Connecticut has many acclaimed architectural and cultural treasures and two that exemplify both are offering an extravaganza to celebrate a golden milestone this year.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts has joined forces to host the first of many events to celebrate the Goodspeed Opera House’s 50th anniversary with a special presentation of the best of Goodspeed and Broadway. It’s happening at the Bushnell’s main-stage, Mortensen Hall, in Hartford - one of the country’s most magnificent art-deco gems - at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 23, 2013.
For 50 years, Goodspeed has been recognized around the world as the “home of the American musical.” This special collaboration will feature selections from Goodspeed originals that moved to Broadway including “Annie” and “Man of La Mancha.” Audience favorites from “Brigadoon,” ”Finian’s Rainbow” “No, No Nanette” and dozens of Goodspeed shows will be included in the program.
This gala evening will be led by guest conductor Michael O’Flaherty who is now in his 21st year as the Resident Music Director for Goodspeed Musicals where he and his talented orchestrators and arrangers help to make a handful of musicians sound like a great big Broadway pit orchestra and provides singers arrangements that are perfect for their individual voices.
To bring to life the great songs of American musical theater are stars of Broadway and the Goodspeed stage. James Snyder headlined as Billy Bigelow in Goodspeed’s “Carousel” and led the cast of “Crybaby” on Broadway. His additional credits include Broadway’s “Fanny,” “Happy Days,” and “The Fantasticks.” Sarah Uriarte Berry starred as Magnolia in Goodspeed’s “Show Boat” and her Broadway and national tour credits include “Beauty and the Beast,” “Carousel,” “Cinderella,” “Les Misérables,” “Next to Normal,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Boys from Syracuse,” and “The Light in the Piazza.” Quentin Earl Darrington was Lucas in Goodspeed’s production of “Abyssinia” and has appeared in Broadway productions and national tours of “Memphis,” “Ragtime,” “The Color Purple” and “The Lion King.”
Goodspeed has long been a mentor for young performers and has included seniors from The Hartt School Musical Theater Department, Class of 2013, who will also perform through the auspices of Alan Rust, Director and Michael Morris, Director of Music.
With a set list that comprises musical theater’s greatest hits, the evening will also include songs from “42nd Street,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “A Little Night Music,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Anything Goes,” Babes In Arms,” “Big River,” “Carousel,” “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” Kiss Me Kate,” “Lady Be Good,” “Mame,” “On The Town,” “On the Twentieth Century,” “Promises, Promises;” Red Hot & Blue,” “The Fantasticks” and more.
“We are thrilled to kick off Goodspeed’s year-long celebration of our 50th anniversary with this one-of-a-kind concert event,” said Michael Price, Executive Director of Goodspeed Musicals. “It is a rare occasion when two of Connecticut’s cultural treasures join together but when they do, the result is a magical collaboration that will be remembered for many years to come.”
Hartford Symphony Orchestra President & CEO, Carrie Hammond says, “It truly is a dream for us to collaborate with Goodspeed's incredible talents. Goodspeed has been a driving force behind the development and excellence of American Musical Theater. This concert will bring together two of Connecticut's cultural treasures and ambassadors for the arts to this community.”
Tickets: $20-$67.50. Student $10, $25 tickets are available for those 40 and under. For tickets, contact HSO at (860) 244-2999 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.
Written by Don Church & Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle