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Did you see the Monkees live in 1966-67? We need you!

April 3, 2011 by  
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Hi, My name is Michael Canan. I am a journalist from Scripps Howard News
Service. I am trying to track down someone who as a teen saw the Monkees
live in 1966
or 67. Please contact me if you can help.

Michael Canan
Copy Editor
Scripps Howard News Service
Washington, D.C. 20005

write to:

(ed: do not reply to this message! thanks. brad)


From: “Loni Reeder”

A Monkee does ‘Aida’

Micky Dolenz joins Broadway musical

Wednesday, January 14, 2004 Posted: 1:55 PM EST (1855 GMT)

Micky Dolenz is now on Broadway, playing Prime Minister Zoser in Elton John
and Tim Rice’s version of “Aida.”

NEW YORK (AP) — Micky Dolenz studied architecture in college and was fully
prepared for a life planning buildings — not rock ‘n’ roll immortality —
even though he was auditioning for television shows between classes.

“I figured if architecture didn’t work out, I could fall back on show biz,”
he says with a laugh. “That was Plan B: acting and singing.”

Plan A, though, quickly faded when he nailed an audition in 1966 to join
“The Monkees,” a TV comedy based on the antics of a rock group modeled
after the Beatles. Dolenz could see the blueprints on the wall.

“I’m not a fool. I knew the power and possibility of a series on
television,” he says. “And the train just took off.”

It would be the “Last Train to Clarksville.”

Still, but there’s more than a little architecture in his latest project:
The role of the scheming Prime Minister Zoser in “Aida,” Disney’s cartoony
take on the Verdi opera.

Zoser, after all, has a thing for building pyramids.

“Yeah,” Dolenz says after considering the matter. “I guess in the end I’ve
managed to combine both those dreams.”

Dolenz, 58, joined co-stars Michelle T. Williams of Destiny’s Child, Will
Chase and Lisa Brescia this week in the Broadway version of “Aida,” the
Tony-winning musical with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice.

The rock-musical tells the story of a love triangle between Aida, a Nubian
princess forced into slavery; Amneris, an Egyptian princess; and Radames,
the soldier they both love.

Dolenz, who has been with a touring version of the show for six months,
plays Radames’ father, contributing songs like “Another Pyramid” and “Like
Father Like Son.”

“It’s been an incredible opportunity for me to do something that is so — I
mean, God love the Monkees — different,” Dolenz says. “There is nothing
like getting out there on a legitimate stage and having to really pull it

Powerful voice

Dolenz (far left) first gained musical fame with the Monkees, stars of
their own NBC show. The rest of the group included Davy Jones, Peter Tork
and Michael Nesmith.

Dolenz, who as a boy starred in the TV show “Circus Boy,” is no stranger to
the musical stage, having previously toured with companies of “Grease,” “A
Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “The Point” and “Tom
Sawyer.” He also wrote the book for, and directed, “Bugsy Malone” for the
London stage.

Yet even some of his friends didn’t know he had the musical chops for “Aida.”

“No one does,” he replies cheerily. “And to some degree I didn’t know.
There wasn’t anything that I did in my life professionally that demanded
that kind of singing.”

Paul J. Smith, the show’s production stage manager who previously worked
with Dolenz in “Grease,” says the performer has a voice as powerful as his
ego is small.

“There’s no question he wants to be part of the company. He doesn’t want to
be Micky Dolenz in ‘Aida.’ He wants to be right in the character,” Smith
says. “He is not at all a diva.”

Looking back, Dolenz sees a connection between his current work and the one
that forever will be linked with his name — the Monkees, whose albums and
TV show were chart toppers in the late 1960s.

“The Monkees, in a way, was a musical on television,” he says. “Like a
Broadway show, you can’t fake it on stage — you actually have to sing and
you actually have to play.”

Well, not at the beginning. The Monkees — or Prefab Four, as they were
called — were the brainchild of Columbia Pictures producers who were
inspired to create a television show after the success of the Beatles’ “A
Hard Day’s Night.”

Open auditions were held and four strangers were cast: Dolenz, who
performed “Johnny B. Goode” on guitar for the casting directors, as well as
Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones. Dolenz was cast as a drummer
without ever having hit the skins.

At first, the band’s songs — like “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to
Clarksville” — were written by the likes of Neil Diamond and Carole King,
while other musicians played the instruments.

Americans loved watching the quartet’s zany antics each week, whether it
was secretly baby-sitting a horse in a house or unwittingly becoming
foreign agents in order to recover microfilm hidden in maracas.

‘Like Leonard Nimoy really becoming a Vulcan’

The Monkees’ first album featured “Last Train to Clarksville,” the group’s
first No. 1.

But by 1967, the band had enough of the make-believe and began insisting on
playing and singing their own songs. Dolenz had become proficient on the
drums and the four began a heated behind-the-scenes battle with producers
and NBC.

“It wasn’t that we didn’t want to play or couldn’t play. They would not
allow us to play — literally,” Dolenz says. “Our side was saying it was
more important that it was legitimate, even if it’s not as good. That
ultimately is what happened.”

The Monkees won, and what had been fake gave way to fact. The band went on
tour — Jimi Hendrix was the opening act — and acted and supplied the
soundtrack to the 1968 psychedelic movie “Head,” co-written by Jack Nicholson.

“The Monkees really becoming a band was like the equivalent of Leonard
Nimoy really becoming a Vulcan,” Dolenz says. “It was that weird. Mike used
to say it was like Pinocchio really becoming a little boy. We transcended
the imaginary and became this supergroup.”

Not everyone was happy, particularly those critics who felt cheated when
word spread that the four young men had not initially been the musical
talents behind the songs.

“I was disturbed and hurt and bothered — and have been over the years at
different times — because of the unjustified animosity directed at me
personally. Like it was my fault! Like I conspired or contrived or it was
all part of this manipulation to deceive,” Dolenz says.

He would like to point out that he was only in his early 20s at the time.

Dolenz also thinks it’s high time the Monkees were given their due for what
they did for popular culture besides goofing around: namely, sanitizing the
counterculture for the mainstream.

“I equate it to Will Smith bringing rap into American living rooms with
‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’ That was very similar. Before that, the only
time you’d see people with long hair on television they were getting
arrested or at protests or smoking dope at love-ins. And then all of a
sudden the Monkees come along with long hair representing, in a way, all
those millions of kids out there who were good kids.”

After the Monkees dissolved, Dolenz found it difficult to get work again.
He narrowly missed landing the role of the Fonz on “Happy Days,” a part
that would later make Henry Winkler famous.

“I remember going to some audition for an acting part and someone said,
‘What are you doing here? We don’t need any drummer!’ ” — proof perhaps
that his long search for legitimacy as a Monkee had come full circle.

Dolenz went to England and began a career directing TV shows and
commercials. The British newspapers began referring to him not as Micky
Dolenz, the ex-Monkee, but as Michael Dolenz, director and producer for the

He no longer fights the incessant questions about the Monkees and has
embraced his fame. Members of the band periodically reunite for concerts
and Dolenz is happy to play the old songs.

“I have no regrets,” he says. “I love ‘The Monkees.’ I’m very proud of the
work I did on that show, like I’m proud of the work I did on ‘Circus Boy.’
The Monkee train is gonna go on, with or without me, forever. Long after
I’m gone they’re going to be playing those songs and showing those shows.”

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