News Column

Soul men: Performance to feature songs and humor of the original Blues Brothers.

November 15, 2013


Nov. 15--They're on a mission from God. There just may be a few detours along the way and a car crash or two.

The Official Blues Brothers Revue comes to York on Saturday at the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center and will feature Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty as the iconic characters Jake and Elwood Blues.

"The show has all the mayhem and comedy from [the Blues Brothers] and of course the music," Lafferty said.

The live concert show combines the comedy and hit songs from the original 1980 hit film, as well as the five albums released by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, and includes Blues Brothers classics such as "Soul Man," "Rubber Biscuit" and "Gimme Some Lovin." Lafferty said audiences often get up and sing along-something the perfomers readily invite.

"There's definitely a lot of audience participation," he said. "But only if they want to-if the music moves them and they feel like getting up and letting it take over them."

Classic characters:Catania and Lafferty first reprised the roles of the cult-classics in the Las Vegas stage show "Legends in Concert." The pair seemed naturally suited for the roles-Catania bearing a natural resemblence to the late John Belushi, the original actor who portrayed Joliet Jake, and Lafferty having toured the Toronto blues circuit where he gained a reputation for his melodic harmonica lines and soulful vocals.

Film producer Paul Jay of A&E Network approached them after a show with the idea to follow the pair and shoot a docudrama for the network. "Lost in Vegas" caught the attention of Judy Belushi Pisano and Victor Pisano, who were looking to cast a stage musical revival of the Blues Brothers at the time. The Pisano's asked the pair to drive to Chicago and audition for the roles.

"We learned that day how hard it is to do what John and Dan did," Judy Belushi Pisano said in a press release. "Nobody had the whole package until Kieron and Wayne arrived."

Following the reviews of the successful stage musical, Lafferty and Catania decided to put together the revue with the support of Judy Belushi Pisano and Aykroyd. After the show's popularity in the U.S. and Canada, the duo took the show down under for a 25-city tour in Australia.

"We learn a little something each time we perform the show," Lafferty said. "We change things, we grow, and the show is constantly developing."

Produced by Aykroyd, Judy Belushi Pisano and original Blues Brothers musical director Paul Shaffer, the show also features an eight-piece intercontinental rhythm and blues band that pays homage to Chicago's musical history of blues, gospel and soul music.

"We've got so many outstanding performers with us," Lafferty said. The list includes Ebony Taylor, niece of Chicago blues legend Koko Taylor, who has led vocals on Aretha Franklin's hit, "Think," at several shows.

The group's most recent tour launched in September, with stops scheduled in 30 cities throughout the country.

Suiting up:Before each show, Lafferty said he'll suit up, turn up the blues and eat two slices of dry white toast to prepare.

"The music definitely helps you feel that role," he said. The Blues Brothers' show in York will be part of a charity event-a portion of all ticket sales will benefit the Jewish Family Services of York.

JFS of York, a social service agency founded in 1988, provides comprehensive and personalized services to the community, such as a food pantry, geriatric care management and a safety net program, without regard to religious affiliation.

Deena Gross, marketing coordinator for JFS of York, said the organization was looking for a musical act that would draw a large, diverse audience. When they heard The Official Blues Brothers Revue would be coming to York, they thought it would be a perfect fit.

"We thought it would be great, it draws all kinds of people and we thought it would be fun," Gross said. "A lot of the people who use our services also grew up with the Blues Brothers."

Pairing percussion, pandemonium and philathropy, the show fits the spirit of the original Blues Brothers.

"They're the sociopaths with a heart of gold," Lafferty said.

Reach Amy Peiffer at

Chase the 'Blues'

"The Official Blues Brothers Revue" will be at the PUllo Family Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

Tickets range from $37-$47.

For more information or to purchase tickets contact the Pullo Center box office at (717)505-8900 or visit


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