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Westbury Music Fair, NYCB Theatre: Memorable shows over 60 years

The Westbury Music Fair, now known as the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, celebrates its 61st anniversary this year. Here's a look at some of the acts that have graced the venue's revolving stage.

B.B. King

B.B. King performed at the NYCB Theatre at
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

B.B. King performed at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury just before he died in May 2015.

Paul Anka

Paul Anka is one of the artists who
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Paul Anka is one of the artists who has played at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury the most. “The venue has one of those magical vibes about it that makes you want to come back,” says Paul Anka, among the artists who has played Westbury the most. “You get the real fans in there and they know their nest very well. There’s a lot of warmth all the time. I’ve never had a bad experience.”

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper teaches a crowd member how to
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Cyndi Lauper teaches a crowd member how to have fun at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.

Ringo Starr

Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr brings his All-Starr Band to
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr brings his All-Starr Band to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.

The early days

The Westbury Music Fair, born June 18, 1956,
Photo Credit: NYCB Theatre at Westbury

In June 1956, the venue, now known as the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, opened on Brush Hollow Road with a unique stage in the round.

'Fiddler on the Roof'

Zero Mostel, starring as Tevye in "Fiddler On
Photo Credit: Newsday File

Zero Mostel, starring as Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Westbury Music Fair on Nov. 3, 1971.

Brian Setzer

Massapequa rocker Brian Setzer performs at the Westbury
Photo Credit: Newsday/Dick Kraus

Massapequa rocker Brian Setzer, who plays the venue regularly with his orchestra during the holidays, performs at the Westbury Music Fair on July 11, 2001.

Debbie Gibson

DEBORAH GIBSON IN CONCERT AT WESTBURY MUSIC FAIR
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Pop star Debbie Gibson, who grew up in Merrick, saw her first concert at the venue when she attended a Liberace concert and ended up headlining herself in 1991.

Generation Axe

Generation Axe, consisting of Nuno Bettencourt, left, Zakk
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Generation Axe, consisting of Nuno Bettencourt, left, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen and Tosin Abasi, attack the stage at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.

Jack Hanna

Zookeeper Jack Hanna talks animals with a local
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Zookeeper Jack Hanna talks animals with a local kid at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.

Crosby, Stills & Nash

Crosby, Stills & Nash bring their harmonies to
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Crosby, Stills & Nash bring their harmonies to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett croons to the crowd at the
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Tony Bennett croons to the crowd at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.

Steve Vai

Playing the NYCB Theatre at Westbury is a
Photo Credit: Mark Schoen

Playing the NYCB Theatre at Westbury is a warm homecoming for guitarist Steve Vai, who grew up in Carle Place.

Tickets, the pre-internet way

Before the internet, fans used to line up
Photo Credit: NYCB Theatre at Westbury

Before the internet, fans used to line up outside Westbury Music Fair for hours to get tickets.

Nina Simone

Live recordings: Jazz singer-pianist Nina Simone’s 1968 album,
Photo Credit: Imports

Jazz singer-pianist Nina Simone’s 1968 album, “ ’Nuff Said!,” was recorded at Westbury Music Fair, with the exception of three tracks, on April 7, 1968 — three days after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The single “Why? (The King of Love Is Dead)” and the entire performance was dedicated in King’s memory.

Johnny Cash

Album covers: A haunting black and white photo
Photo Credit: Sony

A haunting black and white photo of Johnny Cash standing backstage moments before he was about to perform serves as the cover of his 2000 album, “American III: Solitary Man.” A framed copy of the cover hangs on the wall backstage in the hall where the shot was taken.

Zero Mostel

Zero Mostel re-creates his 1962 Broadway role at

Zero Mostel re-creates his 1962 Broadway role at the Westbury Music Fair in a revival of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum".

Wyclef Jean

Rap artist Wyclef Jean performing Sunday night at
Photo Credit: Dyane Leight

Rap artist Wyclef Jean performs at Westbury Music Fair.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers, at the Westbury Music Fair.

“I’ve played Westbury for years and years because I love rituals,” says Kenny Rogers, shown performing at the Westbury Music Fair. “Long Island has always been wonderful for me. It’s filled with great people."

Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli

1967 Westbury Music Fair: Judy Garland came to
Photo Credit: Newsday File

Judy Garland at Westbury Music Fair after walking off the set of the film "Valley of the Dolls." For her performances she wore a 50 pound beaded dress made for her for that film. On opening night, her daughter, Liza Minnelli, joined her onstage.

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