“Country Road, a John Denver Celebration” has come to North Hollywood’s El Portal through Sunday, April 13, starring Jim Curry. The top performer of Denver’s legacy of beloved hits, Curry really looks and sounds like the mellow, nature-loving guy that was the essence of the “Rocky Mountain High” singer.
That “High” pop classic opened the show that was a celebration of Denver’s life and music, featuring interesting stories behind the beloved songs heard in the El Portal’s intimate Monroe Theatre.
Uplifting folk songs, love ballads, and pop tunes were offered, along with encouragement to clap and sing along. Curry gave the sell-out crowd what they wanted, folksy banter and a marvelous greatest hits show. Of course he did “Country Roads,” “Sunshine on my Shoulders,” “Follow Me,” “Fly Away,” “Back Home Again,” “I’m Sorry,” “Calypso,” and “Grandma’s Feather Bed.” But he also introduced the audience to what he called “undiscovered gems” among the John Denver collection: “Eagles & Horses,” “Perhaps Love,” “Matthew,” and “Shanghai Breezes.”
Curry was backed by his wife Anne Curry, who sang harmony with her sweet voice and accompanied on the mandolin, and Diane Ireland was on flute, giving an ethereal quality to the music. The experience was enhanced by the lightning design by Edwin Pleitez and Rene Loera, and multimedia design by Jim Curry, who had a projection background of scenery — from a snow-capped mountains, flickering camp fire, forests, streams, fields of flowers, photos of John Denver, and even Jim and Anne Curry’s wedding pictures when he sang “Annie’s Song” to her. Gary Grantham gets credit for sound design and show management.
“Country Road, A John Denver Celebration” was presented by Ron Kurtz and his 30th Anniversary of Rock’n’Roll. It plays the El Portal Thurs., Fri., and Sat. at 8 p.m., and Sat. and Sun. at 3 p.m. Call for tickets (818) 508-4200, or online elportaltheatre.com.