Hal Linden's visit to Aberdeen Thursday night is part of an experiment.
Linden will find out if it makes sense economically to go on tour with a seven-piece orchestra.
None of the musicians are from this area.
“We're all traveling together. A 10-piece entourage will be descending on Aberdeen,” Linden said in a phone interview from his California home.
The tour is a test case “to see whether it would be feasible to take the show to places where, quite honestly, I've never been before,” said Linden, who’ll perform at the Johnson Fine Arts Center.
The numbers wouldn't add up for doing one show in the middle of the country. But it might work on a tour, he said.
“I don't like to work with less than that sound that I get from the seven pieces,” he said.
Actually, seven pieces is a compromise. Linden has done this show in Las Vegas, backed by 15 pieces. He also appears with symphony orchestras, such as the Omaha Symphony. On the road, transportation must be taken into account.
“So we've got seven terrific musicians, and we have a ball.”
By the end of this tour, Linden will have visited all 50 states. Years ago, he figured out that he had visited all but two states — North Dakota and Montana.
“And I'll be there this trip,” said Linden, who will play the clarinet at Thursday's show. “I was a professional musician before I was an actor."
But his acting career began on the Broadway stage.
“Long before I ever got to television, I had won a Tony Award as a musical comedy performer,” said Linden, whose stage show will feature communication between artist and audience.
The show started as "what we used to call a nightclub act, when they had nightclubs. I've done it in Las Vegas, and I've done it in college auditoriums," he said.
Linden sings a lot of Broadway and Big Band songs, some of which he sang as a young man and some of which he wishes he had. During the evening, he looks back over what's been an interesting life.
“And, hopefully, by the time you leave, you'll know more about Hal Linden than when you came in," he said.
When he sings, Linden tries hard to convey the meaning of the lyrics, reflecting his background in musical theater.
"The song is about something; it's sung by a character. It has a meaning and it's trying to say something, either to someone else individually or to the world, or to yourself.”