Thursday, July 25, 2013

Broadway in Vail

Last night we attended the Broadway concert as part of our subscription the Bravo Vail music festival. This was the concert that I was least interested in, even though it was performed by the NY Philharmonic. However, I was pleasantly surprised by it. The theme was love songs on Broadway, and there was a nice mix of Gershwin, Bernstein, Berlin and others.

Conductor Ted Sperling may not have gotten the most emotional readings out of the orchestra, but they did improve as the evening went on, and he performed a number of pieces himself on piano. He sang quite well on two of them, most notably on "The Begat," from Finnian's Rainbow, with brilliant lyrics by Yip Harburg, best known for the lyrics to The Wizard of Oz songs.

The evening featured two singers, playing "the boy and the girl" throughout the evening. Betsy Wolfe stole the show repeatedly with a fantastic voice, most notably on "Getting Married" from Sondheim's Company, which I was surprised to learn that she had never sung before. It's a real tongue-twister, and not only did she sing it flawlessly, she acted it brilliantly.

Andrew Samonsky was the weakest part of the show. His voice never seemed quite right for the part, right out of the gate when he opened the show with "Something's Coming." His voice is thin and too much or a head voice for a romantic lead. He did get better as the night went along, I'm not sure if the keys were too high for him, or if sound reinforcement helped him with a little EQ. But his reads were never very emotional, especially on "It Never Entered My Mind," which Frank Sinatra introduced on film in Higher and Higher. If you are going to tackle a song like that, you had better put your heart into it and show some vulnerability.

There was a nice balance of old standards and lesser-known material, including a nice sing by Pasek & Paul from the off-Broadway musical adaptation of Dogfight. A real nice find. Several highlights were at the end of the show, including "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer, and the encore medley. It was quite an enjoyable evening.

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