Writer, director and star of Soul King, Michael Clarke, is bringing back the story of Sam Cooke to the Osborne Bay Pub for another four-show run March 16 to 18. Many people who already saw it a month ago are thrilled for the chance to attend again and those who missed it previously and then heard great things are grateful for another opportunity.
Clarke will reprise his role as Cooke, providing incredible insight into the man, his music and his eventual murder at the age of 33. It was an easy decision for Clarke to give the show a longer life than the initial four dates in February.
What made that possible is “just the response from the people and a lot of people said they couldn’t come and wanted to make it,” he pointed out.
The schedule for the performances this time is Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 at 8 p.m. There’s also a matinee at 2 p.m. March 17 and the Sunday, March 18 finale at 7 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $28 to $35 for the main seats nearest the stage and $15 at the back.
Clarke is pleased the second run all came together, with his right-hand co-star Glaucia Desrochers and the entire band led by Nico Rhodes all being available.
“The band knows all the music,” said Clarke. “We just need one rehearsal now. We just need to keep it fresh. All the costumes are already built and all the props are there.”
Desrochers, 33, of Crofton, a busy mom of four kids, is looking forward to the second staging of the show.
“I love music, I love theatre, the show was fun,” she indicated.
“I played five different characters. Once we got past all the dress rehearsals, it was pure joy. I love seeing the reaction people get from it.”
Desrochers’ background is mainly in singing, but she’s learning to develop a flair for acting with each experience and this show has definitely brought out the best of those talents in her.
Born in Brazil, Desrochers came to Canada when she was nine. She attended St. Joseph’s School in Chemainus till Grade 6 and was at Chemainus Secondary School for Grade 9.
Desrochers always had a natural penchant for singing, but there were lapses along the way. She credits Brian Thompson, a math teacher at the Alternate School she attended for a while, as the one who “really encouraged me to keep singing.”
Desrochers was the winner of the first Duncan Idol singing contest in 2007 and later served as M.C. for the competition that evolved from it, Duncan’s Got Talent.
She’s been in numerous productions over the years, including the Cowichan Musical Society’s production of Brigadoon and The Sound of Music at the Chemainus Theatre. The role that brought her instant fame and local recognition was portraying Billie Holliday for the Chemainus Valley Arts Council’s Lady Day at Emerson Bar and Grill in 2015.
Desrochers did Holliday for six shows, including two each at the St. Michael’s and All Angels Church in Chemainus, the Osborne Bay Pub and Chemainus Gardens.
“I was terrified nobody was going to come,” she recalled. “It was a challenge because I’d never acted before. It was like a one-woman show.
“It was awesome to get out of my comfort level to do acting which was lots of fun.”
Now with a bustling household that includes children Isaac, 16, Jussara, 5, Xzavier, 3, Jonisah, 1, and husband Corey, she’s putting the time and energy she has left into Clarke’s extravaganza.
Cooke’s story kind of flew under the radar compared to most musicians of the time, but Clarke was anxious to bring it out.
“You start it with a dead body on the ground and then you go backward and then the audience wants to know how that guy died,” explained Clarke.
“It was kind of like feeling if he could speak right on that night and had a voice, I was writing it and channeling what he might be thinking at that moment. Then it was just a matter of telling that story.”
Clarke added it’s the life of a human being, not defined by one moment: his death.
“You see the man’s life. Everyone makes choices – good and bad – and he made his share. I also felt he would be pleased to see his story being told to help this little idea of Cedrick’s.”
All profits from Cedrick’s Tea and Coffee House in Crofton, presenters of the show, go to the KIDS International Development Society.
Being part of the show left a lasting impression on Desrochers that she’s looking forward to reliving.
“It’s a show everybody needs to see – the realities and the struggles of what it was like for black people in that time,” she concluded. “How easily people can slip back into that.”
And the music speaks for itself with familiar hits that Cooke pumped out.
“There’s so many of them,” noted Clarke. “A lot of his songs were No. 1 or top 10. A lot of people knew them.”