The Biggest Star You've Never Heard Of
There's no business like show business, and nobody does a better job of dissecting the history of show business than Michael Walters.
Walters, better known as "Mr. Broadway," will bring his one-man show to the Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock for two shows on Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25.
Tickets are on sale now.
"I call it a one-man musical," Walters said. "And I've been called 'the biggest star you never heard of.'"
A self-described "leading man's voice in a character actor's body," Walters brings audiences to tears and to bursts of laughter, often within the space of one number.
"I'm a mimic by nature," he said. "No one in my family can sing, so my voice was a bit of a surprise to them."
According to Walters, he started imitating records and television shows when he was six-years-old in Arkansas.
"My grandmother's record collection is the basis for this show," he said. "I grew up raised by my grandmother and my grandfather, who was a traveling salesman. He would bring back albums of the shows he had seen during his trips to New York.
"That record collection had all the greats - Louis Prima, Benny Goodman - and Broadway musicals, such as 'Camelot.'"
At an early age, Walters became fascinated with how Broadway shows used music to tell a story. He also developed a keen interest on what makes a performance "pop" on stage.
"My show is not your standard Broadway concert," Walters said. "There are no Andrew Lloyd Weber tunes in the show. It goes back further in time to the classic old musicals, such as 'The Producers,' 'La Cage aux Folles' and 'Showboat.'
"It's a truly different experience than most musical shows. It's just me and a steamer trunk covered in old show logos."
In addition to performances from the world of Broadway, Walters also dons a bus driver hat and presents a spot-on imitation of Jackie Gleason from the television show, "The Honeymooners." He also holds the distinction of being the longest-running authorized Dame Edna impersonator.
Barry Humphries, creator of Dame Edna Everage, calls Walters' performance "spectacular."
Tickets for "Mr. Broadway" start at $30 for Friday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary by seat location. To purchase tickets, call the Hayes Center box office at (828) 295-9627. You may also purchase tickets online at http://www.hayescenter.org.
The Hayes Center is located at 152 Jamie Fort Road (off of U.S. 321) in Blowing Rock.