Monday, July 05, 2004

Hello Broadway! The Musical Concert

Seriously I didn't know what to expect from a "musical concert". I already knew that there would be songs, and no plot nor dance but it's really like a buffet of favourite pieces from the popular Broadway musicals so I thought it would still be a good treat for myself.

I thought right. Despite the little legspace I had in the Esplanade Concert Hall, and the uncomfortable seat, the concert had my undivided attention the moment it started.

The stars of the night were Judy Kuhn, Welly Yang, Jerry Dixon and Dina Morishita, as well as the conductors Jason Robert Brown, an accomplished songwriter for Broadway.

The opening piece "Songs for a New World" impressed me with the "stage presence" of the four singers. No static performance with the singers just standing at a fixed spot crooning the tunes away. No! They moved about the stage, they were the characters they were portraying and each of the four stars had a stage personality of their own.

Without the stage set (like the really impressive ones I saw in Phantom of the Opera), and the costumes, it's amazing how the stars still managed to bring alive the characters. Perhaps the characters were alive in our minds, for I could hear the audience humming or even softly singing along at times. Without elaborate sets, one could really focus on the stars themselves, and the songs, and feel their vocal power. It was really an enjoyable performance.

I didn't watch many of the musicals from which they took the songs from, and the concert made me wish I had the chance to watch the musicals and feel the full effect of the original musicals.

A list of items performed: Songs for a New World (from Songs for a New World), Being Alive (from Company), Last Night of the World (from Miss Saigon), I Know Him So Well (from Chess), Don't Rain on My Parade (from Funny Girl), Can You Feel the Love Tonight (from The Lion King), Anything You Can Do (from Annie Get Your Gun), River in the Rain/ Muddy Water (from Big River), On My Own (from Les Miserables), One Day More (Les Mis), I'm in Bizness (a tapdancing piece by Jason Robert Brown), Music of the Night (from Phantom), Someone's Else's Story (from Chess), Caldona (from Five Guys Named Moe), All That Jazz (from Chicago), Stranger Things Have Happened (from The Wedding Banquet), Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas), This is True (Wedding) and finally, Seasons of Love (from Rent).

As you can see, the selection ranged from the familiar (One Day More, Music of the Night, Caldona), to light-hearted (Anything You Can Do, I'm in Bizness), from the soul-wrenching (On My Own, Someone's Else's Story, This is True) to the celebratory (Seasons of Love). My favourite has to be Music of the Night (because Phantom is my favourite musical) as Welly managed to bring out the emotions very well. Seasons of Love and Anything You Can Do were also fantastic pieces which resulted in Daniel and I humming them the whole night long.

Yes, yes, definitely worth my $65, and I think suitable for anyone who's interested to get a feel of musicals.

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