Thursday, May 15, 2014

STAGE REVIEW: Vocal Trash — Melbourne, FL (5.13.14)

The King Center
Melbourne, FL / May 13, 2014

I've enjoyed an array of 
Theatre for Youth productions 
throughout the 2014 season. 
But this show was the one
that I'd been really looking 
forward to.

It was a packed house — the biggest crowd of the season. And nearly 1,500 enthusiastic students, parents and school teachers all were ready to rock when Vocal Trash took the stage at 10:30AM.

The six-member, Texas-based troupe performed non-stop high-energy hits from such contemporary chart-busters as Black Eyed Peas and Adele, as well as iconic artists, including Michael Jackson. Seemingly enjoyed by "kids" of all ages, the cheering, singing and clapping of the audience was near deaf- ening from start to finish.

Delivering a powerful yet fun "THINK... Before You Throw It Away" message, the group was personable and engaging — connecting with the entire audience.

Leading the charge was creator and frontman Steve Linder and his onstage sidekick Kelsey Rae — the powerhouse lead vocalist and choreography director.

Vocal Trash also features longtime singer, dancer, and guitarist Larry Parish, percussionist Greg Dugan, and "B-Boys" — Anthony Silva and Danny Ramirez.

"Recycle" and "Re-use" were the show's two power points, as well as important  anti-bully, pro-scholastic and "peace & love" messages. Good stuff, to be sure — even for old kids like me!

From popular hits of today, including "I've Got a Feeling" to such iconic rock, disco and Motown favorites as "Born to be Wild," "I Just Want to Bang on the Can All Day," "Car Wash" and "Dancing in the Streets," the energy never stopped. And the group's original material was just as well-received as the classic tunes.

Yet despite the appealing live music, the true Vocal Trash payoff was the "WOW!" factor of the group's amazing athletic / gymnastic-like choreography.

However, the "Go Green" message was undeniable. Band members banged on huge metal trash cans, water jug tri-toms, plastic buckets — even ladders. And to further drive home the message that anything can be re-used, Parrish and Dugan showed off a customized electric guitar and bass guitar — both of which had been made from old, discarded metal tool boxes. Impressive!

Vocal Trash members, Linder, Dugan and Parish,
with fans during the Melbourne VIP meet-and-greet.
In Beatlemania-like fashion, the crowd loved every minute of the action-packed, 60-minute performance. In fact, one mother in attendance commented to me, "There's nothing about this show that I don't love!"

In sum, the entire 2014 Theatre for Youth season was stellar, indeed. And as I'd expected, the best was saved for last.

My thanks to Theatre for 
Youth director, Karen Wilson.
Kudos to Theatre for Youth Director Karen Wilson and the King Center staff for another fabulous season and for their consistent commitment to culture, kids and community.

I'm extremely grateful for the hospitality that was extended to me throughout this season —  and I'm already looking forward to 2015!

-Christopher Long
(May 2014)

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  1. Thanks, Christopher! As the creator of Vocal Trash, I've enjoyed what YOU've created… a lot of work, my brotha:) Keep the faith! -Steve Linder

    1. My pleasure, Steve. Vocal Trash truly puts on an incredible show. If you ever need a tour manager, give me a call!