From the moment that the audience hears, “You painted up your lips, and rolled and curled your tinted hair,” everyone is aware that Memories’ resident Kenny Rogers is about to walk onstage. When he appears, the resemblance that Mark Hinds shares with Kenny Rogers is nothing less than striking. Mark’s face, hair, and mannerisms are just like Kenny Rogers as he performs many of the hits from one of the best-known crossover country artists of all time. And Mark also sings with the true “Kenny Rogers” sound.
During “The Gambler,” for example, Mark impresses the audiences with the authenticity of his singing. Also, he can create the mood of this popular song well as he sings about the two fictional men who discuss the art of gambling and life. So “The Gambler” is always a crowd pleaser.
Another highlight of Mark’s act is definitely the audience participation segment. When Mark sings “Lady,” he brings one unsuspecting woman to the stage so that he can sing this gorgeous ballad directly to her. And during another well-known Kenny Rogers hit, Mark shares the vocals with the whole audience as everyone enthusiastically sings and shouts “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.” Mark also walks through the crowd, talking and joking with the people, while he segues into each song.
One of Mark’s most beautiful songs is “Every Now and Then.” In this song, Mark really captures the essence of the lyrics, while everyone else onstage blends together perfectly. The back-up is soft and gorgeous as “The Three Inspirations,” led by the extremely talented Flash Grimes, weave their vocals behind Mark, as the Showband plays their heart out.
Towards the end of Mark’s segment, he always has a surprise for the audience. The music begins, and a few people soon recognize the hit song: “Islands in the Stream.” Then Betty Koopman, with blonde hair and a gorgeous dress, appears as Pigeon Forge’s own Dolly Parton. Mark and Betty sing, dance, and talk together wonderfully as Kenny and Dolly during this great song. And Betty plays the perfect Dolly to Mark’s very authentic Kenny, while they light up the stage during this number. Is the audience really sure that they’re not watching the originals? It can be hard to tell the difference sometimes. One fact is definite, however: “Islands in the Stream” is always a hit with the audiences.
So, Mark truly performs a great act for the Memories Theatre crowds. And we didn’t even mention that it’s a proven fact that Mark looks more like Kenny Rogers than Kenny Rogers does. But that’s a whole other story….