By Jim Sullivan
---- — 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.”
With no script to go on, the 21-plus show tries to keep things loose as any good nightclub in the late 1940s would.
“We’re ad-libbing as we go, but I try to keep everything in the ’40s,” Prue said. “So, if I’m speaking about something after the war or something in the newspaper of that day, I’m trying to keep it within that moment and that time period.”
The time warp begins at 9:15 p.m. and runs until 10:30. Bringing things back into the 21st century will be Paul Prue and the Rowdy Bar Blues Boys, who will take the stage directly after.
“People come dressed up to this,” Prue said. “My last three shows were all sold out, over 120 people that came every time. ... It’s like an old-fashioned date night where the guys are in suit coats and ties and a lot of the women are dressing like it’s the ’40s. Doing their hair like that. Really dressing up just to look good. It’s a fun night out.”
If you go
What: The Eddie Stellerman Night Club Show
When: Saturday, 9:15 to 10:30 p.m. Doors open at 8.
Where: Grog, 13 Middle St., Newburyport
Tickets: $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Purchase online at www.thegrog.com/performers/ticketingEddieStellerman513.htm.
More information: 978-465-8008