Last night, Broadway Close Up presented yet another lovely night of talented people singing wonderful songs. The evening was devoted to shows that Hal Prince produced and/or directed, which includes Cabaret, Company, Follies, Lovemusik, Merrily We Roll Along, The Pajama Game, Phantom of the Opera, She Loves Me, and West Side Story. (Those are just the shows represented last night; Prince's full resume also includes A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Fiorello, A Fiddler on the Roof, and Parade; the man received 21 Tonys!)
Hosted and written by Sean Hartley, who also performed a bit (and nicely), A Party at the Princes' featured a living room-esque area with food and drink, to which the performers retired after singing. It was fun to watch them watching their friends and peers and nonpeers, and the show ended with all of them and the audience singing "Cabaret," which was great fun.
Highlights of the evening included Nikki Renee Daniels singing "Maybe This Time" (Cabaret), Alysha Umphress singing "Married" (Cabaret), Isabel Keating singing "Broadway Baby" (Follies), the fabulous Kate Baldwin singing "Could I Leave You?" (also Follies), Sally Wilfert singing "Now You Know" (Merrily We Roll Along), Allison Blackwell singing "Speak Low" (Lovemusik), and Charlotte Maltby and Jason Robinson both spoofing and honoring Phantom of the Opera. New to me was the beautiful "Dear One" from Kiss of the Spiderwoman, sang by Gabrielle Stravelli, Kirsten Scott, Sean Hartley, and Jason Robinson.
Photo c/o Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Someone else in the audience might have had different highlights--and one could make the case that every song was a highlight!
Special kudos must go to Evan Rees, the music director and pianist, and the lighting designer (whose name I could not find in the program). With their support, the performances had a fullness and depth not always seen when songs from musical are sang out of context.
The last show of this series of Broadway Close Up is The Writers' Room. I'm quite looking forward to it. Here is the description from the Broadway Close Up website:
Hosted by Sean Hartley and featuring Tony nominees Stephanie D’Abruzzo and Kate Baldwin, Jenn Damiano (original cast, Next to Normal), Outer Critics Circle Award winner Jay Armstrong Johnson, Rick Lyon (original cast of Avenue Q) Ben Levi Ross and Drama Desk Award winner Margo Seibert (original cast, In Transit). Music directed by Cynthia Meng.
HOW THE BMI LEHMAN ENGEL MUSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOP CHANGED BROADWAY
The prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is renowned for fostering generations of musical theater writers who have transformed Broadway, but no year was more pivotal than 1997. Hear behind-the-scenes stories about what happened when this phenomenal group of writers was in the room together, and how they went on to write smash hit musicals that have garnered numerous Tonys, Oscars, Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize and shaped our culture: Bobby Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Frozen), Brian Yorkey & Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, If/Then) and Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody, Mr. Saturday Night). They’ll share their experiences, perform songs and give you a sneak peek at what they’re working on now.
Click here for more info.