Back in May of 1987, a new entertainment venue opened in New Haven like no other before it or since. A nightclub by the name of BOPPERS instantly became an institution in the region; where classic music was played by interactive DJs/MCs alongside dancing bartenders and waitresses (and bouncers), with line-dances and fun routines sprinkled into the mix. Thousands would pack the club and hundreds more would wait in line. The DJs would become local celebrities overnight.
The head DJ and music director in the hot night-spot, Orange resident Charles F. Rosenay!!!, was already somewhat of an area celebrity, having been a popular DJ in the state since the late 70s, and also the producer of the annual Beatles Conventions in New England. Rosenay was the perfect fit for the format. Coming in with one of the largest collection of records (yes, records) in the state, he was one of the first DJs in New England who was a true “MC”. He didn’t just sit behind a booth and play records; he entertained with a smile and a boundless energy. His “show” incorporated comedy, lip-syncing, dance routines, costumes and interaction. He was an award-winning pioneer in the field recognized at the National DJ Hall of Fame ceremonies in Las Vegas, creating or introducing features which became staples at weddings, bar-mitzvahs and parties. What is now the norm for DJs/MCs, Rosenay helped revolutionize the field by leading the crowd in choreographed dances, sing-alongs, interaction games, utilizing props and dressing in costumes. He was one of the first to showcase “team DJs” where more than one DJ would perform at the same time. This two-DJ show featured synchronized choreography, which became a Boppers staple.
Decades before there was the hit TV show “Lip-Sync Battle,” Charles and the other Boppers Nightclub DJs weren’t just lip-syncing, they were acting out complete songs, creating musical vignettes, and mixing songs with visuals and humor. It was very common for the DJs to pick people from the crowd to dance on-stage with them, wear outrageous costumes or act out routines.
Boppers of New Haven gave birth to sister clubs in Stamford, Waterbury and eventually Danbury, but it was New Haven that had the longest run – nine years – which is unheard of for a theme club, and, arguably, the most success. It played its last song in 1996.
Twenty years after the doors closed at the iconic club, a special historic event has been organized. The “BOPPIN’ REUNION DANCE PARTY” will be taking place on Saturday Evening, December 3, 2016 from 7pm-Midnight at the Annex YMA Hall on 554 Woodward Avenue in New Haven, CT.
The unique event is hosted by Charles F. Rosenay with original DJs, MCs, “Boppettes,” Bartenders, Waitresses, Doormen and Managers from the Boppers nightclub locations. Attendees will be able to re-live the music and magic of the area’s famed rock & roll dance club with all the familiar songs, routines, line dances, skits and interaction. The event is expected to attract hundreds of “regulars” who frequented the club in its glory years, as well as others who may have been too young to experience what the hoopla was all about.
According to Rosenay, “It would be remiss to not acknowledge the famed Boppers nightclub twenty years after its last song was played”. Nobody knows what that final song was, but at the reunion, all of the most popular interactive dances and routines will be reincarnated, including “Strokin,” “Who’s Making Love,” “Here is My Love” (from the “Idolmaker” film), “YMCA,” “Greased Lightning,” “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights,” the “Time Warp,” “Punching Dance” and so many more.
Additionally, the original vintage red Buick car front will serve as the front of the DJ booth, as it did at the club, along with original neon signs and paraphernalia. It’s clearly a night of nostalgia, albeit a high-energy presentation, but Rosenay also promises new dances and routines.
General admission for the “BOPPIN’ REUNION DANCE PARTY” is only $20 in advance for 7:30pm admission (standing/dancing room only); 7:00pm Early Admission is $30 advance (choice of standing or seating if seat space available); and there is also a 7:00pm BOP V.I.P. admission (guaranteed VIP table seating + souvenir T-Shirt + free drink voucher) for $50. There are only 50 VIP admissions available.
Special guest of honor at the event is Shelton’s Gary DeCarlo, lead singer of the CT band Steam and singer/co-composer of the classic “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)”. DeCarlo was recently diagnosed with cancer, and the event will raise funds to help support his medical bills. The anathematic song was played nearly every night at the club, and is still heard in stadiums and on radio stations worldwide. DeCarlo will be signing copies of his new CD, book and is expected to perform, health permitting.
There have been countless clubs and dance venues that have opened and closed since Boppers of New Haven, but none have ever been as special or as memorable. Rosenay, who is still a hugely in-demand party DJ/MC and continues to entertain at parties and events with his own mobile entertainment services based in Orange, adds that a week doesn’t go by where someone comes up to him and say “I remember Boppers,” or “I met my husband or wife at Boppers,” or “I miss Boppers so much – I had the greatest time there”. If all goes as planned, the reunion will bring back all those great memories and fun times. Come on baby let the good times roll, at least for one night more.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/923753921067386/
Info: (203) 795-4737 BoppinReunion@gmail.com