‘Vienna to Broadway’ concert features spectacular vocals

October 8, 2019

“Vienna to Broadway” – Courtesy of Robert Gowen. Used with permission,.

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.

Clockwise – Ben Crawford, Donata Cuncinotta, Ted Keegan & 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.


photo: Julie Curry

About Tom

Journalist, producer, director, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, arts administrator, TV contributor, actor, model, writer and lyricist, Tom Alvarez has had an extensive career in media and the fine arts and continues to be an enthusiastic and devoted fan of both. His passion and unique background grant him insight, access and perspective to cover, promote and review the arts in Indianapolis, Central Indiana and beyond. Follow him on social media @tomalvarezartswriter and @tomalvarez1.

Alvarez has been writing about theatre, dance, music, cinema and visual arts for 40 years. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Star, NUVO, Indianapolis Monthly, Arts Indiana, Unite Magazine, Dance Magazine, NOTE Magazine, and Examiner.com, among many other print and online platforms. A former contributor to Across Indiana on WFYI-TV, he currently has a regular performing arts segment on WISH-TV’s Indy Style, and is a creative arts reporter for Reel Life TV, an entertainment show also broadcast on WISH-TV.

A principal of Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC, Alvarez co-created “Calder, The Musical” and is the managing director of Magic Thread Cabaret. As an actor-model, he has appeared in numerous TV and print ads and is represented by the Helen Wells Agency and Heyman Talent Artists Agency.

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