Karen and Richard Carpenter remain - 30 years after the former’s
untimely death - the most celebrated sister-and-brother act in
American musical history.
On Jan. 25,
Chicagoan Lisa Rock will reprise Karen Carpenter’s lead singer
persona, backed by a six-piece band, at the Schauer Center in
Hartford. The “Close to You: The Music of the Carpenters”
tribute revisits the Carpenters’ songs while striving to
replicate their sound. Rock spoke with this reporter on her
and how did you first become acquainted with the Carpenters’
music? What is it about the music that has prompted you to
ROCK: I was
born the year that “Close to You” came out, in 1969. My
parents had several of their albums, so I grew up listening to
them. I always loved their music. I have been singing the songs
onstage since the ‘90s and had a show I first produced, wrote
and starred in back in Minneapolis in 1997. Having a band recreate
the music came to me a few years ago. I have always had Karen’s
lower range, and felt a strong connection to their music, so it
was a natural fit for me.
the Carpenters’ many songs, which three are your favorites and
“Superstar” is a favorite of the entire band; it’s one of
those haunting songs that I will never sing enough. Truly, all of
the songs of the Carpenters are favorites, but “Superstar” in
particular just haunts me. “A Song for You,” because it’s
the moment in the show for us where we are all in a place I
can’t describe with words - the music and lyrics speak to me in
a very deep, transcendent way. “I Won’t Last a Day Without
You” is very personal between me and a friend I can’t imagine
the world without and a friend who is no longer with us. It sums
up something very publicly that is sincerely very private for me.
you and Richard Carpenter communicated over the years? Has he seen
He’s very private and I’ve not tried to contact him. I respect
his desire to maintain his privacy.
magically, you were able to meet Karen Carpenter, what do you
suppose you’d say to her?
you and I’m sorry. Thank you for what she left behind and I’m
sorry she’s not still with us to be sharing that amazing,
ahead-of-its-time voice of hers. She and Olivia Newton-John were
dear, dear friends and I saw (Newton-John) recently in concert so
I believe Karen would still be touring and blowing us away with
her voice the way Olivia does.
whom is your show geared? What sorts of people are most likely to
audience has been very diverse, across ages and genders. There are
a lot of baby boomers and die-hard fans, but the people who have
come along to check us out have commented about how many of the
songs they knew and how grateful they were to be introduced to the
there anything you’d like to add?
love to see your readers come and check the show out. I am so
proud of how talented the band (Amy Malouf, Ken McMullen, Justin
Boller, David Orlicz, Nick Anderson, Micky York) is and how
passionate we are about the music of the Carpenters. People are
amazed at the end of the show about how many songs they knew and
how many memories the songs bring back for them.
At a glance
to You: The Music of the Carpenters”
When: 2 p.m.
and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25
Arts & Activites Center, 147 N. Rural St., Hartford