‘The Life and Music of George Michael’ relives greatest hits, comes to Vacaville Feb. 1 – The Vacaville Reporter

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Rory Phelan is set to reprise his role of young George Michael in the 2024 U.S. tour of “The Life and Music of George Michael,” coming to Vacaville Feb. 1. (Contributed Photo, Rory Phelan)

Between his recognizable earring and the enduring Christmas hit, “Last Christmas,” even those who aren’t fans of George Michael are aware of his lasting impact. Lifelong fans and new listeners alike will be reintroduced to the international star in Ruckus Entertainment’s 2024 U.S. tour of “The Life and Music of George Michael.”

The concert-style production returns on the heels of Michael’s recent induction into the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, proving his decade-spanning achievements are more alive than ever.

“The Life and Music of George Michael” will make a stop along its North American tour to perform at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre for a single show on Feb. 1.

“The show is, in essence, a concert through George’s life,” said Rory Phelan, who is reprising his role as young George Michael on the tour. “I very much take on the role of the Wham! George, up through the “Faith” album.”

Describing the new concert-style show, Phelan said, “We tell the stories of how these songs came about, famous landmark times within George’s life, when one came to an end and why certain songs got released.”

The show is meant to be as energetic and irresistible as Michael’s live performances were.

“It’s our aim as performers and as part of the show to make sure everyone leaves in the party atmosphere,” Phelan said. “When you hear songs like ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ we want the whole audience to be up, dancing and singing along.”

The show began taking shape four years ago, a process which brought Phelan to Vancouver for sing-throughs with the team as the production was being workshopped. After pausing due to lockdown, they came back with the idea to have two George’s and later debuted the new show across the U.S. in 2022.

When their first tour ended, Phelan recalled a mutual feeling between the cast and audiences where neither wanted the party to be over.

“We kept hoping to do just one more show, he said. “When that famed phone call came a few months ago, within 10 seconds I had messages from everyone saying we were going back.”

“I’ve always listened to George Michael. My mom is a massive, massive George Michael fan so I think even as a kid I was learning the Wham! rap in the kitchen,” Phelan said. “When the opportunity came around, I started immersing myself in George Michael content, watching live footage of him.”

Phelan explained his luck in having his best friend, Joe McElderry, who had performed with Michael, as a resource on Michael’s mannerisms and how he sang.

“When I first auditioned for the show, my friend Joe leant me the shirt he wore when he sang with George Michael,” Phelan said. “I told them, ‘Just so you know, this shirt has the aura of George around it’,” he joked.

Before taking on the iconic role of George Michael, Phelan portrayed Ram Sweeney in the stage production of “Heathers: the Musical,” reprising the role for the film production before this second tour. Fans of that role have stuck around, voicing their excitement to see him play George Michael on the upcoming tour.

Out of all his credits, Phelan said stepping into the “Faith” singer’s shoes was the most daunting. “I’ve never been more nervous about a performance,” he said, adding that no one has a voice like Michael’s. “You can see people in their seats give you that eye like, ‘OK, let’s see what you’ve got.’”

Phelan said the only thing he can guarantee is that audiences will leave the building partying and having fun.

“If you’re thinking about seeing the show, just do it,” he said. The whole aim of the show, he said, is that people can listen to George’s songs and flash back to when they heard it for the first time.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: “The Life and Music of George Michael” North American Tour

WHERE: The Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre, 1010 Ulatis Drive, Vacaville.

WHEN: Feb. 1, 8 p.m.

TICKETS: Tickets are $65 and can purchased online at: vpat.net/

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