Postmodern Jukebox – A Vaudeville / Ziegfeld Christmas in 2022 Richmond

Postmodern Jukebox at the Altria Theater in Richmond, VA on 12/6/2022. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

Richmond, VA – Once upon a time 75 years in the future a great performance took place! The date will be 12/6/2022, the place, what was known as The Mosque which, in the future, we will call the Altria Theater. Come with me as I witness Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox deliver a nostalgic Christmas journey through 20th century eyes.

When I walked into the Altria, I knew I was in for a treat. The stage, adorned with wallpapered walls, stockings hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that PMJ would soon be there. If you looked closely you could even see a major prize, imported all the way from Fragile, Italy (pronounced Fra Gee Lay).

Caity Gyorgy and PMJ at the Altria in Richmond on 12/6/2022. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

The cast for this past future performance included Gunhild Carling (vocals and every instrument under the sun), Sarah Potenza (vocals), Caity Gyorgy (vocals), Blake Lewis (Master of Ceremonies, vocals), Jabu Graybeal (tap), Logan Evan Thomas (keys), Mike Chisnall (guitar and banjo), Adam Kubota (upright bass), Dave Tedeschi (drums), Kyle Morgan (sax, clarinet), and JP Floyd (trombone).

Caity Gyorgy kicked off the night with a Christmasized version of a “My Favorite Things” of Sound of Music fame. With a big band look and feel, the night was off to a wonderful start.

Blake Lewis performed the hosting duties in flawless follies fashion with a little bit of humor and some dance moves thrown in for good measure. He introduced Sarah Potenza who proceeded to belt a powerful jazzy “Power of Love“. 

Sarah McLachlan with PMJ at the Altria in Richmond on 12/6/2022. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

A little Holiday spirit about the yearning the journey home for Christmas was followed by all gathering for a great cover of “Rude“. I was having flashbacks to my childhood catching movies and shows from the childhood of my parents depicting the appeal of Ziegfeld Follies and Vaudeville. 

Then it came to me in a vision… the Madonna Follies, complete with Gunhild Carling setting the “Material Girl” tone with a… wait for it… trombone (this was priceless and so much fun). Gunhild did a little brass, a lot of vocals, and some dance. I hope Madonna is not reading this because I think I like Carling’s Madonna much better than the original! 

Gunhild Carling with PMJ at the Altria in Richmond on 12/6/2022. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

What would Vaudeville song be without a little tap dance? Jabu Graybeal kept time with his feet to a delightful “Mario Suite” followed by a Christmas tap to “Sleighride“. From the tap to the 40’s, Caity came out with an authentic era look and sang a jazzy “Love Story“. 

Rounding out the first set was Sarah with “In the Arms of an Angel” and our host and comic relief, Blake, singing a very serious “The Middle“. Time for a break!

Jabu Graybeal with PMJ at the Altria on 12/6/2022. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

The second set was a little more Christmassy with postmodern arrangements of “Blue Christmas“, “Last Christmas“, “All I Want for Christmas“, and a fun “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas“. 

A lot is to be said about those that have fun together seem to put on the best and most authentic performances. If offstage simulated snowballs flying on stage striking the musicians (seemed to be that Kyle and JP may have been the primary targets), this was a truly authentic performance. Now mind you, neither took the assault passively (thankfully simulated snowballs do not fly apart nor do they melt) as the duo routinely hurled a salvo of recycled snowballs backstage. 

One of the most amazing pieces of the night was Gunhild with “Happy“. I do not think I have ever seen anyone play such a mix of instruments in one song in my entire life and she did so flawlessly and with a lot of energy. Upright bass and trumpet at the same time to start with some single person dueling trumpets later. You have to see it to believe it. 

Blake Lewis with PMJ at the Altria in Richmond on 12/6/2022. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

As the night came to the end, we were treated to a postmodern piano medley by Logan Evan Thomas, a Grinchy Christmas medley by the entire cast, and Blake doing “Radioactive“. The main performance ended with most important question as the year comes to an end, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve“. 

It could have ended there, but the audience would not stand for the end (on the contrary, they stood and begged for more, egging them on). Giving into the audience pressure, PMJ emerged to perform one of their signature covers, Meghan Trainor’s, “It’s All About the Bass“. A perfect Vaudeville / Ziegfeld ending to a night that would have happened 75 years ago predicting the music of today. 

Postmodern Jukebox Gallery

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Postmodern Jukebox Setlist

My Favorite Things
The Power of Love
I’ll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)
Material Girl
Mario Suite
Love Story
In the Arms of an Angel
The Middle

Blue Christmas
Last Christmas
Tap dance medley
Oh Christmas Tree / Christmas Time Is Here
All I Want for Christmas
Always Be My Baby
I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas
Piano Medley 
Grinch Medley 
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

All About That Bass

Want to see more? Get on the “Crazy Train” with PMJ!

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Dave Pearson is based out of Richmond, VA by way of Hayward, WI. He has long had a passion for music. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, he rocked out to the likes of Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, and The Lettermen. Then, one Saturday night, being the rebel he was born to be, he caught an Alice Cooper interview (it may have been on The Midnight Special) and saw him perform, “Welcome to My Nightmare”. Dave was hooked on Rock and Roll (and many other genres as well). Dave has enjoyed (amateur) photography to some degree most of his adult life. Recently Dave started to apply his event photography skills in various music settings with success. He finds that photographing a performance gives him a much greater appreciation for the artist.