Elvis Presley Tribute Artist: Travis Powell Returns . . .

Jessica Cuevas

. . .  lights, camera, and action . . .

Returning to the Old Town Theatre in downtown Huntsville is the best Elvis tribute artist in America: Travis Powell, accompanied by the four talented ladies in Shake, Rattle, and Roll.

Many would say that I was “wowed” by his past performance and attribute it to the reason why I decided to see him again. Although it is a show that I would encourage everyone to attend, I was accompanying former LEAP Ambassador Victoria McClendon-Leggett with a hidden agenda to ensure that she got the full experience . . . and little did she know.

On Sunday, November 6th, the Old Town Theatre was the place to be and sure enough, both Victoria and I had tickets to see the Elvis Tribute show. Beginning with the performance of Shake, Rattle, and Roll to help set the tone and mood of the night . . .

We were in for a surprise when Steve, Travis Powell’s manager, “jumped” on the stage and announced that there would be a surprise performance by a young man whom he found on the Walmart parking lot with sideburns, what a small town! Before we knew it there was another man dressed as Elvis, or maybe Roy Orbison, in the theatre. His name was Colin Dexter, and he performed a couple of songs, one of them being Pretty Woman, while playing the guitar, in preparation for an audition at the Voice.

Stealing the thunder of the night, was Travis Powell, as he came out and performed in his all-black leather suit for the first half of the show. . .  performing crowd favorites, including Suspicious Minds, Jailhouse Rock, and Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.

There was a moment during one of these songs where he asked ladies to join him on the steps of the stage, and of course, I took the opportunity to have Victoria join him . . . but she would only go if I did.

Soon after intermission, he was dressed in an all-white suit with sequins and handing out scarfs to the women in the crowd who came rushing up to him, including Victoria, and the occasional men. Stealing our hearts was the moment when he gave one to the young girl whom he had previously danced with as he retreated from the stage and walked around the theatre getting to know his fans.

As he prepared to wrap up the show, he extended an invitation to the audience to see him at the lobby after the show and to join him at 7 Leguas for dinner. Victoria and I waited in line to get a selfie with him and have him sign her scarf and other fun items!

Thank you to the Old Town Theatre for putting on amazing shows for the community and for all your hard work. For those of you who missed Travis Powell’s show in the Spring and Sundays, he will be coming back in Summer ’23 on July 9th (Be sure to buy your tickets early!).

Old Town Theatre Clean-Up 

Jessica Cuevas 

On Saturday, October 23rd, members of the Pre-Law Society and the LEAP Ambassadors volunteered to deep-clean Huntsville’s Old Town Theatre. Before the cleaning began, Professor Yawn gave us a tour of the interior…

Students are clearly mesmerized by the tour

…including the backstage, dressing rooms, and exterior of the Old Town Theatre, where we also learned about the works of the artist Richard Haas.  The dressing rooms, with large bathrooms and soft lighting, were clearly the favorite of the tour.

As we embarked on the fall cleaning, we assessed what needed to be done and strategically coordinated our cleaning. 

We separated into three groups to tackle our tasks more efficiently, focusing on the main auditorium, balcony, and stage. 

Each group worked in an assembly-line style, with someone vacuuming, cleaning, and disinfecting the backs and bottoms of every seat.

Our advisors, Stephanie and Professor Yawn even joined in the fun, and we also got the windows at the front of the theatre.

 As each task was being accomplished, there was a drawing for prizes such as snack packages, power banks, candles, cups, and throw blankets. Everyone was able to get a prize as a thank-you for their help.

After cleaning, we were satisfied with all our hard work, Professor Yawn headed upstairs to show us how the lighting and sound systems work as he began My Cousin Vinny, a fan favorite. We enjoyed a clean theater and cautiously ate the popcorn we were treated to. 

After the movie was finished, those of us who had not seen it clearly understood why it is favored by so many attorneys.  

The Best is Yet to Come: An evening with Sinatra at the Old Town Theatre

September 25, 2021

Yvette Mendoza

Erin Juarez and I spent the evening time traveling to the 50’s at the Old Town Theatre’s Tribute to Frank Sinatra. This authentic concert, performed by Dave Halston, created an atmosphere of romance and nostalgia. The Theatre’s Sinatra Experience attracted almost 300 guests that came from all over Texas (some even from San Antonio) to Huntsville! The crowd was eager to come in before showtime just as much as we were to volunteer at the Old Town Theatre.

We had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful concert and meet the audience members, from councilmembers to a Vietnam veteran, as we ushered them to their seats. The crowd kept growing as they began swarming the entrance to the Theatre, and Erin and I had the warmest smiles to greet such well-dressed and kind families and friends.

