Old Town Theater’s entertainment is Bond…James Bond!

Published on March 24th, 2021

By Jim Dail

People have long been fascinated with spies, adventure heroes and the law. The idea of the good guy vs. the bad guy has probably been a part of performances of all kinds since the dawn of man. 

Of course, when one talks of spies, one has to talk about perhaps the greatest one of all: Bond…James Bond. 

And now, the Temecula Old Town Community Theater is presenting For Your Ears Only: James Bond and Other Spies, an orchestral and vocal performance put together by long-time producer and bassist and conductor Jeff Stover.

“The idea came from me because I was always into the music of Bond,” he said. “You have so many people who when they were kids grew up with James Bond, and all those people who sang those songs were the Top 40 artists of the day.”

Indeed, such popular performers as Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Sheena Easton and Duran Duran have all taken a turn at Bond songs.

“A lot of them were British, and you still have Bond songs hitting the charts,” he said. “There was a recent remix of Bond songs by the Propellerheads and it became a top 40 hit over there.”

The idea for a Bond show was warmly received by those involved.

“It wasn’t hard to convince anyone,” he said. “We play in a lot of theaters and we were playing a show at the theater in Indian Wells. When I introduced the show idea, they all said ‘yeah, let’s do it.’”

That was a little easier said than done.

“Usually I can put together shows a lot faster than this, but it took me a year to put it together,” he said.

The issue: Getting the songs!

“I have all the music, but there were songs I couldn’t get the music for,” he said. “I had some of them specially written because they weren’t all out there. A lot of the songs are not available and hard to put together as a result, so there are some that won’t be in the show.”

It wasn’t a case that basic sheet music was not available, but music for all the different instruments was not to be found.

“It was the instrumentation of the group that was hard because the arrangements aren’t there,” he said. “Part of it is that there isn’t a lot of demand for the music in the different instruments. I was able to buy some of the arrangements and royalties were paid for them.”

And this show may be a one of a kind show for awhile.

“The first performance of all shows we do at Temecula are done only one time, and then maybe again three years later,” he said. “Purchasing the charts and arrangements for the music gives us the right to use them one time so there is that.”

The trickiest song?

“’Live and Let Die,’ because it has a very odd meter throughout,” he said.

As far as the show goes, it is a production that is based on the music flow, the singers and the variety of songs.

“We start with an overture that contains sound bits from movies to set the stage,” he said. “Then we go into a few bond songs then introduce songs from other shows and movies.”

Included in that latter list is songs from “The Pink Panther,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Barney Miller,” and “The Rockford Files,” among others.

“The Bond songs will be in groups of two or three and then the others with interject them with a climax at the end of each grouping.” he said. “It has more to do with the pacing of the songs because you can’t have all the singers come out all at once. We rotate the singers so they have some time to recuperate. Otherwise there is just no energy to the show.”

The two featured guest singers are Mara Getz and Bill Kilpatrick

“Its interesting because our original singer, Patrica Welch, got sick and had to have an operation,” he said. “We had to replace her with three to four weeks left before the show with Mara. It shows you what can happen in showbiz when all of a sudden the star can’t make it so the understudy become the star. Mara is our Bond girl and she is wonderful.”

The other singer is no stranger to the band and Temecula.

“Bill has been with our band every since it started,” he said. “Kilpatrick is a great singer. There’s not many Bond things for male singers. He does ‘Secret Agent Man,’ ‘Live and Let Die,’ ‘From Russia With Love,’ ‘View to a Kill,’ and things like that.”

Part of the idea of the Bond theme is to draw in a broader audience.

“Its all exciting music, but you have to try to have highs and lows, or it would just blow people’s ears out,” he said. “We are trying to get younger people there. We have to cultivate a younger audience, so we try to do contemporary things. Everyone knows James Bond. Parents know it, and young kids know it too.”

And the Old Town theater is a very attractive venue.

“We are able to do the shows and put together a long running series that sells out, so they don’t have to worry about the financial constraints in that sense,” he said. “As a musician, the most important thing is the kinds of sounds you get. Sometimes you get a flat sound or a big reverberation at other places. But at Old Town, there is a great sound. The sound man is right in the middle. It’s a small theater so it is very intimate and sounds great.”


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