Broadway may go dark on Mondays, but Broadway Black stars were still shining all over New York City last night.
First up was the New York POPS Underground performance. Formerly known as “Cabaret Evening,” Underground is the intimate offering of New York Pops orchestra. Hosted at the infamous Feinstein’s/54 Below the benefit supports NY Pops music education program, PopsEd. Last night’s special guests were Tony Yazbeck and Tony Award nominee Montego Glover. The ever joyful Glover performed a few musical favorites including “I Loves You Porgy,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” and a jazzy rendition of the Memphis delight, “Someday.”
Before recognizing Queens P.S. 175 Principal Patricia Cooper as the first honoree of the NY PopsEd initiative, Glover shared, ” I know from experience that music has the power to save, to guide, to inspire. I am standing as living proof that music has done exactly that.”
Glover and Yazbeck closed the show with an exciting duet of “Feelin’ Good” featuring Tony’s incredible tapping skills and Montego effortlessly belting notes that only dogs can hear. Hate that we couldn’t share it with you, but we were just too busy being entertained to capture it on film!
Next, it was down to the West Village to see Darling, a developmental piece by Ryan Scott Oliver. Following the smooth Nicholas Christopher (Hamilton) as Peter and the vocally stunning Kerstin Anderson as Wendy “Darling,” this abstract musical is a contemporary telling of Peter Pan like you’ve never imagined it before.
Producers, Motown Choreographer Warren Adams and Hamilton star Brandon Victor Dixon, were on hand to introduce the show to an enthusiastic audience at the hip Le Poisson Rouge. The brilliant musical arrangement told a captivating story while highlighting the young cast’s musical aptitude and artistry. Vocal standouts included leads Christopher and Anderson, singing for the GODS for the duration of the show, the Lost Boys, with their soulful, sassy musical quips, and Les Miserables vet Brennyn Lark, taking sexy to a WHOLE other level. The recorded event concluded with a thunderous standing ovation from the audience, confirming this show is exactly what young theater lovers want. Keep an eye out for this one. It’s gonna be big!
Once On This Island’s Hailey Kilgore Will Make Her Solo Concert Debut!
Tony & Grammy Nominee Hailey Kilgore will make her solo concert debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below this month! The Once On This Island star makes her debut following the closing of the Tony-winning revival, and she’s clearly got more stories to tell!
The concert entitled Mirrors is a night of celebration including the music that has influenced her meteoric rise. On January 30th 9:30 pm she shares her personal life story as a young girl to a young woman on the Broadway stage.
The 19-year-old vocalist has a set list that ranges from Jason Robert Brown to Alicia Keys. One thing we can say is that this show will sell out! So, stop waiting for life to begin and mark your calendars.
Answering Prayers We Didn’t Think To Pray: Erivo & Henry Star In The Last Five Years
The Color Purple and Shuffle Along are exuberant examples of Black excellence. Even more so, these shows are the gifts that just keep giving. Shuffle Along’s beloved Joshua Henry is not only preparing for his role as Aaron Burr in Hamilton Chicago, he’s also teaming up with The Color Purple’s Cynthia Erivo for a one-night only performance of The Last Five Years.
The September 12th benefit concert at Town Hall will send all proceeds to the Brady Center. The Brady Center is an organization committed to cutting gun-related homicide in half by 2025. This is a cause the show’s composer and director, Jason Robert Brown, is passionate about. Brown believes the upcoming performance is a product of serendipity. He released a statement saying, “From the moment I heard Cynthia sing ‘I Can Do Better Than That’ at the Royal Festival Hall in London last year, I have been determined to see her interpretation of Cathy, one of the most nuanced and difficult roles I’ve ever written.”
Neither Erivo or Henry are strangers to the composer’s work. This time last year, Erivo graced the stage of London’s St. James Theatre to perform Brown’s Songs of a New World. As if an act of grand foreshadowing, she later performed “I Can Do Better Than That” from The Last Five Years at Marie’s Crisis. On September 12th, Cynthia Erivo will bring new life to Cathy for all of Town Hall to praise.
Joshua Henry will play Jaimie, opposite Erivo. Henry has a rich history with Broadway, we’ve seen him originate rockstar roles in American Idiot and revive the soul of The Great White Way in Porgy & Bess. Joshua Henry consistently proves to be an ingenious performer, continuously raising the bar of performance. I’m not the only one that thinks so, Brown spoke of Henry saying, “…who could possibly be a better partner than Joshua, a singular extraordinary performer.” Brown’s relationship with Chicago’s next Aaron Burr goes back to a riveting performance of Parade at Geffen Hall, another stage where we saw Henry’s commitment and skill.
In his statement, Brown celebrated artists and spoke of improving his community the best way he knew how. Of the many passionate statements made, Brown beamed, “To have such amazing artists bring my work to life is thrilling enough, but to be using this performance to benefit the invaluable and desperately important work of the Brady Center is a particular honor.”
Tickets went on sale August 15th at 10AM and sold out within a few hours. To those blessed beings that got one, enjoy a beautiful night of performance and thank you for helping bring peace and change to a hurting world. We all can play a part in bringing peace to our communities. This concert is proof that personal determination can bring reality to your dreams and safety to your community. Click here, to learn more about the Brady Center and its determination to do better.
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