M&R Rush

M&R Rush

Provided

Of course, by now most Times readers have heard the joyous news that Star Plaza Theatre has gotten a reprieve from death row and will continue to provide the Region with top shelf entertainment.

Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge delighted in sharing the good news from the front of the stage last Thursday while midway through their show, which was very well attended by fans who snatched up tickets, fearing it was the last time they would see the legendary British band in the intimate confines of the Star Plaza. Edge remarked how the band delighted in returning regularly to perform there.

The good news "officially" made the front page last Friday, when under the emblazoned headline of -- "SHOW TO GO ON" -- Star Plaza's president, CEO, and talent buyer Charlie Blum was pictured sitting in the midst of the theater wearing a broad smile as the stage crew busily set up the stage behind him.

Although we have had a "happily ever after" conclusion to this story, it is important to remember how sobering the news was in August when word broke the theater had an April date with the wrecking ball. Let us not forget just how close we came to losing this historic building.

Perhaps too many of us took the Star Plaza Theatre for granted -- presuming it would always be there offering a plethora of top talents -- forgetting how since the Star opened its doors in 1979, many casinos have popped up with venues of their own to compete for the public's disposable entertainment dollars.

It is wonderful that Blum and the White family heard the Region's woeful lamenting and reevaluated the situation. They have recommitted themselves to the Region with the decision to keep the venue's doors open; but now the burden is on us -- the public -- to back up the tremendous outpouring of sentiment that influenced that decision, by stepping up and supporting the many diverse shows and events presented there.

Seeing a capacity crowd at last week's Moody Blues show and the sold-out audience on Saturday for the REO Speedwagon concert was a strong start in that direction, which hopefully will continue as more and more shows visit the Region.

In light of the recent passing of Dean White -- whose vision it was to build Star Plaza Theatre -- I think the re-birth of Star Plaza should be commemorated by rechristening the beloved venue in White's name.

MUSIC NOTES

• On Saturday, to celebrate Veterans Day Weekend, Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr. and The Hammond Parks & Recreation Department present "Veterans Appreciation Concert" at Hammond Civic Center (5825 Sohl Ave.) in Hammond.

Co-headlining are M&R Rush (classic rock) and The Dancing Noodles (R&B/Motown). Tickets for the all ages, general admission event are $10 cash or $12 credit. Tickets are free for active and retired military service people (with military I.D.). Parking is free. Tickets: GoHammond.com or (219) 853-6378.

• Region rock band Zodiac performs unplugged in its ZodiAcoustic format on Friday at Casa Del Mar (157 S. Franklin St.) in Valparaiso from 7-10 p.m. More: zodiac69.com.

• Chicagoland bluesman Lil' Ed Williams -- leader of the Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials (frequent favorites at Beer Geeks in Highland) -- will appear on TBS Network's "CONAN" on Nov. 15. The award-winning blues guitarist will sit in with Jimmy Vivino and The Basic Cable Band for the duration of the show. More: alligator.com.

• At 7 p.m. Saturday, Duo Del Sol -- Javier Orman (violin/vocals) from Uruguay and Tom Farrell (guitar) of Chicago -- offer up a high energy Latin/American violin and guitar concert with a mix of well-known tunes and a few originals. Duo Del Sol is the third in a series this season of four live concerts at Portage High School's East Auditorium (6450 U.S. Hwy. 6) in Portage, presented by Portage Township Live Entertainment Association (PTLEA). Free admission to students /$15 for adults. More: portagemusic.com or call (219) 762-5025.

• Regional singer/songwriters Al Rose and Steve Doyle open the 8 p.m. show for David Bromberg -- davidbromberg.net -- on Friday (11/11) at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music (4544 N Lincoln Ave.). Tickets: $45 More: oldtownschool.org or (773)728-6000.

 • Midwest music promoter, songwriter, book author and veteran -- Buddy Monaco of South Productions (SoPro) -- guests at 1 p.m. on Lakeshore Public Radio's weekly program, "A Look At The Arts," this Friday (11/10). The program will feature songs Monaco has written for and about military veterans, recorded by an All-Star Band of seasoned Chicago musicians. The program streams live at: lakeshorepublicmedia.org.

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Opinions are solely the writer's. Reach Tom Lounges at beatboss@aol.com.

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