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'Simon & Garfunkel Story' comes to Huntington

Simon & Garfunkel

Ben Cooley and Taylor Bloom (right) star in the touring production of “The Simon & Garfunkel Story,” a show that chronicles the career of the iconic 1960s folk duo. The show comes to the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, in Huntington, Feb. 5.

Actor Taylor Bloom wasn’t around when the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel were on the charts.

The Virginia native turned proud New Yorker wasn’t alive when songwriter Paul Simon, whom he portrays in the touring production of “The Simon & Garfunkel Story,” was at the peak of his solo career.

Bloom wasn’t even really a fan to start with.

The actor, who performs with the show Wednesday night at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, in Huntington, said, “I didn’t even know that much Simon & Garfunkel before I joined the show.”

Growing up, Bloom said he listened to a generation of songwriters that would have been considered the peers of the folk duo, among them James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Dan Fogelberg and Billy Joel. Those were the artists his parents listened to in the car or in their home in Virginia.

“You could say that I was kind of primed to love Simon & Garfunkel’s music,” Bloom said. “After I started learning the music for the show, I was hooked.”

The 25-year-old’s journey to being part of a show celebrating the music of one of America’s best loved and most influential folk duos wasn’t quite as unlikely as discovering a love of the music, but it was unexpected.

Bloom hadn’t specifically intended to make his living with musical theater.

At the Shenandoah Conservatory, he didn’t study music or musical theater, but acting.

“I did end up doing four or five musicals while I was there, but I didn’t take any of the musical theater courses,” Bloom said.

Students going into musical theater took classes on sight-singing and learned to play a musical instrument, like the piano, though Bloom said he already knew how to play music. He was one of five brothers, and all of them played something.

His two eldest brothers played guitar. One of them taught Bloom how to play when he was in middle school. Another brother played the drums.

All three of his older brothers were in a rock band through their high school years, and Bloom’s twin was a classical violinist for about 10 years.

None of them really looked to music as a career — at least, Bloom didn’t; playing the guitar and even writing songs was just for fun.

“It was just a very rewarding hobby for me,” he said.

After he graduated, Bloom moved to New York.

“I was crashing on the couch of a friend and saw the listing for the show,” he said.

Bloom submitted an application and was surprised when they called him in for a meeting.

“I wasn’t expecting to get seen,” he said.

The meeting went well, and Bloom was invited to audition later in the summer. Meanwhile, the actor went on vacation.

“I was listening to three Simon & Garfunkel songs that were required for the audition, just trying to get them into my head. When I got back to the city, I was able to arrange to borrow a guitar from a friend,” he explained.

Bringing the guitar was a good touch, but he wasn’t the only actor to think of it.

“So, I walked into the room and there were all these guys, maybe 25 other small dudes with guitars, and there were another bunch of tall, skinny dudes with curly blonde hair,” he said.

It was like a scene out of a television show about actors, but Bloom said he thought, “Well, OK. Here we go.”

Over the course of the day, the producers auditioned everyone and matched up different pairs of potential Simons and Garfunkels until they pared down their selections to just two duos.

A couple of weeks later, Bloom got the call.

“I was walking in a park in Brooklyn,” he said. “I was over the moon.”

That was a little over three years ago.

The actor said touring for “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” has been relentless, but that he and another actor take turns going out on the road as Paul Simon to cut down on the wear and tear.

When he’s home, Bloom said he’s like a lot of other actors. He has a day job he works while fitting in auditions and acting classes. He’s also one-half of a folk duo, playing music wherever.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have all that much time to work together,” he said.

Bloom said touring took some getting used to, but the audiences have spoiled them. They’re loud. They’re fun. They’re enthusiastic.

“People coming out already know what they’re in for,” he said. “They’re already fans of the music and are just out for a good time.”

Reach Bill Lynch at

lynch@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5195 or follow

@lostHwys on Twitter. He’s also on Instagram at instagram.com/billiscap/ and blogs at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/onemonth.

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Yoak, Norma - 1 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Grantsville.