If my life this week were solely my experiences as an audience member,
it would be one of the greatest of my life.
Now, I’ve been to plenty of live musical performances,
but the two I attended this week were full of smiles, tears and so much TALENT.
Thursday night, Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway was at Frostburg. I simply must tell the long version of this story.
I didn’t want to go alone, but thought most of my friends that would be interested in going were stuck in rehearsal.
Mind you, some of them still were (a point for which I will always be sore at their director.)
But it turned out some were not called, and Rachel had a student voucher to see the show for free,
so I seemed to have someone to accompany me. I discovered at some point that afternoon
that though student tickets were only $10, full price was $36. Though I reconsidered briefly, I still wanted to go.
We arrived early and waited for the box office to open. Once they did, it seemed pointless.
Since Performing Arts was requiring the freshman majors attend the event, it was sold out.
I reluctantly put my name on a waiting list and again contemplated whether I wanted to spend the money,
whether I wanted to see if seats would open in the moments before the show,
or whether I would rather rush daylight and drive 45 minutes home before darkness fell.
I was suffering from a headache anyway. I ALMOST went home.
When they started handing out a few stray seats, they asked if I was “Amanda.”
Just as I said no, a man reached out a ticket and asked if I need one.
*BLINK* Of course. “What can I give you for it?” (Forgetting that I had no cash.)
He shook his head, put the ticket in my hand and moved into the building.
Wow. Had I gotten another ticket or left at any time that would not have happened.
Somedays life place you firmly where you need to be.
Finally realizing I would be able to thank them again– since I would be seated next to them–
I got in line and chatted with friends. I learned from my seat between two faculty couples
that I had been bestowed this gift from a professor in the Chemistry Department and his wife.
Had the night gotten no better after that it would have still been magical and fun.
I had low expectations for the revue of Broadway before me despite the impressive credentials of the performers.
After all I have seen plenty of leads on Broadway that have been less than . . .
I had seen at least one of these singers previously, as Hodel in the Nat’l Tour of Fiddler
when I had gone to see Dan Cooney as Perchik (He and I met when I was doing ‘Evita’ in the summer of 1993.)
I found Neil Berg to be, not only incredibly talented in his own right, but very grateful.
He knows what gifted folks he has to work with and lets you you know he appreciates them.
That gets big points in my book.
Not to mention he crafted a damn fine revue and assembled some monumental talents.
And Rob Evan. You almost make me want to see a production of “Jekyll & Hyde.”
I say almost because I don’t really. But “This is the Moment” was sung just the way I want to hear it.
And William Michals. Whoa. I have heard very few voices as captivating. And he is SUCH a consummate performer.
Totally engaging. Now, I am not typically a bass/baritone kinda gal
(Only the voices of Howard Keel and Terrance Mann please me in that regard.)
But no more. This man converted me. And with songs I never really liked before.
Impossible Dream? Silly Kiss Me Kate nonsense? Old Man River?
Clearly, I had not heard them sung properly.
The others were definitely noteworthy as well. And when I have my program in front of me, perhaps I will say more.
But it was a stellar show.
Oh Urinetown-rehearsal-attending-friends, I weep for you.
To be in the same building and not get to see this show.
Shame on Mairzy.
Saturday night was a completely different animal.
The capstone even of the Appalachian Festival was 2 Irish/2 American Traditional musicians.
I took my dad because I have long wanted him to get to see John Doyle perform.
John’s guitar playing has always impressed me since I first saw him play with Solas about 10 years ago now.
The rain poured that day on the Irish Folk Festival at Wolftrap. But that music was *divine* and I would not leave. We huddled with a few others risking colds and possible electrocution!
Since then I have seen that band in a number of incarnations
as well as some of its performers in other configurations.
I last saw John a few years ago with another founding member of Solas at Lotus Festival
(which after this weekend I am sooo geared up for.) This was the first I had seen him with Liz Carroll
(a great Irish fiddler) who he has been touring with for awhile now.
And I have now been officially introduced to
Bruce Molsky and Dirk Powell, who I previously know only in reputation and through recordings.
I think I will stop gushing for now.
100 Years of Broadway, I usually only tear up for the Tony Awards.
Appalachian Festival, thou hast prepared me for Lotus Festival!
Amen and Amen.