Move over Elvis

February 16, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - With enough Elvis impersonators in the world, Lou Ramos chose a different musical icon to portray at The Apollo Civic Theatre's second annual Community Talent Show Extravaganza.

Ramos will impersonate Kenny Rogers.

"I like all his music," says Ramos, 64, of Martinsburg. "He's got kind of a widespread appeal, especially because of the ladies."

Ramos won't be doing "The Gambler." He will sing the Lionel Richie-written song "Lady" at Friday night's talent show.

Ramos says he's been told many times that he sounds like Rogers, whom he saw perform live at the Frederick (Md.) Fair more than 10 years ago.


As a member of the 1980s local amateur country band Shenandoah Express, Ramos covered Kenny Rogers songs.

For his act, Ramos will don a black T-shirt and white sport coat. He already has a beard and is growing out his hair, though it's gray, not white like Rogers'.

"I need some spray paint on my head," jokes Ramos, who does plan to temporarily color his hair and beard.

Cliff Kurt Sr. says Ramos has the raspy voice with the vibrato and the look.

"It transports you for a few moments," says Kurt, who is coproducing the talent show with fellow Apollo board member Dorothy Keys.

Having heard the auditions, Kurt expects this year's show to be as good or better than last year's inaugural event.

Gauging from the audience's reaction last year, the talent show was a hit, Kurt says. There will be more noncompeting acts performing this year to prevent a lull while the audience waits for judges to determine the winner.

Other competitors are expected to include several vocalists - including someone singing "All Shook Up," a karate demonstration, a trumpet solo, a pianist, a dance performance, a couple of rock bands and a guitarist.

The grand prize winner of this year's talent show will get a $100 American Express gift card, will be featured in the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival parade this October and gets the glory, Kurt says.

Several prizes will be given away to contestants thanks to donations from local merchants.

The extravaganza, which raised about $2,000 last year, is a fundraiser for the theater, Kurt says.

If you go ...

WHAT: 2nd annual Community Talent Show Extravaganza

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17

WHERE: The Apollo Civic Theatre, 128 E. Martin St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

COST: $10 for adults, $7 for students.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 south to Exit 13 (King Street) in West Virginia. Turn left onto King Street and go about one mile to Queen Street. (Look for the public library on the right). Turn left onto Queen Street. Go two blocks to Martin Street and turn right. Go one block on Martin Street. The Apollo Civic Theatre is on the right side of the street. Approximate driving time is 25 minutes from Hagerstown.

MORE: For more information, call The Apollo Civic Theatre at 1-304-263-6766 or go to

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