Getting closer to show time, more Sinatra fans were settling down in their seats.

At last, the piano accompanist began to play, and the words “Come fly with me” were being sung.

Everyone’s eyes were star struck at the beautiful music being played. While Erin and I were admiring the music, we had quickly switched gears from ushering to grabbing the camera and capturing the magic of Frank Sinatra’s music being performed.

Moving all around the theater we created the gorgeous star effect through the camera when capturing Dave Halston’s movements that mimicked Sinatra.

We continued to snap as many pictures as possible…

…and then it was time for a brief intermission. At that time Erin and I helped with the raffle ticket drawing. We were very successful collecting money to help fund the non-profit, Old Town Theatre. Now it was finally time to draw the winning tickets.

Erin went on stage with Mrs. Lauren Edwards to choose the winning raffle tickets. The crowd lit up when the winners were announced and given their free tickets to the next concert!

Before leaving the Old Town Theatre, we sat in seats and sang along to the Theme from New York, New York. And that was the best way to finish off a night in the Golden Age.

Oldies at the Old Town Theatre: Marty Haggard Performs

Jessica Cuevas 

On the evening of 9/11, the LEAP Ambassadors and Jocelyn Vazquez volunteered at the Old Town Theatre, where Marty Haggard–son of Merle Haggard– where an appreciative crowd enjoyed the show.  

To our delightful surprise, there was an opening act by rising country singer Stephen Sweeten. While he sang and his guitarist strummed, his wife and son were selling his merchandise and recording his performance. Unfortunately, since we were either ushering guests to their seats, selling raffle tickets, or taking photographs, we were unable to sit in for the show but given that the theatre has excellent acoustics, we were able to hear him. We even had a chance to work with his son to take a few photos of Sweeten.

The audience enjoyed the music, as did we, as Sweeten played a mix of covers and originals.

When Sweeten’s set ended, we announced the winners of the raffle…

…which made a few audience members happy. They have tickets to see Moe Bandy on December 3 (buy tickets here!) 

If ever there was a down-to-earth performer, Marty Haggard is that performer. He remained seated throughout the show, after telling he was a singer, not an “actor.”

Sitting or standing, however, he was a hit, performing the hits of his father, whom he described as “the greatest country music singer-songwriter in history.”

He did the songs justice, and he resembles a thinner version of his father.

 As the event was wrapping up and the Old Town Theatre was getting ready to close, we stood by the doors and thanked the guests for coming while providing them with a calendar of upcoming events.

The crowd, however, was more interested in spending time with Mr. Haggard.

And that included us:

It was a good night, with strong performances all around.

By the way, the Old Town Theatre’s next event is on September 25th at 7:00pm, featuring a Frank Sinatra tribute. Purchase your tickets today and do not miss the Sinatra experience! 

On behalf of the LEAP Center, I would like to thank the friends of the Old Town Theatre for giving us the opportunity to help in our community! 

Although our volunteerism was complete, our night wasn’t. We moved on over to the wonderful Sam’s Table, where we had dinner and desert. We had eaten here previously, and it has great ambience and food, so we were eager to return.

The event was close to Yvette’s 19th Birthday, so we celebrated that, too, with pie…

…and cake.

After a nice night of volunteerism and eating, we left as happy as Yvette looked!

Old Time Help at the Old Town Theatre

Fresh off volunteering at the Wynne Home Arts and Visitor Center, we also wanted to help out in the downtown area. So, with rivet-gun in hand, we headed to the Old Town Theatre to do some light cleaning and affix numerals to the Theatre’s chairs.

The theatre is the only vintage venue in Huntsville, and it is the community’s finest example of Art Deco architecture–while also featuring the art work of world-renowned muralist Richard Haas.

And while it may be an local architectural treasure and a work of art in itself, it also had a disordered numbering system on the seats, which makes ushering pretty difficult.

So, we set about correcting that. With only one rivet gun, we set up a system of three people helping: one advance man putting in the number plates and rivets, one riveter, and one person taking left-over parts….

Yvette the Riveter

While three were riveting, others were cleaning, and we took turns doing all the tasks, so that we’d all be cross-trained. Stephanie did her best Carol Burnett impression….

…Quinn tried to get a break from Yvette and Morgan, and Morgan even tried her hand at vacuum repair.

About three hours later, we had a mostly-clean theatre, seats with a correct numbering system, and more skilled volunteer force….

…and some ideas for some fall activities–all of this in time for our sold-out Gene Watson show!