Our Women’s Glee Club president snagged free tickets for a few of us to go to the “Broadway Comes Home” concert Friday night, featuring Michigan alumni that have made it on Broadway. All I had to hear was Broadway, Gavin Creel, and free to nearly tackle our president, Allison, for a ticket to the show.
Rackham was lit up pink for the “walk the pink carpet” theme of the event. Fabulously dressed men took our pictures as we filed in and awkwardly avoided their lenses. Allison said it was formal attire required, so I felt especially classy in my slacks, boot, lacey top, and pearls. A man seated behind me was slightly classier, however, rocking a cocktail dress, heels, and sequined purse.
The event was dedicated to celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Spectrum Center. The Spectrum Center is an organization on campus that actively supports the LGBTQ community in Ann Arbor, offering guidance and support in a safe and welcoming environment. Interspersed between performances, many active members in the LGBTQ community spoke about their experiences and how the Spectrum Center has influenced them. It was possibly the most inspiring part of the evening. I heard how so many people have been impacted by the Spectrum Center and motivated with the knowledge that “it gets better.” The speakers, including our past student body president Chris Armstrong, were incredibly uplifting, spreading love, strength, and pride. The messages were universal, and I doubt there was a single person in the audience who walked away uninspired.
The musical performances, as my initial reason for coming, were just as inspiring. Gavin Creel, tony-nominated Broadway star, recruited several other Michigan alumni to accompany him in performing at this event. Creel was absolutely amazing and kicked the evening off to an outstanding start with “Could Be” from West Side Story. His enthusiasm on stage was infectious. His voice was beautiful. His shining moment of the night was his concluding song, “Let the Sun Shine In” from the musical Hair he himself sang on Broadway. The freshman class of the musical theater program this year accompanied him, encircling the audience and wowing us with their powerful sound.
And Gavin Creel wasn’t even the best performer of the evening (it was a close tie between all the alumni, in my opinion)! Other returning Wolverines included Celia Keenan-Bolger, an incredibly adorable person with a beautiful voice, and Maddy Wyatt. Those two sang a song they wrote together about gay marriage that was both hilarious and powerful. Others included Daniel Reichard, who starred in Jersey Boys on Broadway and actually sang “Don’t go, Baby” from that musical while backed up by three men from the musical theater department. The other featured performer was Danny Gurwin. I know him as having played Laurie in Little Women the musical on Broadway and a few other notable roles. What’s crazy too about Gurwin is he is actually directing the Little Women production U-M is doing in December (I’ll be previewing and reviewing that performances as well – can’t wait!!). Towards the end of the evening, all these Broadway-bound alumni joined together to sing “Ordinary Miracles.” It was gorgeous and gave me serious goose bumps.
When speakers weren’t presenting or Broadway alums weren’t singing, the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble was performing. I’d never heard them before, but they were so talented. I was blown away.
As you can probably conclude, this night marked one of the most epic performances I’ve attended all semester. So many amazing performers, speakers, and musicians – it was fantastic. I was absolutely inspired and I hope you get a chance to go to one of the Spectrum Center’s events because it is an admirable organization that deserves all the recognition it has acquired.
P.S. For more information on the Spectrum Center and the resources available there, check out their website: http://spectrumcenter.umich.edu/home