When Schaumburg native John Blasucci comes back to town this weekend, he’s bringing back a brand-new bag … er, Christmas show.
The longtime Dennis DeYoung Band keyboard player and former Mannheim Steamroller musician is rolling out his fresh holiday production “Luminare” at the newly renovated Des Plaines Theatre Saturday.
“I have been the keyboardist for Dennis DeYoung for almost 20 years. And the keyboardist for Mannheim Steamroller for about 10,” he explained. “I kind of put those two worlds together, holiday music with a distinctive rock edge to it. Basically, we created a high-energy rock act meant to be in performing arts centers and arenas.”
Blasucci said he left Mannheim Steamroller in 2018 when he and his wife had a baby. “
I didn’t want to be that guy on the road while my child was growing up without me,” he said. But he respected the style and dazzle the touring group brought to shows.
“I love how Mannheim put a spin on Christmas music as we know it. It’s iconic, and I love the reaction that it gives the audience members,” he said. “I set out to give the whole holiday concert concept a refresh and add some new dimensions to it.”
During the pandemic lockdowns last year, Blasucci, who now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, used the time to piece together the new show, gathering together a team of creatives and musicians to solidify his concept.
“When I put this together, I was able to choose the musicians that I wanted in this band,” the Schaumburg High School grad said. “I’ve been fortunate to be in wonderful bands with amazing musicians. But in this case, I was able to put everyone together, and everyone brings a little something different to the table.”
Blasucci’s chosen ensemble includes well-known Chicago musician Pino Farina on vocals and guitar, as well as Daniel Peters, Brad Lang, Caitlin Simone, Tom Sharpe, Scotty Kormos and Erica Carpenedo, who hail from across the country.
Luminare debuts today in Indiana before moving to Des Plaines for Saturday’s performance.
“When I was with Mannheim, I paid attention to what people liked and what I thought really worked and was awesome,” he said. “And when I was putting together ‘Luminare’ I kept all that in mind. With my rock ‘n’ roll roots from playing with Dennis for so long and the more classical approach of Mannheim Steamroller, I created a bit of an amalgam. What I set out to do was to create the best of both worlds.”
• • •
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4
Where: Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner St., Des Plaines, (630) 962-7000 or desplainestheatre.com