Area Native Brings New York Show Home
by Elizabeth Shelton
Local audiences will have an opportunity to see a New York cabaret when area native, Tom Vaughn, brings to town his highly acclaimed, “Trail of Cheers.” For two nights, June 7 and 8, Vaughn will perform at Port Cape Girardeau with a following show June 14 at The Hickory Log in Dexter, the town his parents and generations of Vaughns call home.
For more than twenty years Vaughn has lived and worked in New York as a songwriter and performer, having also performed on cruise ships, as background vocals for Lucy Arnaz, and as a tenor soloist in the exclusive Empire City Men’s Chorus. In addition to honoring his Missouri roots with original songs like “Blomeyer Junction,” and “In the Genes,” his “Trail of Cheers” cabaret is Vaughn’s salute to many milestones on his personal journey through cancer, heart disease and the daily struggle many artists face of balancing the call to perform with the financial necessity to work a 9-to-5 job. The five cover tunes and eleven original pieces share his optimism and commitment to personal growth while displaying his many musical talents. He explains, “Life is worth celebrating, and this show is about that and overcoming obstacles big-time. Our window of time is short and we'd better get to doing the things we excel in and make that our life."
New York critics have given high accolades to Vaughn’s previous productions in the Big Apple’s Laurie Beechman Theatre and the Metropolitan Room, even hinting at a possible award nomination for the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs. Critic Russ Weatherford wrote, "With grace and optimism, Vaughn shared the choices he made which led him to focus his healing time on positive thinking. The audience experienced those positive thoughts of hope and expectation as they have been transformed into music. This path of self-revelation has produced a masterful songwriter. His performing style is open and enchanting. His strong voice and uplifting presence bring the audience an appreciation of his talents and his life affirming insights."
Vaughn confesses, “To invest the time and money to produce a show and have it be so well received, especially in a city that can be as brutal as Manhattan, is so affirming. When I began thinking about giving it more of a bluegrass feel for future productions, I realized I just had to debut that back home and share it with the people who have launched me and supported me on this incredible journey.”
Appropriately, Vaughn returns to the Port Cape stage where he and fellow Central High School musicians staged dinner theater productions in the early eighties. One of those performers and long-time friend, Elizabeth Shelton, returned to live in Cape a few years ago and will sing a duet with Vaughn written by him. Some of the area’s most talented instrumentalists will comprise his ensemble, including musicians from Common Thread--Kevin Engert on guitar and banjo and Kevin Grimsley on guitar—plus Alan Palermo on bass and Kyle Gilhaus on fiddle.
Doors open for the Port Cape performances on June 7 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. with a full buffet preceding the 8:00 show. Tickets for dinner and the show can be ordered by calling Port Cape
at 573-334-0954. The Hickory Log show in Dexter begins earlier with doors opening at 6:00 for dinner and the show beginning at 7:30. Tickets for this June 14 show may be purchased by calling the Hickory Log at 573-624-4950. Both locations will be selling tickets at the door, but advance reservations are encouraged.