4 hour musical rehearsal process with the cast members.” Each cast member is tasked with learning more than 20 songs for the event. “It’s amazing how the weekly rehearsals and our high expectations have improved members of the cast both mentally and physically,” said Hansen. After observing a 2012 Alive & Kickin rehearsal, Graydon Royce, reporter and theater critic for the Star Tribune wrote, “With Alive & Kickin an audience celebrates the determination to perform and to inspire. There is something universal in the performing arts that we often don’t name, but I believe that something is a human need to make joyful noise and be recognized.”
The seniors are each asked to write a story that relates to the theme of the upcoming show. Each cast member’s written piece is then reviewed and refined in collaboration with Ferrell. “It is an honor to work on these personal pieces of history with them”, said Ferrell. “This generation has been completely instrumental in positive social change for our country and beyond. They are the founding mothers and fathers for changing everything from women’s rights to technological advancements. To think about how much positive social change has happened in the past 50 years alone is astounding and personally moving to me. This is a way for us to honor and celebrate the progress.”
“Winds of Change” is a highly creative show, starring cast members ranging in age from 65 to 91 years young that celebrates and reflects social change that moved us and honors innovative artists who stirred up the music scene. “Prepare for an explosive ride of emotions,” said Ferrell; “there is usually never a dry eye in the house.” Most people who leave the theater after an Alive & Kickin show report that it’s one of those ‘you had to see that to believe it’ events, as pictures and video just cannot captive the magic of the experience. This all-ages show will touch your heart and take you through a moving musical journey of progress 90 years in the making. Tickets are available now at www.aliveandkickinmn.org, by phone at 952-563-8575 or in person at the box office.
Alive & Kickin and Bloomington Center for the Arts present
Winds Of Change
1800 West Old Shakopee Road
Bloomington, MN 55431
June 5, 6, 12, 13 @ 7:30pm
& 7, 11, 14 @ 2:00pm
Tickets: Adults $29, Seniors and Students $26
Opening Night & Champagne Gala After Party – June 5
Tickets: Adults $36, Seniors and Students $33
Talk Back Session with Alive & Kickin – June 7
ASL Interpreted Performance – June 13
About Alive & Kickin
Alive & Kickin gives voice to seniors through personal story and popular song, empowering its members to entertain and enlighten multi-generational audiences. This highly inspirational group of spirited, charismatic seniors spread their musical message as they explore contemporary genres of music ranging from rock & roll to pop, gospel and Motown. The group, led by Ivey Award winning Director/Choreographer Michael Matthew Ferrell and co-creator and Musical Director Jason Hansen, has been welcomed into the professional world of the Twin Cities’ musical theater scene at renowned theater spaces and tours around the state at various senior facilities.
About Bloomington Center for the Arts
The Bloomington Center for the Arts is a focal point for the performing and visual arts for thousands of people in Bloomington and surrounding communities. The Center for the Arts includes two theaters, two galleries, a dance studio and rehearsal space, art classrooms and offices for the facility’s seven resident arts organizations. It is used by the City and the community for arts activities, City functions and private rentals.
“Duets” by Alive & Kickin at the Varsity Theater
Alive & Kickin is billed as “the Twin Cities’ premiere rockin’ senior ensemble group.” I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of competition in that category, but the women and men of Alive & Kickin’ are most definitely awesome. For the past five years, Michael Matthew Ferrell (Theater Latte Da’s resident choreographer) has led this talented group of singers ranging in age from 60s to 90s, with music direction by Jason Hansen. With talent like that behind them, this group is no joke. They sing a variety of classic rock and pop songs, or as this musical theater geek likes to call them, Glee songs. In fact, Michael Matthew Ferrell is a little like the Mr. Schuester of senior citizens. I imagine them gathered in their choir room every week, learning a life lesson through the music of Queen or Katie Perry or Lady Gaga. Except in this case, it’s the seniors who are the teachers with their years of life experience. One of Alive & Kickin’s goals is to give voice to senior citizens, an important but often ignored segment of our society. This week they performed at the Varsity Theater with some of the Twin Cities’ top talent from the world of music and theater, sponsored and emceed by myTalk 107.1, to raise money for a permanent choir room, er… rehearsal space.
Highlights of the show include:
- The rock songs like “Stayin’ Alive” and “I Love Rock and Roll” are fun, but the quieter “Blowin’ in the Wind” really showcased the talent of these singers, joined in beautiful harmony. The epic song “Bohemian Rhapsody” was also a treat!
- In addition to singing, two of the senior shared their inspirational stories that remind us just how much we still have to learn from our elders, including one man’s experiences in Vietnam in 1969, and a woman growing up in the segregated South.
- It’s a near impossible task to upstage the hilarious powerhouse Erin Schwab, but 90-year-old Katherine did just that in their duet of “Rehab.” Later, Erin took the stage alone in a very funny “dirty song” about a dentist.
- Damn that Ben Bakken can sing! I almost forget, until I see him again, what a powerful rock voice he has, in this case on the Glee songs “Dream On” and “Somebody to Love.” I wonder if he’s ever played Roger in RENT? I bet his “One Song Glory” is quite something.
- A couple of music/theater crossovers in Lisa Pallen (of Belladiva) and Michelle Carter wowed with such songs as “I Wanna Know What Love Is” and “A Change is Gonna Come.”
- Two greats from the local music scene, neither of which I’ve seen live before but both of whom I’ve heard of, loaned their considerable music talent to the event. Brian Leighton (aka GB Leighton) is kind of like Minnesota’s Springsteen, singing an original song and a cover of “Lean on Me” with the ensemble. Allison Scott has a gorgeously soulful and sultry voice, singing “Waterfalls” and “Piece of My Heart,” back by the Alive & Kickin’ women.
- The band, led by Jason Hansen, is pretty awesome too. Sax, electric guitar, tambourine, so much enthusiasm and great support of the singers!
- A big part of the fun of watching Alive & Kickin’ is Michael Matthew Ferrell’s unique direction style. Part interpretive dance, part cheerleader, part expressive conductor, and all energy. It’s obvious he cares a lot about his seniors and making them look and sound the best they can.