Panarello puts on fabulous show, encore planned

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Those who couldn’t get tickets for Saturday night’s sold out “Tribute to Frankie Valli” will have another chance to see what Johnston Senior Center Advisory Board Chairman Peter Lombardi called “a fabulous show” featuring Michael Panarello’s talents in just a few short days.

Panarello, a foreman with Johnston’s Department of Public Works who people like Lombardi and 175 others concurred “sounds just like Frankie Valli and his falsetto voice”, will make a curtain call on Friday evening, June 15 inside the Knights of Columbus-Dillon Council Home on Douglas Pike, Route 7.

The Johnston Democratic Town Committee (JDTC) will host a diner show-fundraiser “A Tribute to Frankie Valli” on June 15 and as Chairman Richard J. DelFino Jr. said earlier this week “we can accommodate 300 or so people who we’re confident will enjoy the food and talents of our home-grown and excellent entertainer.”

DelFino, who said tickets for thee June 15 show are priced at only $25 per person and on sale by calling (401) 230-7857, offered: “People who attended Saturday’s Super Show had nothing less than rave reviews for Michael Panarello’s talents and we’re hoping for a sellout as well.”

As was the case at Saturday night’s JSC event, the JDTC will also hold many raffles during the dinner. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with dinner scheduled for 7 followed by “A Tribute to Frankie Valli.”

Saturday’s JSC Super Show was, as people like Executive Director Tony Zompa and Assistant Director Millie Santilli “perhaps our biggest and best fund-raiser ever.”

Panarello’s performance was nothing less than “spectacular” and “superb” as guests observed while leaving the JSC and saying “we can’t believe just how talented that man (Michael Panarello) is.”

Panarello, who has performed everywhere from on an aircraft carrier to various venues and restaurants in and around Rhode Island and as far away as Las Vegas, treated an appreciative and applauding audience to almost two dozens of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons all-time biggest hits Saturday night.

He was backed by his brother Greg Panarello – with an assist from his nephew Gregory – who worked a unique special effects lighting show and accompanying background music.

Panarello’s prolific performance even included quite a bit of history about Francesco Stephen Castelluccio – better known as Frankie Valli – who he noted is 84 years young and still performing throughout the country.

When asked what his favorite Frankie Valli hit is, Panarello quickly offered: “I’ve got you under my skin!”

There was, of course, Sherry and Valli’s first big hit from 1987 entitled “Can’t take my eyes off of you” to go along with a night that featured 34 raffles that was the result of volunteer Jean D’Arezzo pounding the pavement for donations, grand prize of $75 worth of lottery scratch tickets and food donations that ranged from crackers and cheese to pizza chips to finger sandwiches to calzones that had people flashing back to when the JSC was known for its excellent entertainment during the El Marrocco Supper Club era.

“We sold 152 tickets and with our super staff and volunteers we had 180 people here Saturday night,” Santilli offered. “We could not have had such a perfect night without our volunteers and the incredible donations from our friends like Linda Giorgio of Golden Crest Nursing Home for its entertainment sponsorship.”

Likewise, Lombardi donated the beer and white wine that was included in the price of a $15 ticket. The Village at Waterman Lake donated the red wine while other food donors were: Don DePetrillo, The Original Italian Bakery; Cherry Hill Nursing & Rehab Center, Morgan Health Center, The Bridge at Cherry Hill, Pannese Club, Briarcliffe Nursing and Rehab Center, Brookdale Pocasset Bay, and Cedar Crest.

Add to that that the JSC “family” as Santilli called staff and volunteers, who also put on a superb performance Saturday night.

People were impressed with the perfect timing of getting food on the tables – along with beer and wine – and as Santilli wanted it known “anyone can see that we have some of the most amazing, caring and helping people around and it is certainly apparent that they feel the same pride in the JSC as Tony, Denise (Center Coordinator Bell) and myself feel every day.”

Santilli and Bell, in fact, have worked perfectly together organizing and setting up for such events as Saturday’s Super Show as it they were a well-oiled production company.

“It was our intent Saturday, as it is with every event we have here, to provide top-notch entertainment and other special programs that will directly benefit any and all Johnstonians just as it did when the Marrocco family enjoyed a reputation for fine food and shows of yesteryear.”

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