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NYCB Theatre at Westbury to mark 40th anniversary of ‘Saturday Night Fever’

Felipe Rose of the Village People is part

Felipe Rose of the Village People is part of the lineup in the "Saturday Night Fever" tribute. Credit: Getty Images / Jonathan Wood

Even after four decades, the music of “Saturday Night Fever” is stayin’ alive.

The NYCB Theatre at Westbury will transform into a disco party on Saturday, Dec. 30, for a “Saturday Night Fever” 40th anniversary concert hosted by Donna Pescow, who played Annette in the 1977 musical drama starring John Travolta. Joining Pescow will be Deney Terrio, a choreographer for the production, who will also share stories on what it was like to work with Travolta.

But music will be the main attraction as disco artists including Felipe Rose from The Village People and performers from the film’s soundtrack take the stage. Among those will be Tavares, who performed the Bee Gees’ “More Than a Woman” on the album and Yvonne Elliman, who topped the charts with “If I Can’t Have You,” written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb in 1977.

“The song is way more famous than I am, I realize that,” Elliman said during a recent interview from her home in Honolulu. “But when people hear the song, they want to hear the singer that did it.”

Elliman appears in “Saturday Night Fever” concerts in cities in New York, California and Florida annually and credits the film’s popularity to the lasting power of disco music and to the joy it brought to so many from the outset.

“I don’t know why it was a happier time for everybody, it couldn’t have been,” said Elliman, 65. “But mostly what I hear from people is that it made them very happy and they loved the dancing and it lifted their spirits.”

It’s an association she has come to love.

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“It’s not a bad thing to be related to something that brings people happiness,” Elliman said.


Although the lyrics to “If I Can’t Have You” aren’t exactly cheery (the hook states: If I can’t have you / I don’t want nobody baby / If I can’t have you / uh-huh, oh), but Elliman said, “People don’t really listen to the lyrics, they listen to the beat.”

This entire show has been known to become interactive all on its own, according to Michelle Licata, one of three producers of the concert.

For her part, France Joli, a Canadian-born singer, will perform “Come to Me,” “Hard to Break the Heart” and “Gonna Get Over You,” disco hits that were not a part of the soundtrack.

“It’s about the dancing. It’s about the music. It’s about the club life,” Joli said of the appeal of ’70s music. “And regular people who just go and have a good time.”

The music, she said, helped people forget about whatever negative things were going on in their lives.

“Most of the lyrics, when you listen to disco music, it’s about romance, it’s about having fun and getting down,” Joli said. “It’s freeing. And people related to that.”

Joli has been performing for four decades and takes part in solo or multi-act shows almost every week in the tri-state area.

Disco, it appears, is alive and well.

“It’s quite spectacular to see how many people still have nostalgia for that kind of music and that kind of era,” Joli said.

The Final 40th Anniversary ‘Saturday Night Fever’ Concert

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, NYCB Theatre at Westbury

TICKETS $59.50-$99.50

INFO 800-653-8000,

The Final 40th Anniversary ‘Saturday Night Fever’ Concert

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, NYCB Theatre at Westbury

TICKETS $59.50-$99.50

INFO 800-653-8000,

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