Legendary singer Tony Orlando performs Christmas Show at Sands Bethlehem Event Center Nov. 27-Dec. 1
From a press release:
Incomparable. It’s a word used often to describe someone who has no equal, and a term that best describes the legendary Tony Orlando.
For the past two years, he has been performing his annual Christmas show to packed audiences at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, and from Sunday, Nov. 27 through Thursday Dec. 1, Lehigh Valley music fans and those in the greater metro area will have the honor of seeing the incomparable singer bring the true meaning of the holiday to the Christmas City once again.
Orlando will perform his Great American Christmas Show in Bethlehem as part of a five-day matinee/evening, eight-show residency.
Tickets go on sale this Friday, Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at sandseventcenter.com, the Event Center box office (77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem), ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800-745-3000.
Over the course of his 54 years in a show business, he has sold millions of records, including the No. 1 hits “Knock Three Times,” “Candida,” “My Sweet Gypsy Rose,” and “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You).” His other No. 1 song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree,” continues to be a rallying cry for the world and a constant reminder to never forget our soldiers who are serving overseas.
Bethlehem holds a special place in Tony’s heart, and he truly delivers the wonderment of the holidays to fans old and new, young and old. It’s a show that’s not to be missed and is rapidly becoming a holiday tradition for families not only in the Lehigh Valley, but as a holiday destination for those making a day trip or spending the weekend, making the show the highlight of their visit.
Orlando brings to the stage a warmth and exhilarating energy that electrifies an audience. From million-selling records to a popular television variety series to movies and Broadway, he has conquered every facet of show business.
Born and raised in New York City, he began hitting the national charts at the age of 16 with “Halfway to Paradise” and “Bless You” as the first vocal artist to sign with Epic Records. He later routed his musical career to the nonperformance side and became one of the youngest vice presidents for CBS Records, heading their April-Blackwood music label.
Through no plans of his own, Orlando was coaxed into putting his voice on a demo record for a song titled “Candida” for his friends Hank Medress and Dave Appell at Bell Records. The record was released under the name of the record promotion director’s daughter, Dawn.
“I think it is really the rule of show business that every big break you get, you back into it without knowing it at the time. A few weeks after recording ‘Candida,’ I had forgotten all about it, and then Hank Medress calls me and says, ‘Hey, man, we’ve got a hit.’ The crazy thing was, the song kept climbing the charts ’till it hit No. 1,” said Orlando.
Hoping lightning would strike again, Medress had Orlando record “Knock Three Times.” The song not only became No. 1, it was the top song of 1971, selling over six million copies worldwide. The immense popularity of the song is still evident today and was featured in the hit movie “Now and Then.”
Realizing it was probably safe to give up his successful career at CBS Records, he decided to jump full force into what was already a meteoric rise to the top. Along with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, Orlando and Dawn became an international sensation.
Amazingly enough, he hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of his stardom. In 1973, he recorded “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree. The song was No. 1 for the year, became Orlando’s theme song, and grew into an American anthem of hope and homecoming, reunion, and renewal.
The yellow ribbon has welcomed home POWs from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, the hostages from Iran, and the troops from Desert Storm. Veterans are honored each Veterans Day, Nov. 11, in Branson with the Tony Orlando Yellow Ribbon Salute to Veterans. This is a specially produced extravaganza which is free to veterans and their families. As part of this salute to vets, Orlando presents the Yellow Ribbon Medal of Freedom. Past recipients have included Bob Hope, former POW Major Stephen Long, Boxcar Willie, and Connie Stevens. In 1999, the Eisenhower family, represented by Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, received the Yellow Ribbon Medal of Freedom.
A string of hits continued, including “Sweet Gypsy Rose,” “He Don’t Love You,” “Who’s in the Strawberry Patch with Sally,” “Cupid,” “Steppin’ Out (Gonna Boogie Tonight),” and “Mornin’ Beautiful.”
Orlando then set his sights on television, which resulted in his highly rated weekly variety series on CBS. Breaking new ground, it was the first multi-ethnic variety show on television. Orlando, of Hispanic and Greek origins, and Hopkins and Wilson, African Americans, were an instant hit. The show, which ran for four seasons from (1974-1976), welcomed the biggest names in show business each week; Orlando’s guests included his boyhood idols Jackie Gleason and Jerry Lewis.
The friendship forged by Orlando and Lewis was a strong one. He has guested on Lewis’ Labor Day Telethon for 25 years, nine of those as the New York host. Orlando and Lewis also teamed for an unforgettable series of shows in the early 1990s, taking the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton and Riviera hotels. Only two other entertainers share the distinction of performing with Lewis: Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Like a painter, Orlando is an artist who steps onto a stage as if it were a blank canvas. Each show, he weaves colorful emotions set to music, touching the deepest part of a person’s heart. He is a popular headliner in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Biloxi, and Laughlin, and he maintains a touring schedule with appearances at performing arts centers around the country.
Orlando remains one of America’s best-loved personalities. He has been a recipient of three American Music Awards and a People’s Choice Award. For outstanding achievements to the entertainment industry, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990.
He has played to packed arenas and for five presidents. His universal appeal has bridged many a generation gap. Orlando was one of the first entertainers to be featured as a subject of VH1’s “Behind the Music” in 1998. The episode continues to be aired and received one of the network’s highest ratings for the series.
Since 1993, Orlando has been a resident of Branson, Missouri, where he has performed more than 2,000 shows. His current performing home in Branson is the Osmond Family Theatre, and he has been named Branson’s Entertainer and Vocalist of the Year.
In addition to Branson, Tony has written and produced musical productions to critical acclaim. In 1998, he created and starred in the show “Jukebox Dreams,” where he took the audience on a doo-wop serenade, showing the power of one man’s dreams. The show premiered at Harrah’s in Atlantic City and later toured to some of the top venues in the country. He also created has a special production for the Christmas season, entitled “Santa & Me.”