Bravo Bravo Bravo! Congratulations to the School of Musical Theatre for putting on this fantastic show. It was so original, unique, talented, and incredible that I went back on Sunday to see it a second time. To sum up this performance it is classic Broadway songs performed in the american musical styles of gospel, jazz, pop, and rhythmic blues. The students got to work with the composer Michael McElroy himself, which explains why it was so good.
I was surprised when what looked like 50 students walked onto the stage to perform the first song “Answer Me” from The Bands Visit. Most Broadway songs are sung by one or a couple of people. Also, the instruments accompanying the singers consisted of one guitarist, one bassist, one pianist, one cellist, and a percussionist, not a full orchestra by any means. I was curious if having so many people sing the Broadway songs would make the music lose it’s Broadway character and the meaning originally intended by the original composer. This did happen with a lot of the songs, but new character and new meaning was put back into the songs with the re-composition, and the students did a great job adding their own flair to every song. Most of the songs performed throughout the night featured closer to 20 students, which is still a lot for the Broadway songs they were performing.
I most enjoyed the songs where all the students were on stage, I felt these songs were the most powerful. Every song performed was great, but some stood out. “Answer Me” was sung with a hushed whisper sound, but the crescendos were perfect and the buildup ignited what felt like a flame inside of me. “Luck Be A Lady” was performed by a small group of six guys, and was one of my favorites of the night. The harmonizing in the song was stellar, there was a big range of high to low, and the song still accentuated every individual singer’s voice. The two guys who had short solos during this song killed it with their high voices. They weren’t singing in falsetto, but it was still a higher pitch than I could ever achieve. “Silver Lining” was sung wonderfully by a group of five and was the only song to feature a guitar solo, which is important to me as a guitarist. “Defying Gravity” was the strongest song. It wasn’t just loud, it was powerful and got me feeling excited. “You Will be found” was the most gospely song. The girls and guys seemed to face off with two back to back songs, “Love to Me” performed by the guys and “Journey To The Past” performed by the girls. I think the girls did a better job.
There was no stories, props, or scripts, but this didn’t mean it wasn’t a very visual performance. All the students were wearing different outfits and there were choreographed dances. The best dance was during “A Whole New World”, this was a ton of fun to watch. There were so many different personalities on stage. Some students were singing with a giant smile while others furrowed their eyebrows. Some students did a lot of acting while they sang with strong facial movements, while others just seemed to sing with a straight face.
Genuinely awesome performance.