Some voices are instantly recognizable. You hear them in a car with the windows rolled down, or in an elevator, or a grocery store, and know that it’s Bob Dylan, or Axl Rose, or Louis Armstrong.
But there’s a vocal trio that is perhaps more well-known than any other: that of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
For over 50 years, the squeaky voices of Alvin and his brothers have delighted listeners young and old. Now, the trio will bring that unforgettable squeal to a live stage show at the Saenger Theater on Oct. 18.
The live show’s producer, Stephen Shaw, feels that the show’s wide variety of Chipmunk-ified covers will entertain both kids and their parents.
“It’s mostly pop songs, either stuff you grew up with or stuff that’s currently on the radio, like One Direction, Carly Rae Jepson, there’s some Elvis Presley, a few originals and some Chipmunk classics,” said Shaw.
This live show isn’t just a concert, however. All the singing comes wrapped up in a new story that sees the trio touring the country.
“The Chipmunks are sort of tricked by their arch nemesis into performing a concert to save a dairy farm up north that was once the legendary site of Woodstock. Things don’t work out … and the Chipmunk crew prepare for this festival by going on a sort of a warm-up tour where they perform in Texas and Las Vegas,” said Shaw.
Fans familiar with the Chipmunks will be happy to see that the show also features their feminine counterparts — the Chipettes — as well as hijinks aplenty.
“Everywhere they go, they keep running into the Chipettes … there are all these hilarious situations they end up in. There’s a food fight, a break-dance competition, and it’s very interactive with the crowd,” he said.
With three movies out and another on the way this December, it’s clear that the Chipmunk hype has stayed alive all these years. Shaw thinks that this cross-generational appeal is one of the most special aspects of the franchise.
“I know when I see the Chipmunks on TV or I see an ad for this show I think, ‘Oh, I want to see that with my daughter.’ And my daughter, having seen the movies, thinks ‘Oh, I want to go to that.’ That doesn’t happen all that often. Usually parents want to see their shows and kids want to see their shows. There’s rarely the crossover that spans 50 years and spans generations.”
The secret to the Chipmunks’ sustained success, in Shaw’s estimation? It’s simple: lovable characters and good music.
“I think they’re fun, funny and lovable. I think the mischievous nature of Alvin and his brothers is just a fun-loving story. And I remember growing up when my parents would put on the Alvin and the Chipmunks records and thinking they were such great songs,” he said.
Shaw and his crew have put in a lot of work to ensure that this live tour lives up to the long-running Chipmunk name.
“We have really done a great job building the show, meaning the costumes are animatronic. Their mouths can move, their eyes can blink. We really focused on making them look as realistic as a five-foot tall chipmunk can look. They look good. And we’ve got tons of confetti, and a huge video wall, and a food fight, and all this great stuff.”
You can see Alvin and the gang at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. More information about the show can be found at www.saengernola.com/shows/alvin-and-the-chipmunks.