The signs taped to the doors at Killeen’s Vive Les Arts Theatre said it all: “Sold Out.” Inside, the Wednesday evening rehearsal of “Legends: Motown” took shape with singers clustered around the five musicians onstage.
First up was VLA board member Toschia Moffett singing “Endless Love” with Mitch Connell, director of the show. A fellow board member, Connell also plays keyboards and sings.
“I’ve done 30 shows here,” he said between acts. “We chose 18 singers from 30 who auditioned, and I’ve written the horn parts for the band. I’ve called the Austin musicians’ union for a trumpet player, and most of the music is like the (original) recordings.”
VLA stalwart Jim Wrex assisted in the musical preparation for the one-night-only show, Connell said. The performance is a fundraiser for VLA and includes a reception.
Another VLA board member, Hayley Dugger, was chosen for “Legends.” She’s directed and acted in many shows at the nonprofit, and is director for the upcoming “Dora the Explorer” for the children’s theater program.
Austin Fields plays guitar, Charles Reid III is on drums and John Deane performs on bass guitar as the singers, “from age 21 on into their 60s,” rotate singing parts, Connell said.
“I started singing in church, back in Arkansas, when I was 10 years old,” Shenika Green said. “I’ve been in Killeen since 1999. Old school R&B is what I love and a friend told me about the ‘Legends’ audition. I was surprised I made the cut.”
Singing lead, her vocal chops and exuberance are obvious on Diana Ross’ 1980 Motown hit “I’m Comin’ Out.”
The show is a concert presentation rather than a theatrical experience, and acts will be introduced without set changes. There is no intermission, and the evening concludes with an all-cast sing along of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Connell said.
Rashad Holmes took a break from “I Heard it On The Grapevine” to describe his musical background. “I began singing in church, minored in music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, performed in Orlando, Fla., at Disney. I sang for ‘American Idol’ in San Antonio and made it through to the judges, which was a great experience.”
Holmes may have some preshow jitters, but it’s not for the usual reasons. “We’re expecting our first baby any day — I just hope it’s not Saturday night.”