The New Blues Brothers, Three Decades Later September 4, 2010Posted by David W. King in Blues, Entertainment Industry.
Tags: Blues Brothers, Dan Akroyd
All new Blues Brothers show, sanctioned by Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and The Belushi Estate
Thirty-two years ago, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi debuted the American Blues and Soul Revivalist band, The Blues Brothers, as a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live. Almost instanty, “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues became a national phenomenon, cutting four albums and releasing a cult-hit feature film.
In 1982, actor John Belushi passed away from a drug overdose at Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, putting the fate of The Blues Brothers into question.
Since then, actor Dan Aykroyd has tirelessly kept the legacy of those characters going in various concert formats featuring guest artists, including a sequel to the original Blues Brothers movie called, Blues Brothers 2000.
Now, thirty two years after their national debut, Dan Aykroyd, together with the blessing and support of Judy Belushi and The Belushi Estate, have passed the torch, officially sanctioning a new generation of performers to step into the shoes of the legendary bluesmen, Jake and Elwood.
The New Blues Brothers, actors Wayne Catania (Joliet Jake) and Kieron Lafferty (Elwood Blues), are dead ringers for the original pair, and have successfully honed their performances over several years, having their start in the award-winning show, Legends in Concert.
It wasn’t until 2004, when Judy Belushi was holding a national casting call for the brand new Chicago production of “The Official Blues Brothers Revival”, written by then husband, Victor Pisano, that Judy became aware of the talented new duo.
“We learned that day how hard it is to do what John and Dan did,” says Judy Belushi Pisano, “…some looked the part but nobody had the whole package until Kieron and Wayne arrived.”
The new Chicago stage production ran successfully for five months in the spring and summer of 2004. After the closing of that production, Judy and Dan put their thinking caps on and realized that it might be time to create some new opportunities for Jake and Elwood.
Judy Belushi with a call to an old friend, knew exactly what that opportunity would be and plans are now underway to produce a television series based on the Blues Brothers characters.
“I’ve written a script with one of the Saturday Night Live writers, Anne Beatts, and with Kieran and Wayne,” Belushi says. “The way we have scripted it is over 6 to 8 shows where they are on a mission down the Mississippi back to New Orleans”.
Dan and Judy are one hundred percent behind furthering the lives of these characters, and introducing them to a whole new generation of fans.
“What this has done has reminded me what great characters the Blues Brothers are,” Belushi says. “They are great American characters. People tend to think of them as John and Dan. They were the first actors to do it but they won’t be the last. When you see Kieran and Wayne you will see how they embody those characters and make them work. There is a spirit of Blues Brothers. It is an umbrella for the Blues”.
Judy has also mentioned that they are in the very early stages of creating a Broadway show for The Blues Brothers.
However, until both of these projects are up on their feet, Wayne and Kieron are starring in a new touring show called “The Official Blues Brothers Revue”, produced by Judy Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. “This is a revue with a lot of songs you would expect and some new ones.” says Judy.
A source close to the touring production says, “The Official Blues Brothers Revue is not just about the iconic blues-men Jake and Elwood, it’s about the rich history of Gospel and Blues music. Jake and Elwood are simply a conduit, if not a global symbol of Blues music for much of America” The source continues, “these two characters single-handedly bridged the gap between die-hard Blues fans and the people listening to Top 40 music. Jake and Elwood brought the Blues into people’s living rooms.”
Regardless of what happens in the coming months, one thing remains certain. Much like the character of James Bond, it is evident that Jake and Elwood are destined to live beyond the flesh and blood inhabitants of the black shades/black hat/black tie/black suit combo.
Given that fact, there is comfort in knowing that “The Mission” will always continue…
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Issued By: Hyperion Productions