— Special to the Democrat
The Texas Opry Theater will welcome Neil Diamond tribute artist Tom Sadge back to Weatherford this coming Saturday, Sept. 14, to perform a full two-hour show performing many of Neil Diamond’s fabulous tunes.
Sadge will be backed by the Amazing Made In Texas Show Time Band and singers. It was during the band’s Aug. 17 performance before a full house at Texas Opry Theater when Sadge made a special guest appearance, wowing the crowd and giving them a sample of this week’s show by performing “Sweet Caroline” and “Coming To America.”
Sadge (pronounced Sage) recognized all the veterans in the audience, which included one of the few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors, A.J. Dunn, 92, from Floresville, who was in Weatherford visiting a niece and attended that day’s Texas Opry Theater show.
Sadge has been a full-time entertainer for his entire adult life. He has been entertaining others with a variety of singing and speaking voices since he was in elementary school. Born in the largely Irish-immigrant-populated town of Avoca, Pa., Sadge attended St. Mary’s Grade School and Pittston Area High School. He was active in the school’s Glee Club.
Sadge’s mother, who once was offered a job touring the country with a popular big band but opted to remain in the hometown, encouraged Sadge’s singing career by taking him with her as she performed in minstrels and local shows.
After leaving the Pittston area at a very young age, he spent some time in the service. His military travels took him to Japan, the Philippines and other exotic places. After the military, he lived for a time in the Cape Cod/Boston area as well as in Biloxi, Miss., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Ironically, it wasn’t until he returned to his hometown that he met his wife, Marion.
It was while living back home that Sadge became well known on a local level for his vocal singing impressions. Marion Sadge waited tables for free while Tom performed in local bars and nightclubs in the early days of Tom’s career until their children came along.
It was his wife who suggested Sadge develop a Neil Diamond act, since it was his favorite voice to perform. After nearly a year of hard work experimenting with make-up, costumes, moves, etc., the couple felt satisfied with the Neil Diamond persona. By the summer of 1998, Sadge was touring with Legends Alive!, a Canadian troupe of celebrity impersonators. He was the only American invited to tour that summer.
Today Sadge performs as a Neil Diamond tribute artist all over the United States, Canada and Europe. His home base remains in Pennsylvania. The couple considers the Tom Sadge Show, which will feature a full Engelbert Humperdinck impersonation very soon, as well as other voices and characters, to be a team effort.
Tom Sadge’s lookalike and soundalike tribute to “The Jazz Singer” is a favorite of the most discriminating Neil Diamond fans. Tom has been a featured entertainer at many top casinos in Atlantic City, Laughlin, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Scottsdale and more. He has also entertained at many smaller resorts and aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Legend and Pride ships as well as on river and show boats. His live audiences have numbered as many as 68,000 (Philadelphia’s Veterans’ Stadium) and he has entertained at backyard barbecues for 12.
Tom now enjoys a career as a solo act and headliner, often closing with the song “America.” There are many Neil Diamond fans in Europe and the U.K. as well as in the U.S. The real Neil Diamond completed a “Live In Europe” tour during the summer of 2008. It is not surprising, therefore, that Tom Sadge was invited to perform, as Neil Diamond, in Germany and in the Netherlands (by the Dutch Neil Diamond Fan Club). Tom has brought his impersonation “across the pond” on three different occasions.
Tom Sadge has met Neil Diamond on several occasions and has gotten to know some of Neil’s longtime band members. No doubt these encounters have been the highlight of Tom Sadge’s career.
Tickets are now on sale online at www.texasoprytheater.com and click on the “Buy Tickets Now” button. You can also purchase tickets by calling 817-341-1000 or going by the office 315 York Ave. during office hours to purchase tickets by cash or check.
Connie Smith returns
“The Real Deal of Country Music” Connie Smith will perform two shows at Texas Opry Theater on Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.. the same day as the City of Weatherford’s “Hometown Heritage Stampede” downtown.
Michael Hix and the Amazing Made In Texas Show Time Band will open both shows for Smith. Tickets are on sale on the website and at the box office.