WILMINGTON — A piano man is coming to the Murphy Theatre.
The Stranger — a Billy Joel tribute act out of Charlotte, N.C. — will be the entertainers playing at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. The five-piece band will be performing many of Joel’s songs.
Playing the piano and singing the tunes is Mike Santoro, a native of Levittown, N.Y., who discovered his love of Billy Joel when he was about 9 when he heard Joel’s album “The Stranger.”
“At that age, I was able to really appreciate the way he was able to combine rock music and orchestrations,” said Santoro.
For his favorite Joel album, Santoro goes with 1978’s “52nd Street”, saying that it’s a great blend of styles.
“It’s got jazz, blues, and R&B. It’s got everything,” he said.
The band got its start around 2009 after Santoro moved from New York to Charlotte. Forming it took a little time, according to him, since he was the new guy in town. But eventually, he found his bandmates.
“We’re all into Billy Joel.,” he said. “A couple of them weren’t diehard fans but they became bigger fans later on.”
When it comes to why Billy Joel is so appealing to many people, Santoro believes that along with his music and lyrics. it’s an “earnestness in his voice.”
The line-up for Saturday’s show consists of Santoro on piano and lead vocals; Chris Revels on bass guitar; Steven Daley on saxophone, keyboards, and vocals; Evan Bloom on lead guitar; and on drums is Joe Bergamini, who played drums for the Billy Joel jukebox musical “Movin’ Out.”
This will be the group’s first time performing at the Murphy, and Santoro expressed their excitement for this Saturday.
“We saw some pictures of it and it looks gorgeous. We’re really looking forward to playing there,” he said.
Tickets are available to purchase at the Murphy Theatre or on their website at themurphytheatre.org.