Downtown Newburyport is about to enter the Eddie Stellerman zone.
The Grog restaurant will be transformed into a fictitious jazz nightclub on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1947 when The Eddie Stellerman Night Club Show visits on Saturday.
“It’s an old-fashioned nightclub show that nobody else is doing right now,” said Paul Prue, who plays Eddie Stellerman and came up with the whole idea a little over a year ago. “Everything is fictitious. But when you come to the show, you really do feel like you’re back in 1947.”
Part nightclub act, part theater, the idea came to Prue when he saw an opportunity to do something that isn’t being done anymore.
“As a musician and as someone who likes to go out and see a lot of music, I’m getting bored with watching four or five people onstage not doing anything,” Prue said. “The music may be great, but there’s nothing going on on that stage. So I thought it would be nice to have a really nice nightclub show.”
The show employs several people to create its illusion, including Prue, who plays the host; vocalists Peter Chase, John Sarantos, Lois Ann Leonard and Amy Carter; jazz guitarist Ethan Richards; saxophonist Mike Cesati; Steven Tatarunis on stand-up bass; and Robert Moschetti on drums, who will all play popular music of the time period. Hunchie the sidekick joins the action, along with special guest singers Hoban Sanford and April Anamisis and 15-year-old Emma Campbell as the candy girl. Prue said Emma might play bass during the show, as well.
Prue has been playing gigs in Newburyport since the 1970s and thinks the Stellerman show is perfect for the area and the venue.
“It’s a learning experience taking a play out into the barroom scene,” Prue said. “But I think the people there are going to like it. I think it’s going to be received well.”