Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Musical impressionist bringing stars to Ottawa stage Saturday

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 3/24/2014

Ottawa residents will get the opportunity Saturday to help the community while reliving some of their favorite musical acts from yesteryear — but with a comedic twist.

Keith Allynn, a comedic musical impressionist, is set to perform 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. The show is set to feature 20 different impressions of famous musical acts from the 1960s and 1970s. His appearance is to benefit the construction of the new playground in Forest Park.

Ottawa residents will get the opportunity Saturday to help the community while reliving some of their favorite musical acts from yesteryear — but with a comedic twist.

Keith Allynn, a comedic musical impressionist, is set to perform 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. The show is set to feature 20 different impressions of famous musical acts from the 1960s and 1970s. His appearance is to benefit the construction of the new playground in Forest Park.

“I start with a full characterization of Willie Nelson, and I call myself ‘Not Really Willie,’” Allynn said. “I do about 20 impressions in the show and I change clothes, change characters, hats, mustaches and glasses and all sorts of things. We have a lot of fun. Jokes go through the whole thing, and I get kind of crazy. I call it my snowflake production, because there’s no two alike.”

Wynndee Lee, the city’s director of planning and codes, said Allynn’s performance, “Willie Nelson and the Outlaws,” will help raise money for the city’s Play Taskforce and pay for the construction of the new playground at Forest Park, 400 N. Locust St., Ottawa. The group was $5,000 short of the $150,000 it needed to complete the fundraising for the project, she said, but only needs to raise $2,500 from the concert because Modern Woodmen of America will match that amount.

The group planned two volunteer days to help construct the playground — the first was Saturday of last weekend; the second is this Saturday before the show — which will save the group about $50,000 of construction costs, Lee said. The project received a $20,000 grant because it planned to use volunteer workers, which now adds up to $70,000 saved to build the playground in the park.

Ottawa and the surrounding community came together to support a great cause, Lee said.

“We’ve done really well. We’re really pleased with the response,” Lee said. “It’s been a community effort to get this done.”

Allynn said he began performing as a stand-up comedian at 14 — which included impressions — and he later began singing and impersonating famous musical acts with his comedic twist. He said his act features country music from the 1960s and 1970s, but also hits different musical genres as well, including impressions of Frank Sinatra, Joe Cocker and Neil Diamond.

“When I started in comedy, I began with impressions, and I just did impressions of voices, actors, comedians, cartoon characters,” Allynn said. “I didn’t start singing until I was in my 20s. I just carried my impressions over to singing.”

Allynn said his performances are just for fun, and he doesn’t like to call his performances “impersonations” because they aren’t serious tributes to any artists.

“It’s more comedic than anything else. It’s not really a serious tribute to anyone,” Allynn said. “It’s fun, it’s funny, and people get to hear the songs they grew up with.”

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