Jason Tenner as Prince in "Purple Reign" at Hanover Theatre in Worcester on Saturday.
Jason Tenner as Prince in "Purple Reign" at Hanover Theatre in Worcester on Saturday. (courtesy photo)

Be transported back to the 1980s, when the Purple One reigned supreme, as Hanover Theatre in Worcester presents "Purple Reign: The Prince Tribute Show" this Saturday, May 18, at 8 p.m., at 2 Southbridge St., Worcester.

Jason Tenner, creator and founder of Purple Reign, will star as Prince and perform his most iconic songs.

"The best part of playing Prince on stage is being able to play really cool music," Tenner says of impersonating the artist. "Singing, dancing and performing is something I've always loved to do, ever since I was a little kid. Plus, I get to have a bit of a Prince attitude — I can be a bit of a diva sometimes!"

Tenner's journey of performing as Prince began in 1996 at a Halloween party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Tenner received high praise for his costume of ... guess who. Folks at the party were amazed at the resemblance. Tenner was inspired to incorporate some of Prince's music into The Mothership Connection, a 1970s funk tribute band of which Tenner was a member.

"I was already doing music with my high-school bandmates," Tenner says. "We had an original band called Uncle Scully. We ended up taking overfor the house band, a disco-funk cover band, after we opened up for them in 1996. We started to perform the '70s and '80s thing they were doing, and within a couple of weeks, we incorporated more '80s songs. By June of 1997, we started to do Prince."


"Purple Reign" promises an authentic Prince experience.
"Purple Reign" promises an authentic Prince experience. (Courtesy photo)

"Purple Reign" has been hailed as the number-one Prince tribute show, and it's not just fans who attest to that. The show has won countless awards over the years, and holds the distinction for being the first tribute/impersonator act on "The Tonight Show with David Letterman." Tenner says he was amazed to be invited to perform on the same stage on which Elvis, James Brown and, of course, Prince performed.

"I thought it was special the moment that we got a house gig," Tenner says of his show. "When it was good enough for people to say, 'Hey, we want you here!,' it was then that I thought, 'OK, we've done it!' I realized it was special enough to make it work."

"Purple Reign" has performed all across the country as well as Mexico. Tenner says the group hopes to reach Asia and Europe someday.

Nevertheless, Tenner is fully prepared to deliver a show-stopping performance Saturday in Worcester.

"I hope they get an authentic Prince experience," Tenner says of the crowd. "I hope they, at the very least, feel nostalgia and we take them back and make them feel how they would have felt had they seen Prince. Or for those that did see Prince before he passed, we hope to give them that Minneapolis vibe — well-played, well-delivered music by really good musicians. Everything we do is 100 percent live on stage."

"Purple Reign" is recommended for ages 13 and over; ticket prices range from $40 to $60 according to seat location, but discounts are available for members and groups of 10 or more. For further information, contact the Hanover Center Box Office at 877-571-7469.

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