When introducing Broadway performer Montego Glover at Saturday’s “The Best is Yet to Come: Music of Frank Sinatra and More,” an Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Pops concert at the Hilbert Circle Theatre, guest conductor Steven Reineke told the audience that “she was robbed” when referring to Glover, who was nominated for the Best Performance by a Lead Actress Tony Award in 2011.
Glover was up for the award that year for her role as Felicia Farrell in the musical “Memphis,” but lost to the more well-known film actress, Catherine Zeta Jones, who starred in “A Little Night Music.” By concert’s end, it was pretty clear that Reineke’s assessment was absolutely spot on, because Glover gave a performance that was nothing short of spectacular.
Glover was joined in the concert by another guest vocalist, Ron Bohmer, who has also enjoyed his share of success on Broadway in musicals such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Sunset Boulevard” and “Ragtime.”
Regarded as an in-demand conductor, composer and arranger, Reineke is music director and conductor of the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, as well as Principal Pops Conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Animated and exceedingly energetic while leading the ISO, Reineke demonstrated the high-level artistry that has also taken him to podiums all over North America.
The program itself consisted of songs played in tribute to Frank Sinatra, but the “more” in the title referred to the music of composers such as Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, Burt Bacharach and others.
The concert began with Reineke leading the ISO in John Kander’s “New York, New York,” setting the mood for an evening of pure entertainment that continued to build with excitement as the glamorous Glover took to the stage to sing a mash up of “Almost Like Being in Love/This Can’t Be Love.” Exhibiting a beauteous vocal tone and immense range, Glover also revealed an appealing personality and a distinctive presence as she followed up with Cy Coleman’s “The Best is Yet to Come.”
Looking every inch the debonair crooner he is, Bohmer enthralled with his sumptuous baritone voice as he sang Frank Loesser’s “Luck Be a Lady,” from “Guys and Dolls.” While introducing “Besame Mucho,” a tune made popular by Frank Sinatra, Bohmer mistakenly referred to it as having Italian (it's actually Spanish-language) orgins like Ol' Blue Eyes. His gaffe was easily forgiven, however, because of the properly seductive quality he brought to the Latin standard.
Later, Glover and Bohmer showed easy chemistry as they effectively harmonized during duets of “Two Sleepy People” and “Something Stupid,” from an arrangement with an infectious Latin beat.
The second half of the concert began with the orchestra playing a medley of Burt Bacharach songs, which included “What the World Needs Now is Love,” “Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe,” “What’s New Pussycat?” and others.
As it turned out, Act 2 of the concert far surpassed Act 1 due to two songs Glover reprised from her role in “Memphis.” Turning her back to the audience prior to singing the rollicking “Ain’t Nothing But a Kiss,” she then swung around to reveal her transformation into a blues singer in a 1950s Memphis rock ‘n’ roll bar. It was followed by the heart wrenching “Colored Woman,” in which her character, Felicia, laments the impact of racism on herself and women like her. As mentioned earlier, it was at this point in the concert that Glover more than established what a rare talent she is, and why Reinke had said as much during his introduction.
“Mad Men Suite,” composed by David Carbonara, was also a highlight of the concert. It was a medley of music, performed by the ISO, from “Mad Men” episodes written by Carbonara for the AMC hit television show set in the 1960s.
The concert concluded with Glover and Bohmer singing duets of Anthony Newley’s “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Love Will Keep Us Together,” by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. As an encore, the ISO accompanied the two singers in Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.”
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