It’s a cliche nearly as old as death itself.
That would be the notion that in the waning seconds of one’s being, life flashes before your eyes, the last movie you’ll ever see, and you can only hope that it’s more "Citizen Kane" than "Norbit."
But for Denny Randell, he didn’t have to wait until the very end to bear witness to a portion of his beginning.
"It’s amazing when you’re sitting in a theater and you see a part of your life coming back to you from the stage," he chuckles to himself. "I can’t really explain it."
Randell’s talking about seeing hit musical "Jersey Boys" for the first time. In telling the story of the Four Seasons, the production also offers a snapshot of Randell’s life as well. A seasoned and successful songwriter/producer/composer/artist who has been penning hits since the early ’60s, Randell wrote some of the Four Seasons’ most memorable tunes, songs such as "Let’s Hang On (To What We Got)," "Opus 17" and "Workin’ My Way Back To You."
During the past five decades, Randell has written more than 45 songs that have hit the Billboard charts, from artists as disparate as Diana Ross & the Supremes and Frankie Valli to Smash Mouth and Busta Rhymes. He has produced records from Iron Butterfly, handled A&R and production at Frank Zappa’s label and recently was nominated for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Now, he’s working on a stage show of his own, which will span his lengthy career.
Sporting dark black shades and a matching beard, Randell reflects on the project while taking in a panoramic view of Henderson at Carmine’s on the Hill on a recent Tuesday afternoon. He’s joined by his songwriting partner of many years, Biddy Schippers, with whom he has notched several dance hits of late.
Their latest project, which the two hope to debut here around the middle of the year at a venue to be determined, will be a combination concert, with "VH1 Storytellers"-like interludes, and stage show with theatrical elements.
"The show will encompass the old and the new," says Randell, who has been living in Vegas for a few months. "It’ll tell the story of some of these things, there will be some theatrical content, as well as the songs. We’ve wanted to do this for a while, we had some ideas before, but obviously, the ‘Jersey Boys’ situation has been great fuel."
"It kind of became a natural thing," Schippers adds. " ‘Let’s get out there and put something together.’ "
These days, they’re busy doing just that, looking back on their lives in hopes of getting a glimpse of their future.
"We’re still tinkering with it to a point, because there’s so much to pick from," Randell says of choosing the material for the show. "It’s a challenge, because there’s so much that can be done. That makes it not so easy. But it also makes it very exciting."
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476.