Music icons Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., will make their debut in the new musical, Up, Up & Away! a musical fable. World premiere for the highly-anticipated theater production, is Thursday, January 21st 8:00 P.M., at the prestigious McCallum Theatre, which this season will present award-winning musicals including The Producers, Beauty and the Beast, and Jersey Boys (73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260) in Palm Desert, CA. The musical is being produced by SWC Studios, LLC, a kathy ireland® Worldwide entity, Nic Mendoza, McCoo & Davis’ personal manager and executive producer, Steve Rosenblum, as well as other SWC executives. Associate producers for the project are Rubén Torres, Tommy Meharey, Brian Nguyen,Brittany Duncan and Adrian Ponce.
“Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. are not only music icons, they are also kind, wonderful people. We at Live Nation are thrilled and honored to present Up, Up & Away! a musical fable, a reimagined take on timeless pop classics,” said Brad Wavra, Senior Vice President of Touring for Live Nation, the North American promoter. Additional performances will be announced shortly.
“The McCallum Theatre is proud to be presenting the premiere of Up, Up & Away! a musical fable. These two artists represent the pinnacle of the music of a generation, and to have them recreate the iconic music that we all know and love, will bring a very special kind of joy to our audience,” said Mitch Gershenfeld, President and CEO of The McCallum Theatre.
Up, Up & Away! a musical fable, starring Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., and The Next Dimension, is represented exclusively by William-Morris Endeavor, and SWC Company.
McCoo and Davis, seven time GRAMMY® Award winners, are teamed with the new musical group, The Next Dimension, to realize pop classics, including Up, Up and Away, Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In, Worst That Could Happen, You Don’t Have to be a Star (To be in My Show), MacArthur Park, Help!, Blackbird, Midnight Hour, One Less Bell (to Answer), and The Man That Got Away in this tale about two aspiring singers, who met, fell in love, and hold each other close through a lifetime of musical and personal challenges. Up, Up and Away! a musical fable also includes tributes to fellow music legends, including the original 5th Dimension and The Beatles.
Up Up and Away! a musical fable, marks a long-awaited return to musical theater for the husband and wife duo. Ms. McCoo appeared on Broadway in the revival of the musical SHOW BOAT, starring in the role of Julie, while Mr. Davis starred in the hit musical, BLUES IN THE NIGHT, and in the role of James “Thunder” Early in DREAMGIRLS.
The musical is the brainchild of Nic Mendoza, who developed his love and appreciation for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.’s music as a child, listening to his mother’s albums. Mendoza, approachedKathy Ireland with his idea for the musical and for guidance in conceptualizing the production.
“Duke Ellington is a great inspiration to me. He once said, ‘Music is my mistress.’ I understand that, because all my life music has been one of my great passions. My grandfather was a brilliant composer, my father and family have worked in the music industry for generations. I grew up listening to my Mom’s recordings of Marilyn and Billy, loving their talent, voices and harmonies. Our goal is to establish a new group sound, led by our stars, which captures extraordinary vocal blends, with an homage to Marilyn and Billy’s history. Producing Up, Up & Away! for them is the realization of a childhood dream,” said Nic Mendoza.
“When Nic brought this idea to us, I thought how terrific this would be for people who love the music, and Nic’s generation as well. What Marilyn and Billy, The Next Dimension, Nic and the SWC producing team have accomplished, is entertaining, moving in its music, moving in its heart and succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Maybe that’s why we love great artists; they take us Up, Up and Away!” said Kathy Ireland, executive producer and Mendoza’s mentor.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis remarked, “We were thrilled when Kathy presented us with Nic’s vision ofUp Up and Away! a musical fable. The genius of this concept, surprised and excited us. The musical production gives us the pleasure of sharing experiences, and timeless music with audiences of every age. It is not the story of The 5th Dimension… it is indeed a fable.”
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. enjoy tremendous success as recording artists, performers and authors. They received 7 Grammy Awards and earned 15 gold and 3 platinum records. The husband and wife team celebrate over 45 years of marriage. In 2004, the couple wrote a book, which shares their secrets of staying happy and committed to each other in Hollywood. As lead vocalists of one of the top singing groups of our time, The 5th Dimension, they recorded such hits such as UP, UP & AWAY, AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN, WEDDING BELL BLUES, ONE LESS BELL TO ANSWER, and STONED SOUL PICNIC to name a few. As a duo, the song YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A STAR (TO BE IN MY SHOW), reached #1 on the music charts and earned them a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. On television, THE MARILYN McCOO & BILLY DAVIS, JR. SHOW was the first, and to date only, variety series starring an African-American musical couple.
In addition to the success they have together, Marilyn & Billy have also enjoyed solo pursuits. McCoo hosted the popular television music series, SOLID GOLD, for 5 years – and Davis had the chance to realize a lifelong dream to record a religious album with gospel great, the Rev. James Cleveland, entitled, “Let Me Have a Dream.” Over the years, the talents of McCoo & Davis have been requested for important events on a national and global level, including participating in inaugural celebrations for U. S. Presidents and performing for the Pontiff, Pope John Paul II.