Jim Witter 1Feb. 23, 2023

Dorothy Menker Theater

 

Illinois Arts Council AgencyMoraine Valley Community College acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

The Piano Men is a musical celebration of the 1970s – year by year, hit by hit – from the songbooks of Billy Joel and Elton John.

Award-winning Canadian recording artist Jim Witter and his incredible band lead an expertly crafted tour of an entire decade that begins with “Your Song” and winds us along on a musical time machine, saluting two of the century’s most popular contemporary songwriters.

Utilizing spectacular visuals on a giant screen behind Witter and his band, we return to the newspaper headlines, the automobiles, the people, the events, the toys and even the TV shows that shaped a decade. Along the way, the sounds of My Life, Candle in the Wind, Rocket Man, Just the Way You Are, and many more classic hits create an evening that’s so much fun, you won’t want it to end. By the time you hit 1979, you’re begging these musicians to move back to 1970 and start all over again. With Witter at the grand piano and his incredibly talented band mates, the music is not an attempt to “recreate” or “mimic” the evening’s long list of familiar hits. Instead, Witter unleashes his golden tenor on hit after hit to recreate fully-formed mental and emotional return visits to specific landmarks in a pop culture timeline.

If you can remember where you were when Elvis may have died, this show’s for you. If you can smell the interior of your 1973 VW Beetle, you’ll recognize every song. If you watch re-runs of Gilligan’s Island or Green Acres, you’ll find yourself singing along. And if you still have your bell-bottom jeans and Puma running shoes, then you probably need more help than Witter can provide...

Now in it’s 16th year of touring, “The Piano Men” has enjoyed sold-out performances, return engagements and rave reviews in theatres across North America, Great Britain and Dubai. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip down memory lane!

Tonight’s performance will be two sets of approximately 45 minutes with a 15-minute intermission between.

Jim Witter

Jim Witter has been entertaining crowds for over 30 years. Whether it be his original music, the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, or any of the other many artists he pays tribute to, Jim’s

versatility as an artist has allowed him the opportunity to reach out and share his music and his infectious personality with audiences of all ages across Canada, the United States, the U.K, Dubai, and the Netherlands. His unique approach and comfortable rapport make each member of his audience feel as though they are a part of a private concert in the comfort of their own living room. This, along with his rich, powerful voice and ease of manner at the piano, make him a favorite with theatre goers everywhere.

It all started at a very early age, as Jim began performing in the comfort of his own living room. His Mother would play piano, and Jim would belt out the hits...everything from The Beatles to Broadway musicals. Not bad for a 4 year old! All through his school years, Jim knew that he was destined to have a career in the music business. “I never really thought of doing anything else”, he says, “and neither did my parents because they always encouraged me to follow my dream”. And follow it he did. Jim honed his craft, playing in the clubs and bars around his home in Southern Ontario for years. He would write songs and record demos during the day, and play in the clubs at night to pay the bills. Jim met his wife Rebecca in 1985. Together, they worked tirelessly to promote Jim’s talent and music in hopes that one day their efforts would be recognized. Finally in 1990, one of Jim’s demos came to the attention of a Sony Music Canada executive, which really got his recording career rolling. A record deal with a smaller independent label in Canada, soon gave way to a multi-record deal with Curb Records of Nashville, home of Tim McGraw, Leanne Rimes and Wynonna Judd. From his first self-titled record, to All My Life and Forgiveness, Jim has had 10 top-ten radio hits in Canada, seven hit videos on CMT, and impressive chart action in the U.S. on Billboard and R&R.

Jim’s music and songwriting have been recognized on both sides of the border, earning him multiple awards and nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association, the Juno Awards, and the Dove Awards in Nashville, where Jim’s album “Forgiveness” was nominated for Inspirational Album of the year. “Songwriting has always been a real love of mine”, says Jim. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with so many incredible song-writers over the past years, like Steve Wariner for instance. Not only have the collaborations produced songs that I am very proud of, but I have gained an invaluable education and created lifelong friendships along the way.”

In 2001, Jim came up with the concept for the show The Piano Men, a musical journey through the 70s featuring the songs of Billy Joel and Elton John. This multi-media rock musical has turned out to be a hit, receiving rave reviews from music critics all across North America. The show has even travelled overseas to Dubai, England, Scotland and the Netherlands. “Through the years, audience members have suggested other artists that they would like me to cover and I’ve listened. I now have tribute shows to The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and other great singer/songwriters from the 60’s and 70’s. I’m also really excited about my latest project which is a journey through the songbook of Barry Manilow.”

Jim still lives in Southern Ontario with his wife, Rebecca, and their four children, all of whom have shown an interest in the “family business.” “My oldest son, James, spends all of his spare time in his bedroom/ home studio writing and recording his own material. My daughter, Roslyn, has the voice of an angel and even got to sing a duet with Keith Urban in front of 20,000 people. I often hear Ryan in his bedroom banging on the guitar and learning new songs and my youngest, Luke, plays drums and is probably the biggest Beatles fan you’ll ever meet!” Many fathers might try to deter their children from the life of a musician, but Witter and his wife are firm believers in the “do what you love” adage. “Rebecca and I continually encourage our children to do what is in their hearts”, he says. “We tell them...do what you love and give it everything you’ve got, and you’ll never work a day in your life!”At 55 years of age, Witter feels blessed to still be doing what he truly loves to do.

Fine and Performing Arts Center
Upcoming Events

Girls Like Us Presents The Most Wonderful Time of The Year
Sunday, December 11, 2022
2 and 5:30 p.m.

Carpenters Christmas featuring Lisa Rock
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.

The Best of The Second City
Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.

and more!

Box Office: (708) 974-5500
For more information on performances or to purchase tickets online, visit morainevalley.edu/fpac.

Fine and Performing Arts Center Staff

Managing DirectorTianna Conway⁠

Technical Director⁠—Sean McIntosh

Manager of Theater Operations and Services—Julian Tillery

Assistant Technical Director—Amanda Hantson

Art Gallery Coordinator—Jackie Lewis

Secretary—MaryAnn Luciano-Smith

Front-of-House Staff—Ramsey Bauer, Karen Datro, Page Domikaitis, Tom Gerez, Nicholas Mokelke, Jim Novak, David Roczkowski, Lisa Rock, Sujith Saju

Technical Crew—Ala Nator, Camari Morrison, Evan Johnston, Guadalupe Sosa, Jackie Bobbitt, Jeremy Kalisz, Joel Catalon, Leslie Nance, Nathan Carpenter, Quintin Turnbow, Sam Dell, Tom Schoenbeck, Nataile Krol, Jessica Miller, Omar Eloiza

By attending this performance, you acknowledge that you have granted permission to appear in photographs, video capture and capture by other media in all public spaces in the Fine and Performing Arts Center. Your image may be used by Moraine Valley Community College for promotional purposes. This blanket permission releases and  waives any claim against the college and its employees arising from the use of such images in any medium.