Back in the 1960’s and 70’s I grew up mainly in Keene, NH and attended elementary, Jr High and 2 Years of High school there. Although we did not attend the same elementary schools John Shelley and I did have common friends and then went to Jr High together, but he moved to Massachusetts, and I moved to Dallas for the first two years of High school so imagine my reaction when 50 years later I found out he wrote and was producing a rock-opera.
"Man on the Hill is a fable-opus-rock-opera: a musical work that tells a story through narration and song.
Man On the Hill is a theatrical rock opera in the tradition of Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy, and Bat Out of Hell. The music was conceived by writer/producer John Stanley Shelley in 2018 and after the release of the CD in May of 2019, he started working on a stage show.
Man On The Hill was originally performed as a one-man, two act performance using the recordings from the album as backing tracks in 2020, but the COVID-19 shutdown immediately followed and squashed any plans for the original tour.
However, COVID restrictions had some positive side effects too. In this case, during the two years of non-performance and isolation, the show was given a serious upgrade. For 2022, a three-piece band now provides live accompaniment, there is a full stage of props and hats, and the show has been re-written to include even more elements of audience participation. It opens April the 1st in Franklin and has more dates at the website Man On The Hill | Rock-Opera | Live Theater Musical Performance (johnstanleyshelley.com)
Man On The Hill is not just a concert. Man On The Hill is not just a play. It is both. The story is captivating and relatable, the music is catchy and intense, and the whole show is written and designed to send everyone home smiling and uplifted. The material is suitable for all ages, and the music includes many styles including rock, country, reggae, folk, and novelty songs.
The main character is an old man sitting in his living room reflecting on his life. As he shares his stories, each major event or turning point is punctuated with a song. Forever in a quest for love and living a simple life, he struggles with heartbreak, finds companionship with a dog, tries to find his place in a discordant society, meets his soul mate, and retires on a hillside near the ocean.
Just like the story is filled with twists and turns, the music is a journey as well. It is a delightful mix of folk, rock, jazz, country, and heartwarming ballads. Your ears, your mind, and your heart will be enriched when you treat yourself to seeing "The Man on the Hill." Oh – Make sure you bring a silly hat!