Centenary Stage Company’s annual Summer Jamfest series returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center on Saturday, July 15 at 8pm with the timeless music of Drive: A Tribute to the Cars. Thrilling the tri-state area and beyond for years, this six-person band from Bethpage, NY is dedicated to producing accurate recreations of classic songs from the '80s while highlighting a special tribute and authentic recreation of the music of The Cars.
“People love the music of the '80s. It’s fun and it’s happy and getting to make people happy with great music is the best feeling in the world,” said Mary Beth Cronin, lead vocalist of Drive: A Tribute to the Cars.
Cronin, who assumes the role of The Cars’ Ric Ocasek, has always had a deep affection for music. Drawing from her early inspirations of watching Tracy on The Partridge Family and Davy Jones from The Monkees on television, Cronin recounts her childhood memories of performing on tambourine for friends and family, an instrument she still plays while performing with Drive. She continued making music in her youth, and formed her first band called “Grand Passion” in 1986. They eventually became a Pretenders tribute band, and were playing across the country.
“At one show,” Cronin recounts, “I was performing with my sunglasses on, my hair blowing back in the wind, and after the show someone came up and said I could play Ric Ocasek”. After that, the band began learning the songs of The Cars, and now performs across the country. When performing Drive: A Tribute to the Cars, each member of the band assumes the role of a Cars member, with Cronin as Ric Ocasek on vocals, Richard Honoski as Ben Orr & Ric Ocasek on rhythm guitar & vocals, Billy Reutlinger as Ben Orr on bass guitar, Cosmo LoCricchio as Greg Hawkes on keys, Darren Gallagher as Elliot Easton on guitar, and Jay Sharkey as David Robinson on drums.
Cronin and her fellow band members have gotten to both meet and perform with the original members of the The Cars. “Each original member has been so grateful to have Drive honoring their music in an authentic way,” says Cronin, who continually strives to recreate the music as close to the original recordings as possible. Every performance keeps the fans of the music front and center, she says, adding, “We perform to a specific audience, being the fans, so it’s got to be accurate since they know the music. We perform things from every album so that we can really do the band justice, and because the die-hard fans want to hear everything. We try to convey a true Cars concert, and by performing a lot of different numbers we get to do that.”
Advance tickets for Drive: A Tribute to the Cars on Saturday, July 15 are $27.50 for adults and $25 children under 12. Ticket prices increase $5 the day of the performance and all ticket sales are final.
Centenary Stage Company’s 2017 Summer Jamfest continues through the months of July and August with the Doo Wah Riders on Saturday, July 22; The British Invasion Years on Saturday, July 29; Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra on Saturday, August 5 and Dr. K’s Motown Revue on Saturday, August 12. All performances are held in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center and will begin at 8pm.
A Summer Jamfest Flex Pass package is also available which includes tickets to all five Summer Jamfest performances for a comprehensive cost of $115. Centenary Stage Company’s Summer Jamfest series is sponsored by the House of the Good Shepherd.
For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979-0900. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown, NJ, and is open Monday through Friday from 1-5pm, as well as two hours prior to each performance.
The 2016 - 2017 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.