I used to describe America’s Got Talent winner Terry Fator as a ventriloquist.
In doing so, I did him a woeful disservice.
After last weekend’s show, I now know that Fator’s a multi-hyphenate entertainer. He’s a canny comedian, a skillful singer, and an artful writer. And all of his gifts were on full display on that Gallo Center stage.
In Fator’s masterful hands, his 10 or so guests shone. Hyphen The Beatle did a pitch perfect Paul McCartney to Fator’s Michael Jackson on “The Girl Is Mine.”
Maynard Thompkins, an Elvis impersonator who doesn’t know any Presley songs, had no problem thanking the crowd over and over…in fact, he thanked us very much. Maynard was so engaging that, upon his insistence that Fator leave the stage momentarily during a hilarious “argument” between the pair, I almost expected Maynard to keep talking!
Fator’s oldest friend, Walter T Airedale, was a down-home cowboy with an edge. Strolling just shy of MAGA territory, Walter had some biting commentary about the transgender community, for example, that had me smiling in spite of myself.
But the show belonged to the turtle who started it all, Winston, who helped Fator win AGT in 2007 and subsequently secure his headlining show in Las Vegas. Winston sang his beloved Roy Orbison cover, but it was the show’s finale during which the adorable turtle brought the house down.
He sang Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer,” high notes and all, while Fator kept his mouth completely closed. Not that I’d have noticed: I spent most of the show amazed by the puppets — or doubled over laughing.
Just before leaving the stage, Fator promised that his show at the Mirage in Vegas is even bigger than the one he brought to Modesto. This morning, I’m looking for flights to Sin City.
I’ve managed to summon a single word to describe Fator’s multiple gifts. To hell with a multi-hyphenate description: Fator is phenomenal!
Check out upcoming Gallo Center shows at galloarts.org