A performance by the fiery 10-piece Fabulous Equinox Orchestra at the Lutcher Theater in Orange, Texas, will be broadcast on the theater’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. Nov. 19.
During the show, viewers can donate to relief efforts for Hurricanes Laura and Delta. All contributions will benefit the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana and Orange County Disaster Rebuild.
Leah Stark, Lutcher Theater marketing manager, said the performance was recorded live at the theater on Wednesday. The Nov. 19 broadcast will tell viewers the story of how Laura and Delta impacted the Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas regions.
Seeing the recent damage in Southwest Louisiana was difficult, Stark said.
“You feel kind of helpless,” she said. “We know there’s help and support that’s needed. If (the donations) help one person get back on their feet, we’re happy about it.”
Longtime friends and Monroe, La., natives Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson created the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra after moving to Savannah, Ga., in 2005. It is described as having a blend of artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, along with styles like Louisiana soul, Texas swing, Motown, gospel and 1980s pop.
“No band on planet Earth has the presence of a big band,” Davis said.
Davis said he and Johnson met in the seventh grade after their mothers realized the two shared the same classes. They were roommates in college and actually married their wives two weeks apart. Dubbed “The Kingpin,” Davis leads the big band and plays tenor saxophone and sings, while Johnson, “Mr. Showtime,” is the lead singer and plays trombone.
“It’s truly special and unique to do what you love to do with your best friend,” Davis said.
Davis said he and Johnson moved to Georgia the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. He said he wants people who live outside of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas to remember that ongoing recovery from Laura and Delta.
“We’re hoping to remind people of the plight these good people are facing,” Davis said.
Stark said the orchestra’s performance was scheduled for October, but it was postponed after Hurricanes Laura and Delta. She said Davis and Johnson said they still wanted to perform, which eventually turned the show into a benefit for hurricane victims.
Lutcher Theater, which normally features tours of Broadway productions, live music and guest speakers, has been closed for several months in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, Stark said.
“Obviously, this season is not normal,” she said. “It’s made the performing arts world figure out how to do what they do.”
With COVID-19 shutdowns grinding live performances and tours to a halt, Davis said the band shifted to entertaining audiences through weekly livestreams.
“We had almost 30,000 people watch the first one,” he said. “We’ve played every week and raised a huge amount of money through virtual tickets.”
Davis said the band hopes its past success with livestreaming will boost donations for the Community Foundation and Orange County Disaster Rebuild.
Davis said COVID-19 restrictions also forced the band to scale down its members from 18 to 10.
Stark said the privately-owned Lutcher Theater will remain a fixture in Southeast Texas.
“We know the community relies on the arts for entertainment, culture and fun,” she said. “We want to do things for the community.”
Davis said the Lutcher Theater staff was open-minded and creative in setting up the recorded show.
“It’s just a new form of reality for the entertainment business and coming up with unique solutions,” he said. “Who ever thought we would do a show for nobody? Hopefully there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
To watch the Nov. 19 broadcast, visit facebook.com/lutchertheater.