Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Dr. House’ to play at Calvin Theater in Northampton

By Sarah Robertson

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Hugh Laurie may just be the world’s most interesting man.

An accomplished actor, comedian, author, musician and director, Laurie, who will be playing at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton this Sunday at 8 p.m., has found international acclaim in nearly all of his artistic endeavors.

Born James Hugh Calum Laurie on June 11, 1959, in Oxford, England, to Patricia and William Laurie, he grew up learning piano and developing a dubious understanding of the Presbyterian Church of England. His hesitance to accept the Church into his life led to a strained relationship with his mother, which Laurie says influenced his style of jazz and blues music early on.

With only a two-album discography, Laurie’s musical career has just begun. He released his first album of cover songs in April 2011 titled “Let Them Talk” which received worldwide attention and even went platinum in France. “Let Them Talk” is a cover album celebrating the classic New Orleans blues that Laurie has had a passion for since his youth. It featured tracks such as “You Don’t Know My Mind,” a Guy Davis cover, and “Winin’ Boy Blues” by Jelly Roll
Morton.

For his album, Laurie dropped his English accent in place of an American drawl that perfectly suits his style of modern blues and jazz. His second album, “Didn’t It Rain,” was released in May of this year with a somewhat new spin to his blues sound. His new album features tracks such as “Kiss of Fire,” a classical tango cover, and “Unchain My Heart,” an R&B song popularized by Ray Charles in 1961.

With musical influences as far reaching as his acting career, many begin to wonder just what got Laurie into the blues genre in the first place. He assures fans and critics alike that it is solely his love of blues music that inspired him to make the albums.

“Let this record show that I am a white, middle-class Englishman, openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American south,” Laurie said in an interview with New York Times Magazine in 2011.

Compared to his extensive career in acting and comedy, music is merely a hobby to Laurie. In the U.S., most people know Laurie for his role as Dr. Gregory House on the TV drama “House” that ran for eight seasons on Fox. He currently holds the world record for the most watched leading man on television for his role, in addition to two Golden Globes, two Screen Actors’ Guild Awards and six Emmy nominations. Laurie has also been featured in countless movies such as “101 Dalmatians” (1996), “The Oranges” (2011), and the upcoming Disney film “Tomorrowland.”

In England, Laurie is a household name, best known for his career in comedy with his partner Stephen Fry. Fry and Laurie first met while attending Eton College, where they joined the same theater troupe and became lifelong friends and partners. After college, they began their 30-year long comedy career together beginning with small standup shows and finally working their way up to television shows such as “Fry and Laurie.” “Blackadder” and “Jeeves and Wooster.”

To the British, Fry and Laurie are inseparable, with Laurie’s acting career taking a backseat to the huge following behind their comedy act.

With all of his success, Laurie has redefined what it means to be multi-talented. His album “Let Them Talk” was recorded in the span of eight days and came in second on the United Kingdom’s top 100 chart, right behind Adele.

Also, a month after the album’s release, Laurie’s jazz quintet closed the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in England.

Laurie will play at the Calvin Theatre this Sunday as part of his nationwide tour promoting the newly released album “Didn’t It Rain.” Tickets are on sale for $55, $45 and $35 online and at the door.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at [email protected]

 

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