MORGANTOWN — On Tuesday, those who make their way to the WVU Creative Arts Center will experience more than just a concert, but something of a history lesson as well, when “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” comes at 7:30 p.m. to the Lyell B Clay Concert Theatre.
“There are a lot of media elements playing in the background, which gives the audience a trip down memory lane. They get to see what was happening in the ’60s and ’70s in America. It’s a really cool way to tell the story of Simon and Garfunkel,” said Ben Cooley, who portrays Art Garfunkel.
The 23-year-old stars alongside Taylor Bloom, as Paul Simon, telling the story of the best-selling folk duo’s rise to fame, from their beginnings as Tom & Jerry to their success as one of the best-selling music groups of the ’60s to their dramatic split in 1970.
The immersive show culminates with the famous “The Concert in Central Park” reunion in 1981.
“It’s more of a concert, but we give context to the songs with stories throughout [the show],” Cooley said.
While he and Bloom do their best to imitate the iconic pair during musical performances — copying their mannerisms and rhythms with one another — they transition to narrators as they lay out the duo’s journey.
“I watched as many videos as I could and the director has specific ones he liked for certain songs,” Cooley said. “They play different ways throughout their career. [Art Garfunkel] was more shy at the beginning. And by the Central Park concert they were rock stars, which shows.
“We flow seamlessly in and out of the songs, and when we’re talking about them that’s when our own personalities come out.”
The audience can expect to hear hits such as “Mrs. Robinson,” “Cecilia,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Homeward Bound,” which Cooley and Bloom perform with a full band.
While Cooley said he personally gravitates toward the band’s more intimate material, like songs off their debut album “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.,” he loves the reaction from audience members when they hear their favorites.
“At one point during a show, I saw a couple lean into each other. I remember seeing that, and it moved me. I had to look away and focus on singing the rest of the song,” he said. “It’s really touching and makes you realize the impact of their music.”
- “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the WVU Creative Arts Center. Tickets start at $39. WVU Student tickets start at $24 Tickets are available at the Mountainlair and CAC box offices, online at ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 304-293-7469 and