Posts tagged ‘Mike Reid’

“The Last Day” Is Here

I had a chance a couple of weeks ago to drop in on an early rehearsal for The Last Day, a new musical commissioned by the School of Theatre and written by Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger. If one of those names looks familiar, it’s most likely Reid ’69, the former Nittany Lion football All-American and NFL standout who has enjoyed a long career as a singer, songwriter and composer.

The show, directed by John Simpkins, head of the musical theatre program, tells the story of “a young man tormented by a secret he has never shared. As he ends his junior year of musical theatre university training, he is dropped from the program as his secret overtakes him. Over the course of one night, his peers attempt to show him the value of his life and they all discover much they never realized about themselves.”

The cast is made up entirely of undergrads from the musical theatre department, one of the most selective of its kind in the country—point being, there’s a lot of talent on hand. And good thing—as Reid told WPSU this week, “What I hope the show reveals is, in the midst of crisis, how groups of people can come together and feel more a sense of authentic community … When you have something like that, you have people operating from a very high emotional level, it really opens the door for lots of music.”

Having spent some time with Reid since he’s been on campus the past few weeks, I can vouch for the thoughtfulness that infuses his work. The show opens tonight at the Penn State Downtown Theatre and runs through Saturday, June 15, and again June 19-22. You can find tickets here.

Ryan Jones, editor

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June 12, 2019 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

From Hillary Clinton to Adele, Mike Reid’s Biggest Hit Lives On

If you caught the opening of Saturday Night Live this weekend, you saw Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush (or, at least, the comedians playing them) trying to woo skeptical voters with renditions of the early ’90s hit “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” No matter which way you fall on the political spectrum, it was pretty funny stuff:

Of course, most folks watching probably didn’t realize the Penn State connection to a song both Rolling Stone and Mojo magazines rated among the best of all time: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was written by former Nittany Lion football All-American Mike Reid ’69. The Outland and Maxwell Trophy winner went on to a terrific but relatively brief NFL career before committing to music, where he’s built a quietly stellar career as a songwriter. (ESPN.com caught up with him last year.) And when he does play live, as he did in this clip captured in 2014, he gives his own take on the classic he wrote.

Reid has mostly worked under the radar over the years, but as that SNL sketch reminded us, his most famous song has some serious staying power. In addition to Raitt’s huge hit 25 years ago, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” has been covered by the likes of George Michael, Boyz II Men, and most recently, Adele.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

February 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm 2 comments

‘Cherish the Ladies’ at the State Theatre

Roisin Dillon and Mirella Murray of Cherish the Ladies

If you haven’t been back to the State College area in a while, one thing that might surprise you is how much it has blossomed into a great area for the performing arts. We’ve had performance venues on campus—like Eisenhower and Schwab Auditorium—for a long time, but the 15,000-seat Bryce Jordan Center brought a whole new dimension when it opened in 1995. The BJC has brought shows ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Jay-Z to Tim McGraw to the Rockettes to monster truck rallies.

Some local step-dancers had a chance to perform with Cherish the Ladies.

Filling a niche at the other end of the spectrum is the State Theatre on College Avenue, which seats not quite 600 and offers a much more intimate setting for concerts and films. It’s been been a fixture in State College since it opened in 1938, but for most of its life it was a movie theatre. Then it closed in 2001, underwent a major renovation, and reopened three years ago this month as a nonprofit community arts center. (Nashville’s Mike Reid ’69 helped support the project and was the performer on opening night.)

The leader of Cherish the Ladies: flute and whistle player Joanie Madden

One of the first shows at the State Theatre back in December 2006 was a Christmas concert by the Irish traditional group Cherish the Ladies, and last night, that group came back for another show. I’m a big fan of Irish music and especially of Cherish the Ladies, so I was there for their 2006 concert and again last night—and last night I was given permission to do some photography.

How much photography the news media can do at a concert depends on the performers—some don’t permit it at all; others allow you to shoot for the first three songs and that’s it. Cherish the Ladies, bless ’em, had no such restrictions—I was able to click away all night long. Click on any of the photos here to see them bigger, or check out my Flickr site to view about 15 shots from last night’s show (or see them in slide-show format here).

Tina Hay, editor

December 8, 2009 at 10:36 am 1 comment

Mike Reid Featured in the L.A. Times

A feature in today’s L.A. Times offers a cool reminder that one of Penn State’s all-time football greats has had an even more interesting and successful career off the field. Mike Reid ’69 is profiled by Times sports columnist Jerry Crowe, who gets right to the point of what makes Reid unique:

Dozens have won the Outland Trophy, presented annually to college football’s outstanding interior lineman.

Hundreds have won Grammys.

Only Mike Reid has won both.

Reid must surely also be the only man enshrined in the College Football and Nashville Songwriters halls of fame. Without a doubt, he’s one we’re proud to call our own.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

December 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm 1 comment

Kerry Collins Continues Country Music Rise

Kerry Collins, as pictured in Nashville Scene.

Is it possible that one day, Kerry Collins will be known not as a quarterback, but as a songwriter? He’s been trying to follow the path of fellow Penn Stater Mike Reid for a while now, and he took another step recently when a song he co-wrote was performed at the Bluebird Cafe, a famous country music venue in Nashville.

“Running out of Reasons” was performed by his co-writer, Lisa Hentrich, the wife of his Tennessee Titans teammate, punter Craig Hentrich. You can read all about it in this story from Nashville Scene, and you can hear the song on Lisa Hentrich’s MySpace page.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

November 20, 2009 at 9:12 pm 1 comment

Another Mike Reid?

Turns out former Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins has a new hobby: writing country music.

Titans Wooing Fans FootballGuess that’s what happens when you spend a lot of time in Nashville, where Collins is now playing for the Tennessee Titans.

He told The Associated Press recently that he’s been jotting ideas in a notebook for years, and that in 2007 he began to work with some established Nashville song writers, including Ed Hill, who co-wrote Tracy Lawrence’s “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” and Billy Lawson, who wrote “I Left Something Turned On At Home” for Trace Adkins. Both songwriters say Collins — who majored in labor and industrial relations, hardly an artsy field — has some ability. Collins certainly has endured some life experiences that could translate to country songs.

That said, he’s got a steep climb to become the best football player/songwriter in Penn State history. That honor goes to Mike Reid, the 1969 Outland Trophy winner and a four-time All-Pro for the Cincinnati Bengals, who has written No. 1 country songs and branched out into classical music and musicals. Read this 2001 Sports Illustrated piece for a nice look at Reid’s musical accomplishments.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

May 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm 1 comment


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