Local musician Jacob Green performs as country singer John Anderson last Thursday during the 14th annual “Evening at the Roxy” featuring the Great Pretenders. | Photo by Cheri McCain.
Local musician Jacob Green performs as country singer John Anderson last Thursday during the 14th annual “Evening at the Roxy” featuring the Great Pretenders. | Photo by Cheri McCain.

Archived Story

Great evening with ‘Great Pretenders’

Published 12:37pm Tuesday, July 29, 2014

People passing by the historic Roxy Theatre last Thursday night might have had to do a double take as the likes of Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Jr., Carrie Underwood, and many other stars filed into the theater to perform.

All these look-alikes were part of the W.C. Handy Music Festival’s 14th annual “Evening at the Roxy” featuring the Great Pretenders, which is a musical and comedy showcase where local and regional talent dresses up and performs like many well-known stars.

More than 250 people turned out for the popular event, which was presented by the Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council.

Arts council secretary Cheri McCain said there were several musical genres represented throughout the evening.

“Country superstars were well represented as Jayne Wells performed two of Wanda Jackson’s hits, Angela Potter performed as Tammy Wynette, Kelly Copeland Hargett and Mollie Flanagan performed Carrie Underwood hits, Kelli Wells Newton was Miranda Lambert, Ricky McDaniel was Hank Williams, Jr., Dustin Hargett was Jamie Johnson, Suzanne Richeson Pitt performed as LeAnn Womack, Jacob Green performed John Anderson hits, and Lucas Sheppard was Kenny Rogers,” McCain said.

“Patriotic music by Lee Greenwood was performed by Hudson Copeland. Pop as well as rock and roll music was performed by Jamie Copeland as Bob Segar, Debbie Nale as Carole King, and Lexie Glass performed as Pharrell Williams. Adele songs seemed to be very popular as four performers, Brooklyn Hall, Ashley Cummins, Anna Bell Mitchell, and Brandi Gholston, chose these hits heard frequently on the radio. Chuck Britnell accompanied several acts on the guitar.

“Rodney Smith entertained on the keyboard by performing several Ray Charles classics, and multi-talented C.R. Hood performed not only as Hank Williams Sr., but later in the show returned with his ventriloquist skills.”

McCain said the “King of Rock and Roll” also made a surprise appearance.

“Long-time Elvis impersonator, Kevin Adams, performed a medley of hits that the crowd enjoyed,” McCain said.

“The evening ended with a familiar Russellville group, The Copelands, performing as Bill Monroe. This group included Jeff Copeland, Marvin Copeland, Lowell Copeland and several other family members.”

McCain said Franklin County Extension coordinator Katernia Cole, who played the role of W.C. Handy’s wife in the play Determined, served as emcee for the event.

“This was just a great, family-friendly, fun event that everyone really seemed to enjoy,” McCain said.

“We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.”

McCain said for those who missed out on this year’s “Great Pretenders” show, there are a couple more entertainment opportunities coming up at the historic Roxy Theatre in the next few weeks.

“The historic Roxy Theatre will again provide musical entertainment Saturday night, August 9, as the KGB presents their monthly ‘Rockin’ at the Roxy’ show,” she said.

“This is now one of the longest running musical shows in the state. Their special guests for the August show will be Brianna and Garrett Dean. Brianna has opened for Loretta Lynn, Colin Raye, Sammy Kershaw, and Richie McDonald from Lonestar. She has also entertained our troops stationed overseas with her beautiful voice. She will be accompanied by her husband, Garrett Dean, drummer and singer in the band Jordan Dean.”

McCain said the 33rd annual Country Showdown will be at the historic Roxy Theatre on Thursday night, August 14, as 12 singer/songwriters compete in the first leg of America’s longest running talent search.

The winner of this competition goes on to compete at the state and regional level. The national finals will be held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., with a grand prize of $100,000. “The Roxy is proud to be included in hosting this competition,” McCain said. “The audience can expect to see top performers from all over the South converge on Russellville to compete.”

Keep up with future performances at the Roxy Theatre by visiting www.historicroxytheatre.com or “like” the historic Roxy Theatre on Facebook.

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