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Arts & Culture

Petula Clark Was 'A Sign of the Times'

Petula Clark has been singing since 1942, when as a nine-year-old child, she answered a request from a BBC producer to sing to a British theater audience unnerved by an air raid that delayed the BBC broadcast they came to hear.

Britain's 'Shirley Temple' came to America during a heady time of sexual revolution, generational divide, and intense political activism for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. 

Shortly before Petula Clark swept into America in the mid-1960's, she'd been living in France with her French husband and two small children, singing in French in venues throughout Europe.  She even wrote the score for a French crime film.

Then she took America by storm, entering the American pop scene on the coattails of the British invasion. America's embrace of all things British sent songs like "Downtown," "A Sign of the Times," and "Don't Sleep in the Subway" soaring to the top of the charts.

We take a deeper look at Petula and "A Sign of the Times" a new play at the Terris Theater which is based mostly on the 1960's and loosely on the life and music of Petula Clark.

GUESTS:

  • Bruce Vilanch - Actor, comedian, former Hollywood Square and Emmy-award winning writer behind the book for "A Sign of the Times"
  • Joseph Church - Conductor, composer, pianist and currently the music supervisor and orchestrator for "A Sign of the Times"
  • Steve Metcalf - Curator of the Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series at the Hartt School; he writes WNPR's Metcalf on Music column
  • Crystal Lucas-Perry - Plays Tanya in "A Sign of the Times"
  • Ephie Aardema - Plays Cindy in "A Sign of the Times"

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. 

Colin McEnroe, Jonathan McNicol, Leah Myers, and Catie Talarski contributed to this show.

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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