Friday, October 4, 2013

Fantastic Frank
Thursday evening my husband took me to the
 Frank Wildhorn and Friends Concert at BYU.
One of my great loves is the musical theatre,
and one of my favorite contemporary composers
in this genre is the wonderful Mr. Wildhorn.
(Rounding out my top three are 
Stephen Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown.)

 photo: Adrienne Warren
Frank Wildhorn at soundcheck in DeJong Concert Hall yesterday.
(In my past life I performed several times in this venue and it is an awesome space.)
Mr. Wildhorn brought 3 current Broadway stars
 to sing from his library.
(Oh, and did I mention he is a multi-Grammy 
and Tony Award winner?)
For those not familiar, here is a run-down
 of just some of his shows:

 One of my all-time favorites.
Our girls grew up hearing all these songs
and they could sing any of them if you asked.
 Took my mom a few years ago
 to see this at the Hale Center Theatre
when Merrill Osmond starred.
Gorgeous and poignant.

 Based very closely on the classic book.
Beautiful, haunting melodies.
 Caitlyn and I saw this at the Hale
when she was in high school
and she had a huge crush on Ben Hale
who starred in the production.
He was awesome.
 Fun, jazzy modern take on
Alice in Wonderland.
Local actress, Natalie Hill had a major role
in this when it played Broadway a few years back.
I love the CD.
 This played Broadway last year.
Former local actor Claybourne Elder had a starring role.
The jazz and blues-style music takes you right to the era.

 Not only is Frank Wildhorn a Broadway composer,
but he made his mark in the pop world with Arista Records
when he wrote one of Whitney Houston's #1 hits,
"Where Do Broken Hearts Go?"
Thousands of artists have recorded his music.
This fabulous singer, Adrienne Warren, sang the lights out of that song,
and singing Whitney Houston is no easy task.
Adrienne graduated from college only 4 years ago and has an impressive resume.
She most recently starred in Broadway's Bring it On.
And she was a featured performer on this years Tony Awards.
Mr. Wildhorn discovered her vocal talent when she was 16
and encouraged her parents to do what they could to get her to NYC.
 This guy is as charming as they come.
Darren Ritchie is a Broadway veteran.
His vocal quality is outstanding. Expressive and pure.
When he sang "Sarah" the love letter from Civil War
tears were leaking down my face.
Darren originated the role of Jonathan Harker in Dracula,
and recently starred in Wonderland.

 Wow, does this girl have a set of pipes!
Jackie Burns knocked our socks of with every song she sang.
Her belt, especially in the high range was amazing,
and yet her softer vocals were controlled and lovely.
I can see why she has played the role of Elphaba (see below)
in Wicked on Broadway the past two years.

photo:Kimmie Bunker
BYU MDT students strike a silly pose with Frank and Friends.
Mr. Wildhorn sat at the piano throughout backed by an impressive trio
who play regularly at the famed Birdland venue in NYC.
He wove stories between songs and it was such a fun and relaxed concert.
He and the singers had spent the day at BYU doing master classes
with the musical theatre and commercial songwriting students.
In fact, he invited a group of students to sing one of the numbers with Darren,
backing him on "Into the Fire" from The Scarlet Pimpernel
It was wonderful and I imagine such a thrill for them.
He continually praised the talent and impressive university all night,
even donning a BYU hat.
It was great to look around the audience and see the "who's who" of
the local musical theatre scene.
I sang the songs all night in my sleep:)

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