The USO Show, scheduled for Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11, at the Palace Theatre is an up-beat, fun-filled, living-history variety show that features local, talented performers portraying the widest variety of vocal stars, comedians, and historic radio and TV personalities from the WWII, Korean War, and Viet Nam War eras.
Featured will be some of your favorite local performers portraying the stars from those decades so you do not want to miss this year’s Show.
Bob Hope, the show’s master of ceremonies, will be portrayed by the popular Panama Jack, radio personality from 102.5 WOW Country’s “Morning Moo Crew” with Ronni Chase.
Panama Jack became a radio Disk Jockey at age 15 in Stockton, CA, and claims that he is one of the few remaining DJs in America who actually used to “spin vinyl.”
Theater and concert goers will readily recognize the accomplished Brenda Frye who was recently seen at the Cumberland County Playhouse as Mother Superior in “The Sound of Music.” Other CCP performances include “Carousel,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “An Evening with Brenda Frye and Weslie Webster,” as well as several others. As an opera singer, Brenda has performed throughout the United States. The USO Show audience will be privileged to see her debut performance as the iconic Kate Smith at the Palace Theatre.
D. J. Garrison, also a favorite entertainer, will portray Bobby Darin and Elvis. D.J. has entertained audiences for more than 30 years on the road as well as locally in Crossville, Fairfield Glade, and the area. Many folks enjoy his and wife Donna’s “Karaoke Party” in Fairfield Glade on Tuesdays each week at the Legends at Stonehenge Golf Club. Their performance style is enjoyed on many other occasions throughout the year in Fairfield Glade and the local area.
Greg and Lindy Pendzick, both stars at the Cumberland County Playhouse for several seasons, will entertain the audience with a lively rendition of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John’s “You’re the One that I Want” from the movie “Grease.” In addition, Greg will interpret Jimmy Cagney’s song, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” from the movie “George M,” and for her solo number, Lindy will sing “Walkin’ after Midnight,” the song that launched Patsy Cline’s rise to stardom.
he ever popular Terri Utsey, another Crossville and area favorite, will wow the USO Show audience as Betty Hutton, singing “Orange-Colored Sky” in Hutton’s upbeat style. Utsey, who has delighted audiences at the Palace as “Polly Periwinkle,” will also put on her “Phyllis Diller” persona and outrageous outfit to trade barbs with “Bob Hope” and reveal a few of her “beauty secrets” to the women in the audience. Terri will also team with the talented Tony Zarola for their unique version of “Summertime.”
Other local favorites, Terry Ashburn and Marty Gibson, known as “The Relics,” will interpret the songs of the ever-popular Everly Brothers. Both Ashburn and Gibson have a large faithful audience each Thursday evening at Las Margueritas where they sing popular favorites, accompanied by their excellent guitar-strumming. Students and parents alike will remember each musician from his earlier days teaching in the Cumberland County Schools.
Ruth Lucas, who many will recognize from performances at the Fair Park Senior Center, the annual “Lucas and Friends Christmas Variety Show” at the Palace, private parties, and other venues in town, will thrill the USO Show audience with her sultry rendition of Marilyn Monroe’s “I Wanna Be Loved by You.” Marilyn’s performance is a must see, especially if you missed her earlier performances for the troops in Korea.
Regina Stephens and Rusty McClanahan are also two of the area’s favorite entertainers with many loyal followers. Regina is co-owner of R&B Restaurant on Peavine Road. Many enjoy her “Dinner and a Show” events at the R&B where she features talented entertainers along with her own renditions of popular favorite songs, both recent and past. She also performs with the Big Band Sound Orchestra and was a featured vocalist with the Big South Fork Opry at the Palace.
Rusty McClanahan currently sings male vocal lead with the Swing Street Big Band that performs for dances and concerts in Cookeville, Crossville, and other communities in the area. Rusty has been seen by theater goers on the Cumberland Playhouse stage in “Guys and Dolls” and “Captains Courageous.” “Rusty Groupies” have also enjoyed his melodious crooning in over 15 shows at the Palace and the “Watts Belle” riverboat.
Many in the USO Show audience will recognize the talented guitarist and singer Tony Zarola from appearances at the Art Circle Library, the Palace, and other events in town. Tony is an accomplished guitarist with a huge repertoire ranging from Flamenco to Country songs. He will excite the audience as Jim Croce, who sings about a rough guy he met in a bar after work, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
Friends and family of Aaron Ingram and Matt Page, Ray Brigance, and Fred Summers will delight in their portrayals of “Simon and Garfunkel,” “Hank Williams,” and “George Jones.” Others who have never heard them perform will be entertained as well.
The 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. shows will cheer the audience with their favorite songs and jokes from the past and entertainment that will evoke a spirit of American patriotism.
The USO Show is presented by The Crab-Orchard Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate Veterans Day and to pay tribute to our veterans who have ensured our Freedoms by their willingness to defend our country in spite of their own personal sacrifices.
Tickets are selling fast, and since last year’s shows were sold out, you need to get your $12 reserved-seat tickets now on sale at the Palace Theatre or online at the Palace’s website at www.palacetheatre-crossville.com.