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Jerry Lee Lewis tribute act to shake up Brookside Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 January 2015

"Jerry Lee Lewis" as Peter Gill on stage.

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Tribute artist Peter Gill will chart the highs and lows of rockstar Jerry Lee Lewis's career at theatre

"Jerry Lee Lewis" as Peter Gill on stage.

A musician is set to recreate the magic of “rock and roll’s first great wild man” in Romford.

Tribute act Peter Gill is due to pay homage to iconic rockstar Jerry Lee Lewis at a stop-off show at the Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road on Thursday.

The Jerry Lee Lewis Story, which has been touring the country for three years, tells the tale behind the man who shot to superstar status with rock and roll hits ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and Great Balls of Fire in the 1950s.

The production follows the rise of “The Killer” – as the star is also known – and his career downfall after marrying his 13-year-old cousin when he was 22.

Peter Gill as Jerry Lee Lewis. Picture: Beyond Eternity PromotionsPeter Gill as Jerry Lee Lewis. Picture: Beyond Eternity Promotions

The tribute show also delves into the music, life and times of Jerry Lee Lewis’ career re-ignition in the late 1960s and 1970s after he performed at The Star Club in Hamburg.

Fan and musician Peter Gill, 45, said: “He was the first wild man in rock, his energy is second to none and he was a fantastic performer.

“We’d never seen anything like him ever at the time and the style of his shows were totally unique – he influenced a lot of popular music, in the same way Elvis and Buddy Holly did.”

Peter, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, set out to create a show, which was more than just a tribute act to Jerry Lee Lewis, who will be 80-years-old this year.

Jerry Lee Lewis. Picture: PAJerry Lee Lewis. Picture: PA

He said: “I wanted to do something with a storyline as well, so people who aren’t familiar with his work can learn about his story.

“He’s influenced so much popular music over the years, a lot of it has all come from Jerry Lee Lewis’ work, so it should resonate with all audiences.

“He’ll open your eyes to where it all came from,” said Peter.

The Jerry Lee Lewis impersonator is hoping to get audiences off their seats, performing more than 20 of the rock and roll legend’s hits.

Jerry Lee Lewis facts

He was born on September 29 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana, USA.

He began playing the piano at 9-years-old.

When he was 10, his father mortgaged the family farm to buy Lewis his first piano.

His first public performance at age 14 was at the opening of a local car dealership.

He signed with Sun Records in 1956.

He jammed with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash while working at Sun Records.

He released a total of 40 studio albums.

He has had 10 number one singles.

He was inducted into the first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

He opened a restaurant filled with his pianos and motorcycles in 2013.

“There’s a lot of room to dance at the Brookside,” said Peter.

The pianist-vocalist said of performing rock and roll: “There’s nothing like performing in front of an audience, it’s the energy, it’s so important to this particular style of music – it’s like a drug really.”

He added: “It’s a really lovely theatre too – I performed at the Brookside with Anita Harris last year, which was great.”

The show also features pioneering rock and roll disk jockey Dewey Phillips, who is played by Iain Barton.

Peter said: “Dewey Phillips was the first DJ that aired the music and he was a real character and he features in the narrative – he’s a real larger than life character.

“These figures didn’t just change popular music between pre and post-war periods, they changed society and the way we think – we can’t underestimate the way popular music continues to change our lives even today.”

He added: “Jerry was playing was black music in a very different era and we’ll never see that again, so it’s very important part of our history.”

Tickets cost £15 with £13 concessions discounts available for the 8pm show. Call 017 0875 5775 to book.

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