February 15, 2010

Broadway Rocks!

I went to see Broadway Rocks in South Bend, IN Saturday night. It featured Capathia Jenkins (Fame Becomes Me), Julia Murney (Wicked, Lennon) and Gary Mauer (Phantom, Les Mis) with the South Bend Symphony (conducted by Tsung Yeh) and the IU South Bend Chorus.

The song list consisted of:

Act 1
Jesus Christ Superstar Overture
Brand New Day (The Wiz)
This Is The Moment (Jeckle and Hyde)
Jersey Boys Medley (Big Girls Don't Cry/ Oh What A Night)
Total Eclipse (Dance of the Vampires)
Circle of Life (The Lion King)
Home (The Wiz)
Suddenly Seymour (Little Shop of Horror)
Seasons of Love (Rent)
You Can't Stop the Beat (Hairspray)

Act 2
I Will Survive
Anthem (Chess)
The Wizard and I (Wicked)
For Good (Wicked)
Gethsemane (Jesus Christ Superstar)
Mamma Mia Medley
And I am Telling You (Dreamgirls)
Music of the Night (Phantom)
Hair Medley (Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In)

The concert was held at the Morris Performing Arts Center in downtown South Bend. It's really nice to get to see concerts in these old theatre houses because they are just so grand and beautiful that it takes you back in time.

The show was fast paced even though there were interesting banters between songs. And while the orchestra played the overture, most of the songs were performed with the vocalists. The orchestra sounded excellent that night which was even enhanced by the great acoustics of the venue. As for the vocalists, Capathia Jenkins reminded me of Lillias White complete with sass when she sang I Will Survive but my favorite was her version of Home. It was simple and resplendent. I loved Gary Mauer's soaring voice in Anthem as well as in This Is The Moment. As for Julia, well, her command of the character voice in Suddenly Seymour was impressive. She weaves into it seamlessly and also incorporates her powerful belt. It's wonderful! I also enjoyed her channeling John Lloyd Young while singing Big Girls Don't Cry during the Jersey Boys medley complete with head tilt, eye squint and facial grimace as she hits the "Frankie Valli falsetto". Nice homage! A great fun number was You Can't Stop the Beat complete with dancing by the two ladies. It was very entertaining.

The harmonies when all three of them sang together were colorful particularly in Seasons of Love and Circle of Life. But one of the best parts of the night came at the end when all three of them sang Aquarius and Let The Sunshine In. I thought it was an amusing touch that after wearing "formal clothing" that night, there was a major wardrobe change and they came back onstage as hippies.......Capathia Jenkins came in jeans, tie dye shirt and Dianna Ross big hair. Julia followed dressed in a light pink sundress wearing a......wait for it........humongous afro! Hilarious! Gary Mauer enters next wearing long blonde hair while the chorus, also dressed in tie dyes, ran into the aisles. I'm not quite sure who's idea was it but it sure added some joie de vivre to the night.

Some photos I took that night:

The Morris Center marquee

the ceiling of the lobby


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