As a dedicated fan of the Broadway musical, I was in total bliss during “Vienna to Broadway” a Printing Partners Pops Series concert presented by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, led by maestro Jack Everly, on Saturday at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. The concert focused on the development of the modern muscial fromm operettas to Gilbert & Sullivan to Andrew Lloyd Webber. For a musical theatre nerd like me, the event was as much a symposium as it was a concert. Adding entertainment value to its educational content was Everly’s always-informative, interesting and witty comments on each song performed. If Everly ever decides he wants to teach a course in musical theatre, I wish to sign up for his class.
An opportunity to completely immerse myself in the luxurious sounds of ISO is always special, but this concert was especially satisfying. Instrumental pieces included in the program were “The Merry Widow: Overture,” “The Mikado Overture,” and the theme from “Gigi.”
Of course, an added treat in the concert was the tremendous vocal performances of the special guests. They included the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, led by Dr. Eric Stark and vocalists Ben Crawford, Donata Cucinotta, Ted Keegan and Kristen Plumley.
Concert highlights were two stunning duets by the guest artists. Sopranos Plumley and Cucinotta, with their sparkling voices, were effervescent as together they sang Leonard Bernstein’s “Glitter and Be Gay” from “Candide.” Speaking of treats, Crawford and Keegan (both have performed previously with the ISO) gave the audience a rare one when they performed “The Music of The Night” from “The Phantom of the Opera.” It just so happens that Crawford is currently playing the title role on Broadway and Keegan (who has played the role 2,000 times himself) is his understudy. How often does one experience something like that? A clear indication of the audience’s reaction was the spontaneous standing ovation given to the duo after their unforgettable performance.
During remarks by Everly, he referred to the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir as a “treasure,” and once again, they lived up to that designation, not only through the mightiness of their numbers but also the superlative vocal talents of their individual members. Selections in which they performed included “Song of the Vagabonds,” “The Student Prince,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and a bravura performance of “Kismet” in which Crawford, Cucinotta, Keegan, Plumley and ISC singer Patrick Pauloski also sang with the ISC and ISO.
The concert concluded on a grand and lavish note with the ISO, ISC and the guest artists singing “Make Our Garden Grow” also from “Candide.” The powerful combination of a full symphony orchestra with so many spectacular voices was beyond breathtaking and one I will long remember for its captivating richness.
For tickets and information about the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra‘s 2019-2020 season, call (317) 639-4300 or visit indianapolissymphony.org.