Itching for improvised keyboards? Feeling the insatiable need for some sweet old-fashioned crooning? Get your jazz fix this Thursday at Utah Valley’s best kept secret.
Showtime Utah at The Grove Theater features a New Orleans style live jazz show called “All That Jazz” every Thursday night with performances by renowned vocalist Debra Bonner and jazz pianist Frederick James McCray.
Originally from Louisiana and raised in Michigan, vocalist and host of “All That Jazz” Debra Bonner, has performed in Europe, Israel, West Africa, Canada, and the United States. She has performed as a guest soloist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and is a Pop, Gospel, Broadway, Country, Classical, R&B, and Jazz recording artist. Training in vocals since kindergarden, this experienced vocalist now has over 30 years of voice teaching experience and is the Vocal Coach for the Hope of America Student Chorus.
A resident of Utah since 1996, Bonner has been singing at Showtime Utah since last October and captivating audiences there with her beautiful and powerful voice combined with a charming personality. Her renditions of “My Funny Valentine,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” among many others, are jaw dropping and moving. You can’t help but be impressed by her vocal abilities. She will even do some scatting here and there to create that true jazz experience alongside jazz pianist Frederick James McCray.
Born in New Orleans, McCray has had an extensive career as a jazz pianist. This very talented jazz pianist entertains audiences with his lively music and his witty likable personality. “With jazz you’re telling a story. My hands go on a little journey, they have a conversation,” said McCray humorously about his improvisational style of music.
The fairly large venue is set up as a dinner theater that seats up to 155 guests (up to 250 total capacity) where you can enjoy a root beer float, popcorn, drinks, and other concessions. Guests can also dance on the spacious dance floor in front of the stage. Don’t be misled by this venue’s country western themed facade and foyer. Once inside the actual theater it is a different environment. The dimly lit space, chandeliers, high ceilings, stage, and red velvet curtains give Showtime Utah a legitimate nightclub feel.
“We have so much fun here, this is my playground,” says owner and theater director of Showtime Utah, Joan Peterson, who renovated the run-down theater herself. She wanted to create a fun, family friendly live entertainment venue that has “a good jazz ambiance, where people can come to relax, listen to live jazz, enjoy some refreshments, and dance.”
Occasionally they will allow audience members that would like to sing to take the stage, so warm up your vocal cords if you are so inclined. So bring a date or family and friends to Showtime Utah to enjoy a night of fun, live performances, refreshments, dancing and singing.
“All that Jazz” provides a temporary escape from the suburban humdrum of the valley. Here, its easy to trick yourself into thinking you’re in an opulent metropolis, listening to high-class history-steeped music reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
Showtime Utah at the Grove Theater
20 S. Main Street
Pleasant Grove, UT
Hours: Thursday 8-10 pm
Showtime Utah at the Grove Theater also features Karaoke Night, Old West Dinner Show Adventure, and other events, check their website for more information. They will also have a once a month jazz “jam session” where guests can bring own songs to sing with piano accompaniment.