- By Robert Reid, Record staff
- Tue Feb 07 2012
After spending two years with Paul Simon and a year with The Beatles, Kevin Ramessar is hanging out with Neil Young.
The local guitar ace, composer and vocalist returns to the Registry Theatre for his annual tribute concert, which has become so popular it extends over two nights — Thursday, Feb. 9 and Friday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m.Ramessar had to move the dates forward because he is heading to Broadway in time for the opening-night preview of Jesus Christ Superstar.
The acclaimed Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera officially opens March 22 at the Neil Simon Theatre.
After closing its extended run in Stratford, the production, which is directed by Stratford artistic director Des McAnuff, moved to the La Jolla playhouse, in San Diego.
Ramessar is the only musician in the original Stratford orchestra, excluding musical director Rick Fox, to join much of the original cast in New York City.
“It worked out well,” he said. “It made sense for me to go.”
Stratford is staging four musicals this summer, including 42nd Street, The Pirates of Penzance, Wanderlustand You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which meant work closer to home for his musical colleagues.
“Everyone made their own decision,” he explains. “There’s not much of a call for contemporary guitarists at the festival.”
Ramessar has performed in The Big Apple a few times before, the last of which as an accompanist for Canadian jazz vocalist Kellylee Evans.
“This is my first time on Broadway. It’s pretty exciting.”
Ramessar considered putting together a second concert devoted to The Beatles, but abandoned the idea when the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Numus decided to do tributes.
“I decided to go somewhere else. Neil Young is such a wonderful Canadian talent and he’s written so many great songs.”
Although billed as Harvest, the concert is not restricted to songs from Young’s classic, 1972, acoustic album.
“We range over his whole career, concentrating on songs that lend themselves to interpretation and different arrangements,” he notes.
“We look at different Neils — the acoustic, solo Neil and the raucous, band Neil.”
Ramessar will be joined by pianist/vocalist Mike Janzen, bassist Mark McIntyre and drummer Giampaolo Scattozza.
Neil Young tribute concert
Thursday, Feb. 9 and Friday, Feb. 10
8 p.m.Registry Theatre, Kitchener
Tickets ($25) are available at the Centre in the Square box office at 519-578-1570 or online at www.centre-square.com