Pop Classics doing sold-out show, again

Pictou Advocate Arts and Entertainment

The Pictou County Pop Classics may be taking a different stage this time around but one thing remains the same: it’s sold out.

Taking the show to a new venue — “across the causeway” — is something Pop Classics creative director Mike Vienneau views as a pilot project, and one that he’s quite excited about.

“Pictou is my home town,” Vienneau explained. “It’s where I grew up, and I’m super excited to be going to Pictou. I get messages and notes from people I grew up with in town saying how thrilled they are that a local guy is bringing a big show to town that has sold out with our music from the times. It’s just amazing to me; 420 tickets down there.”

Taking the show to a fresh venue isn’t a slight against the theatre Pop Classics was born out of either. In fact Pop Classics, Glasgow Square, and the Town of New Glasgow are now in a
partnership, while posters and promotional materials will see the show billed as a presentation of Glasgow Square. Vienneau said the show at the deCoste is a “model” — one with new costs and liabilities — which will help sort out the possibility of taking the show on the road, or at least to theatres outside of Pictou County.

Another bit of new on the horizon is a newly created ’60s Tribute show and trailing behind that, a possible ’80s tribute show. Vienneau said this does not mean the consecutively sold out ’70s show will be retired. Instead, it means the Pop Classics will have an expanded collection to offer.

“The way we’ve come to look at it is each show will go in the portfolio,” he said. “That show
could go on the shelf and be for sale anytime. A 60s show is already built and underway, and next year there’ll be an ’80s show. I look down the road three years and we have three shows in our portfolio. As we add more shows to the portfolio we can add members as well.”

The 70s Tribute’s visit to Pictou will see the same cast and songs as previous outings but
Vienneau said the cast size has expanded for the eventual 60s show, and will expand even more when the 80s show is created. A collective that is now hovering around 45 members will be 55 to 60 by year’s end, before ramping up to a possible 100, a move Vienneau said
reflects the “inclusive” nature of the production.

Inclusiveness, Vienneau said, was the basic inspiration for the production, which began taking form after he’d casually badgered Glasgow Square’s Carlton Munroe enough times about having his theatre stage local talent. Munroe suggested using The Band’s Last Waltz as a template and the two set about crafting what Pop Classics eventually became.

As for why the show keeps selling out — typically before promotional materials have been printed and interviews have been granted — Vienneau feels that came down to an absence of shows aimed towards the 55-plus demographic.

“Nostalgia is selling like wildfire,” he said. “That demographic is hungry because they haven’t been being offered as much at music festivals which are aimed at other demographics, which are younger. So when you do a nostalgia show they come in large numbers.”

Vienneau said the group works to improve the show each time out, and Pictou’s visit will see the incorporation of live video mixed in with the tried and true vintage photos, clips, logos and the like.

“It’s just naturally growing, like a flower on its own,” Vienneau explained.

The sold-out Pictou County Pop Classics ’70s Tribute will be staged at the deCoste Centre in Pictou on February 10.