One man, 90 minutes, 400 singing voices

Vocal impressionist and comedian André-Phillipe Gagnon is launching his 2012-13 tour, The One Man Hit Parade from the Royal Theatre

André-Philippe Gagnon brings his One Man Hit Parade to Victoria Nov. 6.

The man of 400 voices is returning to Victoria.

Vocal impressionist and comedian André-Phillipe Gagnon is launching his 2012-13 tour, The One Man Hit Parade from the Royal Theatre on Tuesday (Nov. 6).

It’s Gagnon’s first visit to the Island this decade and “too long since the last time,” said the 49-year-old, from his Quebec home last week.

Gagnon’s been a stage hit since he caught international fame for his adaptation of We Are The World in 1985. Gagnon wowed audiences of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show with his impersonation of all 21 solos on the 1985 African benefit song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.

The essence of Gagnon’s product hasn’t changed. Gagnon’s gone on to do so many voices, some have called him the man of 2,000 voices.

But the 2012 stage show is a lot bigger, and better, than the kid whose spot-on Jean Chretien could carry him all night, music regardless.

“One Man Hit Parade is the first time we put the singing impersonations together chronologically, from Bill Haley, to Woodstock, to Boy George and Phil Collins, to Gnarles Barkley and Maroon 5,” Gagnon said.

The stage show has evolved, too. He sharpened his between-song comedy with help from acclaimed writer George Reinblatt of Rick Mercer Report and Just for Laughs fame.

“The comedy is not so much political, not that I won’t do Harper,” Gagnon said. “And sometimes still, there is a need to do Chretien, just because.”

Gagnon’s gift of gifts has always been his singing. And he hears about it to this day.

“I am often asked to do certain singers, such as Neil Young, but I won’t be singing him this time around. There is only so many you can do in 90 minutes. I have to tell fans to be patient, next time we’ll do them.”

Patience being the key word, as Gagnon will rattle off upwards of a dozen impressions per minute.

Audience members beware: Gagnon will mimic you too.

“I do impersontions of someone from the crowd as part of the final act. They get to sing. And I will try to sing like them.”

Song selection at that point comes from the ‘Apod.’

“A giant iPod, it detects motion, you can move the songs with your arms, and holds a library of my songs, it’s great fun.”

The Western tour continues onto Nanaimo, Vancouver, Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary, and shifts into high gear with week-long stays in Montreal and Quebec City, and a rural Quebec tour in December and January. Following that, he heads off to Europe.

Tickets for the Victoria show are available at rmts.bc.ca. The show is at 8 p.m.

Just Posted

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read