‘Saturday Night Fever’ Surflight’s Next Main Stage Offering

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes and Big Collared Shirts
Aug 01, 2018

 

Nostalgia is running amok at Surflight Theatre.

The Beach Haven landmark’s 2018 season opened up with a show, “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” that was based around Gershwin Brothers’ songs from the 1920s and 1930s. That was followed by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s breakout show, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which opened on Broadway in October 1971. Surflight’s current main stage show is “The Wedding Singer,” which may have opened in New York in 2006 but was definitely an ode to the 1980s. Meanwhile, Surflight’s concert series has featured tributes to Motown, Sinatra and The Carpenters.

Surflight’s next main stage production, which will open next Tuesday, Aug. 7, and run through Aug. 26, is “Saturday Night Fever.” Its Broadway run kicked off on Oct. 21, 1999 but, of course, was based on the film of the same name that was released on Dec. 12, 1977.

“Saturday Night Fever” didn’t invent disco. Artists such as Gloria Gaynor, KC and the Sunshine Band and Donna Summer had hits with disco songs before John Travolta was learning his dance routines. But the film spread disco throughout the country and turned it into a craze.

It is easy to understand why disco came into being. Remember the days when teens used to describe songs on TV shows such as “American Bandstand” as being “easy to dance to?” Well, as rock ’n’ roll evolved into rock, which featured longer songs and concept albums and even rock operas, the music became un-danceable. With the arrival of disco, pent up dancing energy burst out and flooded the country.

Disco was a short-lived craze. July 12, 1979 is known as “the day disco died.” That’s because a Chicago White Sox promotion, Disco Demolition Night, in which disco records were exploded during games of a White Sox doubleheader, turned into a riot, causing huge damage to the field and forcing the cancellation of the second game. On July 21 of that year the top six records in the U.S. were disco songs. By Sept. 22 there were no disco songs in the Top 10 chart.

But love it or leave it, for a couple of years disco ruled! The “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, featuring the Bee Gees, was a huge seller, with more than 40 million copies sold, making it the highest-selling album in history to that point. In March 1978 the Bee Gees had the top two positions on the U.S. charts, with “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive,” the first band since the Beatles to pull off that trick.

Toss in songs such as “How Deep Is Your Love” and “More Than a Woman” and the “Saturday Night Fever” musical’s song list is a veritable Top 10 chart in itself. Add what will surely be a fest of lively dancing and it isn’t any wonder that advance sales for the show are strong.

Tickets are $39 for adults and $29 for children 12 years of age and younger and may be purchased online at surflight.org, by phone at 609-492-9477 or at the box office.  —R.M.

 

 

 

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